Transferring Files to and from Quest

This page provides information on transferring files to and from Quest.

Quest supports several secure file transfer protocols and systems for transferring files to and from Quest. We strongly recommend using the Globus client if you want to transfer files to or from a Windows, Linux, or Mac computer.

Transferring Data To and From Quest and ....


Globus is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that provides a program interface for file transfer and sharing, as well as identity, profile, and group management. You can use Globus to transfer very large data sets to and from Quest. It provides a high performing and secure method to transfer data between endpoints. A Globus transfer handles all the difficult aspects of data transfer by optimizing bandwidth usage, managing security configurations, providing automatic fault recovery, and notifying users of completion and problems. Northwestern University affiliated users can use Globus to transfer data between Northwestern-controlled endpoints (such as Quest storage and the Research Data Storage Service) and any other endpoint they have access to, including a personal endpoint that can be set up on a laptop or workstation. More information about Globus data transfer can be found at

Personal Laptop or Workstation

Solution: Personal Globus Endpoint

Research Data Storage Service or FSMRESFILES

Solution: Globus can be used to transfer files to and from the Research Data Storage Services and FSMRESFILES. When transferring files to/from the Research Data Storage Service or FSMRESFILES, please avoid the use of symbolic links on Quest. This results in duplicate copies of your data on the Research Data Storage Service and FSMRESFILES. In order to transfer files between Quest and FSMRES via Globus, you must be added to the fsmresfiles/Globus access list. Please contact your netid and your full share name so we can add you to the list.

Example of the full share name/path:


After we have added you, you can follow the instructions below to enable Globus to transfer data to and from FSMRESFILES and Quest.

  1. SSH to using your NetID as your username. (Note: you must be on the campus network or logged into GlobalProtect VPN to access this node.) This operation will automatically mount your RDSS share. There is no need to keep the SSH connection open, so you may exit at any time.

  2. Open in the browser and log in as a Northwestern user.

  3. The Quest endpoint name is "Northwestern Quest". the RDSS endpoint (for RESFILES and FSMRESFILES shares) is "Northwestern Quest RDSS".


Solution: We are currently piloting a OneDrive/Sharepoint Globus Endpoint.

See our help documentation for how to get started.

Please reach out to if you would like to know more about how to access this endpoint.

Amazon S3

Solution: Using Globus Online with Amazon S3

Google Cloud:

Solution: The Google Cloud SDK is installed system-wide on Quest. To load this package, run:

module load gcloud/322.0.0

Following the instructions on this page, Google Cloud SDK Quickstart Linux, you can configure the Google Cloud SDK with your credentials, etc.

Other Data Transfer Options

Web Browser

For example, an option for transferring Quest storage and OneDrive would be to connect to Quest with the FastX client and start a Gnome desktop session or a Gnome terminal session. Then launch a terminal (or use the terminal that is already launched, if you pick a Gnome terminal session) and type


to launch the firefox browser. In that browser you can log into OneDrive and transfer files.

Documentation on how to use FastX to connect to Quest is available here: Connecting to Quest with FastX.

We recommend that for large data transfers or repeated transfers to use the Globus OneDrive connector when it becomes available.

Secure Copy (SCP)

You can use Secure Copy to transfer individual files to or from Quest using the Linux or Mac OSX Terminal application on the computer you want to transfer files to/from. If you are using a Windows system, you will need PuTTY; Windows users substitute the command pscp for scp in the examples below.

These commands are executed from your computer, NOT from Quest (your Terminal prompt should reference your computer, not Quest).

To transfer files from your computer to Quest:
scp /PathToSourceFile/file
scp /Users/willie/myfile.txt

To transfer files from Quest to your computer:
scp /PathToTargerDir/file
scp .
This would copy the file /home/abc123/myfile.txt from Quest to the current working directory on your computer with the same name (myfile.txt).

For more examples of Secure Copy, see In Unix, how do I use SCP to securely transfer files between two computers? Note that scp will overwrite existing files without prompting.


You can download datasets directly to Quest from external ftp and web servers using the wget command (see the Wget manual).

While connected to Quest, you could use commands like:
To copy files into your current working directory on Quest.

With additional options wget can also download whole directories of files recursively and download from password-protected servers.

See Also:

Keywords:Quest, file, file transfer, ftp, sftp, globus, smb, scp, secure copy, rsync, cyberduck, Box, FSMRESFILES, rdss, filetransfer   Doc ID:70521
Owner:Research Computing .Group:Northwestern
Created:2017-02-07 23:29 CDTUpdated:2022-09-19 08:57 CDT
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