Safe Access to a UNIX Filesystem from Windows


Sometimes, it can be useful to access data stored on a UNIX server from a Windows environment. Of course, access must be secured. Running on top of a SSH session, WinSCP is a great tool to transfer files. But drag-and-drop files from/to the WinSCP windows is sometimes irritating.

An alternative to WinSCP is SftpDrive. This tools allows you to map the SSH remote server as a classic network drive (and access it using the assigned letter, example “S:” for “SSH”). SftpDrive works quite well but it’s a commercial application.

Then I found SSHFS: another alternative and free! This tool is based on the Dokan library which can be compared to Fuse (“Filesystem in Userspace“) on Linux.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

As you see the interface is clear and useful options are present: alternative port (I often use SSH over port 443 to bypass proxies), password or key authentication. Note that SSHFS requires the .Net framework. I would not recommend this method to access a permanent network drive due to the encryption load added by the SSH protocol but It’s a nice tools to quickly access remote files when you are on the move (and in a safe way!)

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