IE7 and FTP: So much for being idiot proof

I had to deal with an issue yesterday of how to get a very computer illiterate person in my workplace setup to be able to FTP files to another company who is doing work for us. While I would not normally recommend anyone to use the built-in FTP functionality of Internet Explorer, at the time this seemed like the simplest solution; create shortcut/bookmark, click on it & BAM! copy/paste your files.

At least, thats how it worked in IE6…

After about 20 minutes of toying around, I realized IE7 adds a step to this process – it no longer automagically changes from an IE window to a file explorer window (think “My Computer”) when using FTP. Crap!

So if you do need to use FTP with IE7, these steps will get you back on track:

  • Open IE7
  • Enter your FTP user name, password, and site in the address bar using the following pattern:
    ftp://:@
  • IE will display a directory listing of the FTP site.
  • Click the Page menu (it’s on the right hand side under the search bar)
  • Select Open FTP Site in Windows Explorer.
  • Windows explorer opens.
    Note: Windows may or may not remember the login information provided in step 2 – my testing was not consistent. Enter your user name and password if you are prompted with the login box again.

I’d really like to punch the Microsoft developer that came up with this “security feature”.

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