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Command-line Options



Parameters for winscp.exe executable:

winscp.exe stored_session
winscp.exe [(sftp|ftp|scp)://][user[:password]@]host[:port][/path/[file]]
winscp.exe [mysession] /synchronize [local_directory] [remote_directory] [/defaults]
winscp.exe [mysession] /keepuptodate [local_directory] [remote_directory] [/defaults]
winscp.exe [mysession] /upload file1 file2 file3 ... [/defaults]
winscp.exe [mysession] [/privatekey=<key_file>] [/hostkey=<fingerprint>]
winscp.exe [mysession] [/passive] [/implicit|explicitssl|explicittls]
winscp.exe [mysession] [/timeout=<sec>]
winscp.exe [/console] [/script=script_file] [/command command1 command2 ...] [/parameter param1 ...]
winscp.exe /ini=<inifile> /log=<logfile>
winscp.exe /update
winscp.exe /help

Parameters for executable: [/script=script_file] [/command command1 command2 ...] [/parameter param1 ...] /ini=<inifile> /log=<logfile> /help


The first syntax opens the stored session (to open session, stored in folder, use path syntax “folder/session”).


The second creates the session specified by at least hostname, optionally by name of protocol, port number, username, password and initial remote path. If the remote path is not ended by slash (/), it is treated as path to file (or even directory) that should be downloaded. Special characters (like @ in username) can be encoded using %XX syntax, where XX is hexadecimal ASCII code.

For security reasons, when protocol (sftp://, ftp:// or scp://) is provided on command line (possible execution from web browser/Windows Explorer), all command-like parameters that cause any automatic action are ignored, including /defaults, /log, /script and /command.

Parameter /privatekey specifies private key file. You can use environment variables in the path, with syntax %NAME%.

Parameter /timeout specifies server response timeout.

Parameter /hostkey specifies fingerprint of expected host key (or several alternative fingerprints separated by semicolon). It makes WinSCP automatically accept hostkey with the fingerprint.

Parameter /passive enables passive mode (FTP protocol only).

Parameters /implicit, /explicitssl and /explicittls enable respective methods of invoking FTPS.

When using scripting, use open command (and its switches) instead. This allows you settings script options before starting session.

With /log parameter you may turn on session logging to given file. If the log file name has .xml extension, XML logging is used. You can use environment variables in the path, with syntax %NAME%.

Console/scripting mode

Parameter /console executes WinSCP in console (scripting) mode. Note that when using, the console mode is implicit, so using /console parameter is redundant.

To run batch script either pass script file using /script parameter or specify the commands directly on command line using /command. In the latter case each following parameter is treated as single command. If the command includes spaces (most does), enclose it in double-quotes. If the command itself includes double-quotes (e.g. to enclose filename with spaces), double them.1

If both /script and /command parameters are used, commands from script file are executed first. When the last command is not exit, regular non-batch mode follows.

Use parameter /parameter to specify list of arguments to be passed to script.

With winscp.exe, if /console parameter is not used along with /script or /command, the script/command is executed without visual feedback (window).


The following parameters can be used to create shortcut that initiated operation in GUI mode. They are not intended for automation, for that see scripting.

With /synchronize or /keepuptodate parameter WinSCP performs Synchronize or Keep remote directory up to date commands respectively on the specified session and directories. A dialog to set options is displayed first.

With /upload parameter WinSCP uploads specified files to initial remote directory of session2. A dialog to set options is displayed first.


Use /defaults parameter along with /upload, /synchronize or /keepuptodate to skip the settings dialog and start the operation straight away with default settings.


With /ini parameter you may specify path to configuration INI file. It effectively disables using registry as configuration storage. If the file does not exist, default configuration will be used and the file will be created. You can use environment variables in the path, with syntax %NAME%.


When run with /update parameter, WinSCP only checks for its updates.

Parameter /help shows usage (overview similar to this).


Learn about two WinSCP executables, winscp.exe and


If you are going to run WinSCP from command-line often, you may wish to add WinSCP installation directory to search path.

  1. winscp.exe /console /command "option batch on" "open ""session with space"""Back
  2. Parameter is primarily intended to allow Windows Explorer’s ‘Send To’ menu integrationBack

Last modified: by martin