Related question: Native alternative to wget in Windows PowerShell?

The question might sound stupid, but this is often a major issue for me. Consider the following scenario:

The customer has a fresh Windows Server 2008 based system into which I can connect via RDP. The only available browser is Internet Explorer with the default security guidelines that don't allow you to do anything.

I want to avoid maintaining the "trusted sites" list at all costs!

So this is what doesn't work for me:

  1. Download Chrome (requires JavaScript, which is not available)
  2. Download Firefox (the download location is not trusted, adding it to the trusted sites doesn't help either, because the CDN directs to a different site the next time)
  3. Connecting to a network share of the server (won't let me authenticate, might be another issue).
  4. Sending me the file per mail doesn't work either, because it exceeds the file size limit for messages.

Where is the wget on Windows Server?

Update regarding RDP-based approaches
I assume that some of the proposed solutions did not work for me because the server I was working on when writing the question was accessed through an RDP gateway (from the company's Remote Web Access site).
Additionally, I tried confirming (RDP-related) solutions against other servers I was working on at the time (which were accessed without a gateway).

For example, I believe clipboard sharing is not available when connecting through a gateway. But I have yet to confirm this.


Open the Microsoft Powershell and do this:

Import-Module bitstransfer
start-bitstransfer -source http://something/something.ext -destination c:\something.ext
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  • Awesome. This also provides progress feedback, which I don't get with WebClient. – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 15:05
  • @OliverSalzburg There's a lot more you can do with it. Start-BitsTransfer returns a BitsTransfer object which has progress info inside. If you use the -asynchronous switch it will run in background, the object will have your progress info. If you run it asynchronous be careful that you HAVE to use Complete-BitsTransfer $transfer to finalize it then though. Try Get-Command -module Bitstransfer. The BitsTransfers running in background utilize the Microsoft BITS service (hence the name). It's awesome! :-) – sinni800 Feb 8 '12 at 15:10
  • I'm reading in the documentation right now. Thanks for the hint :) – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 15:12
  • Impressive, I've never used powershell – Dennis C Feb 8 '12 at 15:34
  • @sinni800 It doesn't seem to work with FTP. Am I missing something? – Der Hochstapler Feb 14 '12 at 14:05

Internet Explorer with the default security guidelines

Why not just turn them off for administrators. Click on the Configure IE ESC link in Server Manager under the Security Information section and change it.

Server Manager

enter image description here

It's three clicks and if memory serves, doesn't even require to close and reopen IE.

Or is the "default security guidelines" also company policy and though you may be able to technically do so, you'd be violating policies... in which case, I don't see how doing the other options wouldn't be just as insecure if not more so. (Security by obscurity is not security).

As for obtaining Firefox (for example), use the command line FTP and download it.

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  • A lot of the companies I deal with have small or no IT department at all. So even If I would document changes, nobody cares about that documentation at that company. So the closer the systems are left to their default state (or the state I found them at), the better. – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 18:08
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    Sorry, but I don't see the relevence. Most of my clients are small businesses as well. Even if you don't want to document things, I don't understand how you could feel downloading a third party browser is LESS intrusive than turning off ESC. And even if you wanted to leave things as they were, how often are you downloading on a server (the answer SHOULD be RARELY). And when you're done, turning it back on is just as simple as turning it off. – Multiverse IT Feb 9 '12 at 7:43
  • I see your point. But I guess I hadn't made myself very clear in the question. I really wanted some wget equivalent that would work out of the box, so that I could quickly pull things from live.sysinternals.com for example. – Der Hochstapler Feb 9 '12 at 11:04
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    That does sound like a different question. There are wget windows ports available online but Windows is not linux and it's not included with any current windows version and likely not any future version. Personally, I make a "free utilities" package available on my web site (I don't advertise it) and then I download that to the systems (workstations and servers) I work on, making a a %windir%\Utils and %windir%\scripts folder on all machines. Then I add it to the system's PATH environment variable. Now I know I have all the tools I might need. – Multiverse IT Feb 9 '12 at 17:49
  • And, for older versions (Server 2003 for example) you have to do following: - Click Start/Control Panel - Click Add/Remove Programs - Click Add/Remove Windows Components - Activate Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration - Click Details-button - Uncheck For administrators groups - Click OK - Click Next... – user134263 May 15 '12 at 7:50

One way to go is to use PowerShell with WebClient:

(New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("http://host/file",".\file")
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  • and make sure to use [Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12 line if you are downloading from HTTPS site. – avs099 Jun 12 '19 at 21:05

RDP allows you to redirect drives, sounds, printers and even serial ports from the client to the server, use that to transfer installation files to the server.

You can find this as an option in the "Remote Desktop Connection" tool (mstsc):

RDC screenshot

IE has no use in this case and you certainly don't want to install flash or enable js/pdf/java on your server just to download a few files.

Some tools you could use to get rid of the official RDP client:

I use Remmina on a day to day basis to administer my windows servers from my linux desktop.

There is a fork of the mRemote source code, that project is open source free software (GPL) and is named mRemoteNG.

It supports the following protocols: RDP, VNC, ICA (Citrix), SSH, Telnet, HTTP/HTTPS, rlogin and Raw socket connections

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  • Could you give an example on how to redirect drives? A folder/directory would be preferred though. – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 14:59
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    @OliverSalzburg: The Remote Desktop client that comes with Windows does not support redirecting single folders, only entire drives. The redirected drives will appear under Computer or \\tsclient\<letter>. – user1686 Feb 8 '12 at 15:02
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    This is definitely my new preferred solution when transferring files from my machine to the remote server. Works well. Thanks :) – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 15:27

If you're using Windows 7 (Pro for sure works) and Windows server 2008, you can just directly copy and paste the .exe files between them. This is without changing anything anywhere. I'm not sure if there is a size limit, I've done up to about 100MB in file size without problems.

On your local computer copy to clipboard firefox.exe


(or whatever) and on the server simply paste. paste


I've tested this with, win2008 to win7pro, win7pro to win2008, win7pro to win7pro. It might work with win7home to win7pro or win2008.

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  • I would have assumed that this works, but I can't reproduce this. The Paste option isn't available on the remote site (greyed out). I use Windows 7 Ultimate, the remote site is an SBS2011 Standard. – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 16:26
  • Me, win7pro service pack 1, and win2008 R2 standard service pack 1. Can you just do ctrl-c ctrl-v? maybe it's something relatively new? – Viper_Sb Feb 8 '12 at 16:32
  • @OliverSalzburg from this link social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/winserverTS/thread/… Please make sure that Clipboard Redirection is enabled: 1. On client PC, type mstsc.exe and press Enter. 2. Click the Options button, click Local Resources tab and make sure that the Clipboard check box has been selected. •make sure rdpclip.exe is running on remote machine – Viper_Sb Feb 8 '12 at 16:38
  • I just tried the same thing on another server (SBS2011 Standard as well) and it works perfectly. On the server I originally had the issue with it still doesn't work (Ctrl+C,Ctrl+V doesn't do it either). I think I need to update my original question. – Der Hochstapler Feb 8 '12 at 16:40
  • @OliverSalzburg make sure your settings are correct as per my comment – Viper_Sb Feb 8 '12 at 16:42
  • Download TeamViewer at TeamViewer.com

  • Install on your Win 7 or any Windows Platform

  • DownLoad TeamViewer to your Win 2008 Server, but don't Install, choose "Run" instead, this will put it into the "Non-Commercial/FREE" mode, otherwise it will recognize that you are installing on a server and only allow the Commercial/FEE version to be installed.

  • Then simply connect the two computers via a TeamViewer Remote Control or File Transfer connection – your choice.

    Remote Control allows you to remotely control another Windows machine and still offers the file Transfer via the toolbar at the top of the screen, or you can start directly with a "File Transfer" connection by choosing the radio box before connecting.

  • Once in the File Transfer mode, a GUI box similar to a FTP box will appear, allowing you to select files in bulk or individually to transfer in between the two computers.

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  • 2
    if a user cannot download files how can he download and install teamviewer ? – Pedro Lobito Dec 28 '13 at 23:18

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