Downloading files from the Internet

There are numerous ways to download files from the internet. Before you do any downloading there are a couple of things you should do first. Number one, and most important, is know your site. There are viruses out there just waiting to reek havoc with your system. Most commercial sites perform virus checking on a routine basis. If you are going to be downloading from more obscure sites, universities, bulletin boards etc., you should have a virus checker of your own on your computer. The second thing you might want to do is create a special directory to hold anything you download from the net before installing it on your computer. Name this directory download or something equal clever. If you don't know how to create a directory on your hard disk, check your manual, it's not that difficult.

Once you have a place to put files, how do you get them? Let's take web browsers first.

  1. Netscape Navigator. Probably the most popular browser on the web. When you click on something you want to download, Netscape will pop up a window informing you that you have clicked on something for which it is not configured. That's fine. Click on the button that says Save to Disk. Another window will pop up asking you where you want to save the file. Click on the download directory you created. The file will be sent to you and the download will begin.
  2. Microsoft Internet Explorer. At this point, probably the second most popular web browser. Click on the file you want to download. The Internet Explorer will pop up a window that offers you the option of opening the file or saving it. You want to save the file. After you click on save, a directory window will pop up. Choose your download directory, click on save and the download will start.
  3. Mosaic. The granddaddy of them all, as they like to say. Not as slick as other browsers (although they are working on an update) it still performs well. When you click on a file to download, Mosaic will pop up a window telling you it is an unidentified mime type. Make sure that a dot is in the circle that says save to disk and click ok. A directory window will pop up. Make sure your download directory is active and click on save. The download will commence forthwith.
  4. The rest. All browsers perform in much the same manner. Just make sure you have save to disk clicked somewhere and you should be all right.

You can also download files using an ftp (File Transfer Protocol) program. Most of these programs include a number of sites to connect to using them. The tricky part of ftp downloads is figuring out what the file you want is named. The names can be pretty obscure. However, there is usually and index.txt file that will explain all the arcane names. If you know what you want, make sure your download directory is active in the left hand window and double-click on the file you want in the right hand window. If this sounds confusing, see the page on ftp downloading. A warning: The ftp page contains large graphics which, while making the concept easier to understand, make the page slow to load. You have been warned.

Can you download without having a ppp connection? Well, yes, technically you can. You can make a text connection, using a terminal program of some type, and download with it. Wcnet supports the kermit protocol. First you have to locate a file by ftp-ing to another computer. Then download that file. Once the file gets to wcnet, you will be offered the option of downloading to your local computer. Use the spacebar to highlight this option then hit return (or enter). You will be asked how to name the file, hit return to use the default. You will then be asked for a protocol to use in receiving the file, choose Kermit. Then tell your terminal program to begin receiving the file. Usually you will find this option under transfer or file. Select your download directory as the place to put the file. The download should start and the file should be sent to your computer. That's the theory anyway. One big problem with this is that you only have 4megs of space as a personal user. A file like Netscape, for example, is over 4megs in size. You won't get all of it to wcnet in the first place, so you'll never be able to download it to your computer and make it work. If you haven't got what you need to make a ppp connection, that's what you want to download. Both trumpet and ws_ftp are under 2megs in size. You can download them, start trumpet, run ws_ftp over it and get Netscape that way. Be warned that downloading a file under a terminal connection can take a l o n g time.

Note: If you are worried about viruses, McAfee makes a wonderful virus checker. It's free for the first thirty days and then you have to pay for it if you want to keep using it. Download it here. It is a zipped file so you will need an unzip utility. If you don't have one, there are a number of fine ones at shareware.com.

These pages designed and maintained by Virtualcorners

© 2000 - 2013, WCIC/WCNet