Not many normal people have reason to use FTP, a long-standing Internet standard for transferring files. It used to require a dedicated program like FTP Voyager, with its own learning curve. And if you transfer files by FTP frequently, the dedicated programs still have many advantages. But for some people, it only comes up occasionally – for example, posting files to a homemade web site, like the free web hosting accounts that come with broadband hookups.

I was rather astonished to find out how robust the support in Windows XP / Internet Explorer 6 is for handling FTP transfers. If you know a web address that will accept FTP file transfers, type in as the address in the Internet browser. You’ll likely get a message that you can’t log in anonymously. Click on File / Log In and supply a name and password, and you’ll get a list of files and folders that works exactly like a Windows Explorer view of your own hard drive. You can copy to and from your hard drive in a completely intuitive way. It’s more than enough for my needs.

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