Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

How do I transfer files with Fetch?

search the site

did you know?

  • SFTP programs and other software are available through the ITS Software page.

If you don't already have a copy of Fetch installed on your computer, qualified NYU community members can download a free copy from ITS. To do so, go to the ITS Software page, log in with your NYU NetID and password if required, then click the Fetch link to download the software. Double-click the installer icon on your desktop to install the software.

About FTP & SFTP

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This protocol provides a standard way to transfer files between computers, regardless of the operating system on each computer (Windows, DOS, Macintosh, UNIX, etc.). It is the most common protocol used for exchanging files between computers on the Internet. Secure FTP (SFTP) is similar to FTP, but with SFTP the entire session is encrypted, so that passwords are never sent in the clear, and are therefore much less vulnerable to interception.

This page provides instructions for connecting to a web server on which you have an account and for uploading and downloading files.

Get Fetch

Fetch logo Fetch is a popular SFTP tool for Macintosh OS X.
You can download a free copy of Fetch from the ITS Software page or via the Ask ITS area of NYUHome. Once you have installed the software (see above), open it on your computer.

Connecting to an Anonymous FTP Server

Anonymous FTP servers are public archives of documents, programs, and other files. Most anonymous FTP servers require that you use your email address as a password. (Some still allow the password guest.) In this sense, they are not really anonymous. Rather, anonymous means that you do not need to have a personal account on the computer in order to access the files there.

When you start Fetch a dialog box automatically opens to create a connection. Use the mouse or the tab key to move among fields.

  1. In the Host field enter the name of the anonymous FTP server.
  2. In the User ID field, enter anonymous.
  3. In the Password field, enter your email address. Fetch displays this as a series of dots.
  4. In the Directory field, enter the directory which contains the files you want. If you do not know the directory name, enter /pub.
  5. Click OK. A connection with the FTP server is established and the session window opens.
screenshot of Fetch New Connection screen

Connecting to Your Personal NYUHome Web Page

This example illustrates how to connect to an NYUHome account via SFTP, but the principle is the same for any computer on which you have an account.

When you start Fetch a dialog box automatically opens to create a connection. Use the mouse or the tab key to move among fields.

  1. In the Hostname field, enter the name of the server on which you have an account.
  2. Enter your NYU NetID (or username, for non-NYU sites) and password in the appropriate fields. Fetch displays the password as a series of dots.
  3. Click the Connect button. A connection with your host machine is established and the session window opens.

File Transfer with Fetch

Once connected, the Fetch window displays file and directory information on the remote computer. To navigate among directories, double-click on a directory name. To move up in the directory structure, select a name from the drop-down box. For an explanation of the FTP terminology used in the following section, see

Download with Fetch on a Macintosh

  1. Click once on a file name to select it, then click Get. Or, you can double-click a file to download it immediately.
  2. Usually, the file will be downloaded to your computer's desktop, and open in your default program for the file type (e.g., Dreamweaver, Firefox, Adobe Reader, etc.)
  3. screenshot of Fetch directory box

Upload with Fetch on a Macintosh

  1. Click on the Put File button.
  2. A directory box opens. Select the file(s) to upload from your local computer.
  3. Unix treats filenames somewhat differently than other programs. It is useful to remove spaces, capitalization and extensions from filenames before uploading them. You can change the filename in the Put as: area.
  4. From the Format drop-down list, select Text if it is a text file, MacBinary II if it is a binary file for use on another Macintosh, or Raw Data if it is a binary file for use on any other operating system, such as a GIF or JPEG for a web page (see explanation of file types below).
  5. Click the Put button to upload the file.
  • To close the connection, select Close from the File menu.
  • To open another connection, select New Connection from the File menu.
  • To close Fetch, click the red button at the top left of the Fetch window, or select Quit Fetch from the Fetch menu.

For Additional Information

These instructions provide the basics for getting started with Fetch. Complete help files are accessible from within the program, or you can visit their site on the Web.

For more information on Fetch, select Fetch Help from the Windows menu, or see the Fetch website at:

For general information about using SFTP, including an explanation of SFTP addresses, SFTP terminology, and detailed information about file types, see

Page last reviewed: August 21, 2009