Configuration Storage

WinSCP can store its configuration both to Windows registry and INI file. When installed, the configuration is stored by default into the registry. Portable versions use by default an INI file (if possible). To switch the storage see Storage page of Preferences window.

Note that configuration of restrictions and enforcements by administrator, is always stored in Windows registry.

Removing Configuration

You can clean up all configuration data stored on your machine.


Exporting/Backing up the Configuration

To export/back up your configuration, go to Tools > Export/Backup configuration on Login dialog.

In older versions of WinSCP, use Export button on Preferences dialog.

Importing/Restoring Configuration

To import/restore the configuration, go to Tools > Import/Restore configuration on Login dialog.

Transferring the Configuration

To transfer your configuration to another computer/location, export the configuration to an INI file and then import the file on the another computer/location.

Registry Key

If you use registry as configuration storage, the configuration is stored under following key.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Martin Prikryl\WinSCP 2] 

INI File Location

When loading configuration, WinSCP first looks for an INI file in the directory, where WinSCP executable is stored in. The INI file needs to have an .ini extension and the same name as the executable (i.e. WinSCP.ini). If INI file in not found there, WinSCP looks to application data directory of your user profile, i.e. to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\WinSCP.ini.


When you opt to use INI file for the first time, WinSCP tries to write it to directory, where WinSCP executable is stored in. If the directory is not writable, INI file is stored to application data directory of your user profile.

You may also use an INI file in a different folder or with a different name using /ini switch.

Read-Only INI File

Particularly when using shared INI file, you can set read-only attribute to the INI file to prevent WinSCP from overwriting the file.

When INI file directory or the file itself is not writable (for example when the INI file is in Program Files folder or when it is explicitly set read-only), WinSCP does not preserve its state when exiting. No error message is displayed. Only when you explicitly change configuration (such as when you save site, or submit Preferences dialog), an error is shown.

Auto-selecting Storage

On startup, WinSCP first looks for an INI file in the directory, where WinSCP executable is stored in1); and then in the user profile directory. If it does not find INI file in either location, it looks for presence of its key in registry (The key is created by installer, so installed WinSCP uses registry by default). If it does not find that either, it creates an empty INI file in the directory, where WinSCP executable is stored in. If that directory is not writable, it creates an empty INI file in user profile directory.

Checking What Store Is in Use

When troubleshooting problems, it is necessary to find whether WinSCP is actually using the configuration storage you intended. For that inspect a beginning of the session log:

WinSCP Version 5.0.2 (Build 1456) (OS 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3)             
Configuration: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Martin Prikryl\WinSCP 2\         
Local account: INTRANET\martin                                           

Tag Configuration shows either HKEY_CURRENT_USER Windows registry key or a path to an INI file. When Windows registry configuation storage is in use, it is also important under what Windows account is WinSCP running, to know what account the HKEY_CURRENT_USER refers to. For that refer to Local account tag.

Portable Configuration

Learn how to configure WinSCP for portable use.

Pre-configuring WinSCP

1) Unless different location was forced using /ini switch.
  config.txt · Last modified: by martin

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