Ups and Downs of Downloading

Sooner or later, you are going to want to copy an e-mail message, a news posting or a World Wide Web document from CCN to a disk on your own personal computer. You may want to do this to keep a copy of an important document on your hard drive, incorporate an e-mail messages into a document you are writing with your own word processor, or to use a downloaded computer program on your own computer. Copying a file from another computer to your own is called downloading. Reversing the process - sending a file from your computer to another - is called uploading.

If requests to the user help team are any indication, downloading is a frequent source of confusion. We'll try and sort things out, but remember that the Help Desk also has information on this topic.

Getting started

First, some preliminaries. If you are connecting to CCN from a "dumb" terminal rather than a personal computer, then you have no disk drives and no place to download to. If you are connecting to CCN via telnet, then this article is not for you either. If you are not sure, then read on. Telnet and dumb terminal users will know who they are.

Before you begin downloading files, make sure your connection to CCN is set up properly. If your screen displays text improperly, or your connection frequently fails, then you should troubleshoot these problems before moving on.

Here's the basic procedure for downloading: First, you'll choose the file you wish to copy from CCN to your own computer. Then you will tell CCN that you want it to send the file to you, and tell your own computer that you want to receive the file. If all goes well, you'll have a copy of the file on your hard disk or floppy (you get to choose where) in a short time.

Now, the specifics. You might want to print this part, or take notes, since you can't set up your download and read this document at the same time. We'll look first at how to download an e-mail message to your own computer. And take note: there are hundreds of different pieces of communications software used by CCN users. This guide gives only the basic outline of how to download files. You may need to consult your software's manual, or look at some of the help resources on CCN to solve specific problems.

Selecting the file to download

First, enter pine, CCN's e-mail program, just as you normally would to read or send mail. Now choose an existing e-mail message to download. Position your cursor on the e-mail message to select it, and type the E key to export the message. You will see the line EXPORT: (copy message) to file in home directory: appear, asking you for a file name. Type the name that you wish to call the file, such as letter, then press return. The e-mail message has been copied to your file area so it can be downloaded. This file is just a copy; the original e-mail message is not changed or deleted.

Starting the download

You can now exit e-mail. Once you have exited the e-mail program, type g files to take you to your file area. You should see the file you created listed. Cursor down to it to select it, then type d on your keyboard. You will be presented with two options:

[1]Use Kermit to send to your computer
[2]Use Zmodem to send to your computer

If your communications program supports Zmodem, then select this option. If your communications program only supports Kermit, select it instead. Kermit and Zmodem are different methods of moving the file from CCN to your computer; Zmodem is simpler and faster in most situations. If you have Zmodem, try it before you try Kermit.

If you are using Zmodem the file transfer should begin automatically. If you chose the Kermit option, you may be asked to Escape back to your local Kermit and give a RECEIVE command... What this means is that CCN is waiting for you to start the transfer. This will require typing a key or selecting a menu option in your communications program. Check the manual's section on downloading.

The download should now begin. Most programs will give you some indication of the progress of the file transfer. After your communications software alerts you that the download is complete, you can retrieve the file from your hard disk or floppy disk in t he same way you would with any other file.


The exact procedure will vary from one software program to another. The Help Desk has troubleshooting tips on this subject, or check the documentation or on-line help that came with your communications program.

Next month, we'll have a column on some advanced options that will help you streamline the downloading process. If you have questions or problems, seek out help from the Help Desk.


Chebucto Connections TIPS FOR NEWBIES
is edited by Thérèse Mackintosh
who is happy to receive Questions, Comments or Suggestions.
If your browser does not support mail, write to Thérèse later at aa169@ccn·cs·dal·ca.

Last Month: November 1995 Next Month: January 1996