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Someone has left their hard drive at mine and it's a windows one (NTFS). They want to be able to access their files remotely, what's an easy way to do this? (Also, could you explain it to me like I'm 5? I've never been able to get file sharing working properly)

Thanks for your help.

I think the best solution would be if he could go to a page like this: ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/ but I don't know how to set that up.

Further to the comment below:

  1. what OS are you using and what OS will the remote user be using?

Ubuntu. Windows.

  1. assuming you're using Linux, do you have an ssh server installed?

I have no idea. I don't think I've installed anything like that.

  1. Would you be willing to offer web access? Why not a simple web server?

I don't know what you mean.

  1. What does microsoft's ftp site have to do with anything?

I was trying to give an example of how the solution I had in mind would look.

  1. You also need to explain your security concerns. Do you want to make this available only to a single user? To anyone? Anyone with a username/password? Do you want encryption?

Just him. A username and password would work if there's a solution with that but I could just not tell anyone about how to access it while he downloaded the files.

  • They just want to get a copy of the files before they get the drive back? This is the simplest scenario. – zloster Mar 16 '15 at 22:05
  • @zloster yeah, some way of accessing the hard drive to copy a file or two over without having to email me and say "will you send foo.txt, I think it's in 'My Documents' or maybe 'Documents backup' or 'Documents old (4)'" – Jamie Twells Mar 16 '15 at 22:22
  • Do you know your Internet connection configuration i.e. do you have public IP that is routed to your computer/router? The people that want to access the files will need some way to access your computer. – zloster Mar 16 '15 at 23:08
  • @zloster I know what my IP is yes. – Jamie Twells Mar 17 '15 at 18:11
  • Please edit your question and add i) what OS are you using and what OS will the remote user be using? ii) assuming you're using Linux, do you have an ssh server installed? iii) Would you be willing to offer web access? Why not a simple web server? iv) What does microsoft's ftp site have to do with anything? – terdon Mar 17 '15 at 18:31
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Best approach seems to be a SSH server. Basic introduction and setup instructions here. And here you can find step-by-step guide with screen-shots. Benefits:

  1. They get remote access to their files when they need; (if the HDD is connected to powered computer)
  2. The file transfers are secure;
  3. Particular files can be transferred.

You need to install SSH server, configure it, create an user account for the remote party, mount the USB disk in the home directory the new account. Bonus reading: configure public key-based login credentials.

Also you have to configure your side of the Internet connection to allow traffic from remote computers to the computer where SSH server is running.

When you have this the remote party can use Putty SSH client (this is Windows application) to access your SSH server with the user credentials of the new user.

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    Hello! Thank you for your response. That does seem like a very good solution, could you (or someone else) give me some instructions on installing and setting up an SSH server? – Jamie Twells Mar 17 '15 at 7:17
  • Check the two links marked here in the first paragraph. – zloster Mar 17 '15 at 11:34
  • @zloster answers on the SE network should contain all the information needed to answer the question. Anything else is not an answer, it's a signpost pointing to an answer. – terdon Mar 17 '15 at 18:52
  • @terdon So you think that providing a link to the official Ubuntu documentation (the first link) and describing the steps (second and third paragraph) that are needed to achieve the goal is just a "sign post"? – zloster Mar 20 '15 at 20:25
  • @zloster It's not only about what the source is. Aside from the fact that the link may become obsolete (yes even on the official Ubuntu documentation), it's about mentioning all the needed info to the users in one place. The links should still be in the answer though (For reference and for extra details in case users need it). – Dan Mar 23 '15 at 15:36
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Dropbox or another file sharing service would be one easy way.

You could try python simple HTTP server as well.

Open up a terminal and type:

$ cd /home/somedir
$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer

That's it! Now your http server will start in port 8000. You will get the message:

Serving HTTP on 0.0.0.0 port 8000 ...

Then they can point their browser to 24.Your.IP:8000

Crude, but simple. (You may need to install Python though).

  • Dropbox wouldn't really do because I'd have to upload the whole hard drive so that they could access a few files. I'll try the python one now. Is it secure? – Jamie Twells Mar 16 '15 at 22:41
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    Serving files over HTTP is never secure, anything on the route between the HTTP server and the client can view the contents of the transmission. – zloster Mar 16 '15 at 22:55

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