VanDyke Software

AbsoluteFTP® FAQ

AbsoluteFTP® FAQ

Is AbsoluteFTP Year 2000 compliant?

Yes, AbsoluteFTP is Year 2000 compliant.

An exception to this may occur where the FTP server to which it is connected is not year 2000 compliant. Some FTP servers, mainly those based on DOS systems, return their file dates using only two digits for the year. For these systems, AbsoluteFTP (1.5 and later) attempts to compensate for this by assuming that two-digit years less than 80 are in the 21st century and other two-digit years are in the 20th century (e.g., 80 ==> 1980, and 50 ==> 2050). However, because the behavior of some these FTP servers and others may change or be unpredictable in the next century, we are not certain that any FTP client such as AbsoluteFTP will work correctly with these servers after the year 2000.

Why do I receive an "Invalid key" message when entering my registration data?

There are several things that you need to be aware of when entering the license key into the "License Data" dialog. The Name, Company, Serial Number, and Expiration fields must be entered exactly as shown in the registration notice (case is important). For example, the Expiration field should be "Never" as opposed to "never". The key is made up of the letters A to F and the digits 0 to 9, so make sure that no letter "O"s have been entered in place of a "0" digit. We recommend using CTRL+V to paste the data into the license dialog (you can usually use CTRL+C to copy). Also, after you have entered the data into the fields, make sure that no leading or trailing blanks are present.

If you still get the "Invalid key" message after entering the registration data, exit out of AbsoluteFTP and start over.

If this does not resolve the problem, please contact us.

How do I set up a secure FTP connection?

The most secure way to connect with FTP is to use SecureFX®.
SecureFX provides a fully secure data connection over SSH2.

AbsoluteFTP® combined with SecureCRT® can encrypt the data sent on the control channel. This protects the user login information. Files and directory listings transferred on the FTP data channel, however, will not be encrypted by the procedure explained below.

Before setting up port forwarding for the first time, review the topic "Port Forwarding in SecureCRT" in SecureCRT's online help. Also, make sure that you can successfully connect to the target FTP server using a normal session profile.

To configure SecureCRT and AbsoluteFTP to forward the FTP control connection, follow these steps.

  1. Set up SecureCRT to forward an FTP control connection,
    • Open the SecureCRT Connect dialog (File/Connect or File/New Window).
    • Select the "Session List" tab and create a new session using the "New" button, or select an existing SSH session to the FTP server and choose "Edit" to modify its port forwarding properties.
    • On the "Session" tab of the Session Preferences dialog, make sure that the "SSH" protocol is selected and that the "Hostname or IP" is set to the SSH server's address.
    • Click the "Advanced..." button and select the "Port Forwarding" tab of the Advanced SSH Options dialog. In the "Local port" field, enter 21. The "Remote port" field should also be 21 in most cases. Enter the FTP server address in the "Remote hostname" field.
    • Click the "Save" button to add these settings to the current forwarded port list. Click "OK" to finish port forwarding setup.
    • Connect to the server to start the SSH session with port forwarding.
  2. Create a session in AbsoluteFTP which uses SecureCRT port forwarding,
    • Open the AbsoluteFTP Connect dialog (File/Connect) and click on the "New Session" toolbar button to start the New Session wizard.
    • Enter the localhost address 127.0.0.1 for the "Host address" and set the port to 21 on the first panel. Click "Next" and follow the directions in the wizard to enter login information for the server, a session name, then click "Finish."
    • On the Connect dialog, select the new session and click on the "Edit" toolbar button to bring up the Session Configuration dialog. Go to the Advanced tab and make sure that the option "Use outgoing data connections (PASV)" is checked (i.e., the check box has a check mark and is not grayed out). Click "OK" to accept changes.
    • Connect to the FTP server using the new FTP session.

If correctly configured, AbsoluteFTP will establish a forwarded connection to the FTP server using SecureCRT.

If this does not resolve the problem, please contact us.

How do I set up AbsoluteFTP to work with the Microsoft Proxy Server?

Getting through the Microsoft Proxy Server requires either the WinSock proxy client on your machine or the SOCKS proxy protocol to be installed on the server. Check with your system administrator for information about which of these two methods to use.

If you are using the WinSock proxy client, the proxy will appear transparent to you, and no special AbsoluteFTP configuration is required. Make sure that AbsoluteFTP's firewall type on the Global Configuration/Firewall tab is set to "None".

If the server has SOCKS installed, select the "SOCKS version 4" firewall type. Enter the IP address of the Microsoft Proxy Server and the port it is using (usually 1080).

Why do my toolbars and/or tooltips appear white or do not display?

Toolbars may appear white and/or tooltips may not display on systems that do not have the latest common control DLLs. The latest version of the common control DLLs may be downloaded from the following location:

http://www.microsoft.com/msdownload/ieplatform/ie/comctrlx86.asp

You should download the version of the DLLs that corresponds to the version of Internet Explorer that is installed on your system.

Does AbsoluteFTP run under Windows 2000?

AbsoluteFTP version 1.8 and later have been tested under the release version of Windows 2000 and no problems related to the operating system have been found.

In the Connect Dialog with User Arranged Tree turned on, why do I not see the insertion marker when dragging sessions or folders?

The insertion markers will not display on systems that do not have the latest common control DLLs. The latest version of the common control DLLs may be downloaded from the following location:

http://www.microsoft.com/msdownload/ieplatform/ie/comctrlx86.asp

You should have Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later and download the version of the DLLs that corresponds to the version of Internet Explorer that is installed on your system.

Do I need to uninstall my old installation before upgrading?

No, you do not have to remove your old installation; the new version can be installed right over the existing files without losing your current configuration.

Can I automate or schedule file transfers with AbsoluteFTP?

Yes. AbsoluteFTP 2.0 and later include a command-line tool Aftpcl.exe, that can be used for this purpose. For more information on using Aftpcl.exe, please refer to the Command-Line Tool FAQ.

How do I move my AbsoluteFTP session database to a different machine?

The following steps describe how to migrate your AbsoluteFTP session database to another machine.

  1. Install AbsoluteFTP on the new machine.
  2. Find the location of the session database on the old machine. To do this, start AbsoluteFTP, open the "Options" menu and select "Session Database Location...". The session database location will be highlighted in the "Select the session database directory" window.
  3. Copy AbsoluteFTP.dat and AbsoluteFTP.idx from the session database folder to the new machine.

    Under Windows XP/2000, the default location is:
    C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\VanDyke\AbsoluteFTP

    Under Windows Me/98/NT/95, the default location is:
    C:\Program Files\AbsoluteFTP
  4. Run AbsoluteFTP on the new machine. If AbsoluteFTP does not find the session database, open the "Options" menu and select "Session Database Location...". Select the correct location for the session database. When you restart AbsoluteFTP, it should use the migrated session database.

I can’t get dot files to show. Is there something on our FTP server that’s keeping this feature from working?

The "Dot Files" option in the "View" menu shows or hides dot files that have been returned in the file listing. However, some FTP servers do not return the dot files in the file listing by default. To make the FTP server return the dot files in the file listing, you will need to edit your session as follows:

  1. In the "Connect" dialog, right-click on the session name and choose the "Properties" option.
  2. Select the "Options \ FTP" category from the tree view.
  3. In the "Directory listing options" group, check the "All entries" check box.
  4. Click on the "OK" button to save your settings.

This should cause the FTP server to return dot files in the file listing. Toggling the "Dot files" option in the "View" menu will now show or hide the files.

Why am I suddenly seeing a delay in connecting to certain FTP servers after enabling the XP SP2 firewall?

If you upgraded to Windows XP SP2 and have enabled the XP SP2 firewall, you may be seeing a delay when establishing an FTP connection with AbsoluteFTP® or SecureFX®. This lag may occur when connecting via FTP even when an exception in the firewall configuration is created for SecureFX/AbsoluteFTP, and regardless of the PASV/PORT setting.

This delayed response from some FTP servers will at first appear to be a hang or failed connection after establishing the control connection. You will see the following line of trace information as the last line in AbsoluteFTP's log view:

i Control connection successfully established.

Waiting for approximately 20-30 seconds will result in the connection being fully established.

Here's what's going on in the background:

When SecureFX/AbsoluteFTP makes an outgoing connection to some FTP servers (wu.ftpd is known to have this problem, for example), the FTP server tries to authenticate a user based on auth/ident service (RFC 912, 931, and 1413) by attempting to connect to the client's machine on port 113.

With the Windows XP SP2 firewall enabled, such packets are dropped and the FTP server continues to attempt auth/ident connections on port 113 until a timeout occurs. Here is a segment of the Windows firewall log that shows the outgoing connection to the FTP server by AbsoluteFTP, and the resulting incoming connection attempts from the FTP server on port 113:

192.168.0.200 = Machine running wu.ftpd server 192.168.0.100 = Machine running SecureFX/AbsoluteFTP

#Fields: date time action protocol src-ip dst-ip src-port dst-port size tcpflags tcpsyn tcpack tcpwin icmptype icmpcode info path
2005-02-02 11:56:32 OPEN TCP 192.168.0.100 192.168.0.200 1410 21 - - - - - - - - -
2005-02-02 11:56:32 DROP TCP 192.168.0.200 192.168.0.100 33898 113 60 S 2999014174 0 5840 - - - RECEIVE
2005-02-02 11:56:35 DROP TCP 192.168.0.200 192.168.0.100 33898 113 60 S 2999014174 0 5840 - - - RECEIVE
2005-02-02 11:56:41 DROP TCP 192.168.0.200 192.168.0.100 33898 113 60 S 2999014174 0 5840 - - - RECEIVE

Once the ident/auth timeout occurs on the FTP server side, the FTP server will move on to normal authentication via USER and PASS.

To resolve this time lag issue, create a port exception in the Windows firewall for port 113. Since there isn't anything listening on port 113 on the XP machine, the port exception will cause the FTP server to receive a "Connection Refused" error when the auth/ident connection attempt is made to port 113. Once the FTP server receives this error, the server will switch to normal USER and PASS authentication, significantly reducing the lag time before connection.

How do I move my FTP sessions from AbsoluteFTP to SecureFX® 3.x?

The following steps describe how to migrate your FTP sessions from AbsoluteFTP to SecureFX 3.x.

  1. Copy the configuration files for AbsoluteFTP into a new folder. These files are called AbsoluteFTP.idx and AbsoluteFTP.dat. The location of these files can be found in AbsoluteFTP by selecting "Session Database Location" from the "Options" menu inside AbsoluteFTP.
  2. Once copied into the new folder, rename the files to SecureFX.idx and SecureFX.dat.
  3. Change the configuration of SecureFX so that it uses this new folder with the newly renamed files as its configuration folder. This can be done by starting SecureFX and browsing to that folder's location in the "Configuration folder" data field on the "General" category of the "Global Options" dialog.

SecureFX will need to be closed and reopened for this change to take affect. When it reopens, a migration wizard will be started that will convert these settings into the new format used by SecureFX 3.x.