Moving files between Unix and Windows systems

Choosing the right tool -- Secure Copy, Samba, or Rsync -- for the right job

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To mount a Windows share, you would use a command like this:

mkdir /mnt/datafiles
mount -t smbfs -o username=remuser,password=abc123NOT //windowshost/datafiles /mnt/datafiles

In this command, /mnt/datafiles is a mount point we're setting up to move the files we need, remuser is the name of a user recognized by the Windows system, abc123NOT is his password (please use better passwords!), and windowshost is the name of the remote system.

From the Windows side, you can view what is being mapped and what is being share with the "net use" and "net share" commands.


Copying files with rsync has the distinct advantage of great performance since rsync smartly copies changes in files rather than complete files whenever that's an option. This means that, if a single byte has been added to the source file, a single byte will be transferred to the destination.

Rsync can be used to copy files from one system to another, but it's meant to keep files synchronized between systems. You may be familiar with using rsync between Unix systems, but versions of rsync are available to synchronize files between Windows and Unix systems too. Check out Grsync for Windows systems at sourceforge --

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