How to use the SCP (secure copy) command

SCP is a useful command that copies files between hosts on a network. For example, if I wanted to store files on my local machine on the remote machine(s) (i.e. the clusters), scp would be the command to use on a Mac/Linux terminal. On Windows, you will have to install WinSCP/Filezilla to do it for you. The scp command will not work in powershell or command prompt.

Windows

You will need to use Filezilla or WinSCP to upload your local files to the data transfer node on campus. WinSCP is available in the software center if you are you using a campus computer. If you are using a personal device, the download links are provided below:

WinSCP: https://winscp.net/eng/download.php

Filezilla: https://filezilla-project.org/

Log in

When you open up the application, you should be prompted with login credentials. For the host name, please use the pronto data transfer node host name:

prontodtn.las.iastate.edu

Note

Prontodtn is currently having connection troubles with LSS. Until we work out a solution, please use biocrunch.las.iastate.edu for data transfers to and from LSS.

Keep the port number the same and login with your NetID and password.

login_pronto

After logging in, the left window pane will be your local files and the right side will be your remote files.

Transfer files from your computer to the cluster

To move files, drag and drop your files from the left window pane to the right window pane.

transfer_file

verify_files

Transfer files from the cluster to your computer

To move files, drag and drop your files from the right window pane to the left window pane.

MacOS / Linux

You will need to use the terminal to navigate to transfer your file(s). On Mac, you can simply navigate to Finder < Applications < Utilities < Terminal. For Linux, you could simply right click on the desktop and select Open Terminal Here (This may be different depending on your version installed).

Navigate to the file location of where you want your file(s) to be transferred. If you are unfamiliar with how the Linux File System Structure works, please refer to this video (On Mac the overall structure is different, but the commands used still apply). Once you have arrived at the location, you will need to use the following commands:

Get a Kerberos ticket

To use scp, you will first need to ssh to prontodtn.las.iastate.edu. You may be prompted for your password twice. You should enter it both times to ensure that you get a Kerberos ticket. If you are not prompted for it a second time, run

kinit

After entering your password, you can disconnect from ssh. scp should then work.

Transfer files from your computer to the cluster

If you wish to transfer an entire folder with its contents (including its subfolders), use this command:

scp -r <FolderName> <YourNetID>@prontodtn.las.iastate.edu:/<YourWorkingDirectory>

For a single file only, you can use:

scp <FileName> <YourNetID>@prontodtn.las.iastate.edu:/<YourWorkingDirectory>

If this command doesn't seem to do anything, or just hangs, please see the previous section about getting a Kerberos ticket.

When finished, ssh to pronto/prontodtn and navigate to your working directory to verify that your files have successfully transferred.

Transfer files from the cluster to your computer

If you wish to transfer an entire folder with its contents (including its subfolders), use this command:

scp -r <YourNetID>@prontodtn.las.iastate.edu:/<YourWorkingDirectory>/<FolderName> <FolderName>

For a single file only, you can use:

scp <YourNetID>@prontodtn.las.iastate.edu:/<YourWorkingDirectory>/<FileName> <FileName> 

When finished, navigate on your computer to or on your computer to verify that your files have successfully transferred.