Copying files to/from UT Box at the command line

If you use SSO (through UT Box), you need to first [[][set up an external password].

If you log into Box another way, you should be able to use your normal Box password.

You will need LFTP installed on your system. It is already installed on TACC

Open the file ~/.lftp/rc in a text editor. (You may need to first create the ~/.lftp folder if it does not exist. Strictly speaking, this step is optional. You could run these commands every time you enter the LFTP shell to temporarily set the options.)

Add these lines to the ~/.lftp/rc file.

set ftps:initial-prot ""
set ftp:ssl-force true
set ftp:ssl-protect-data true

Now you can use these commands to connect to Box (The second one is run inside the LFTP shell and will prompt you for the password you created.) The user name is the one listed in the account tab of the account settings page on UTBOX.

lftp ftps://
lftp> user

LFTP commands are a dialect of FTP commands. If you are not familiar with these, here is a reference.

Here are some useful commands for working with your local directory from within the LFTP shell:

  • lcd lets you change local directories.
  • !ls lets you list the contents of your local directory.

To recursively copy directories TO BOX, you will need this command:

mirror -R {local dir} {remote dir}

This does not delete a file from {remote dir} if it has been deleted in {local dir} since the last backup. You would need to add the --delete flag for that type of sync, but be very careful when doing so! You can use the --dry-run option to see what would have been deleted before running it.

Note: Sometimes you may get an error looking like this during a mirror -R call. The file has been successfully transferred despite this message!

mirror: Access failed: 550 Box: Item with the same name already exists (code=item_name_in_use, request_id=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX). (FILENAME)

Note: Some TACC servers may not be compiled correctly and might need an extra module loaded (ie Maverick2). Try this in if the above does not work.

module load gcc 

For copying all files in subdirectories (but not the directories themselves) from Box to tacc the following may work well:

glob pget */*.gz
Note: the above will result in a fairly quick determination and changing message of what is to be transferred followed by a lengthy file transfer which will result in messages such as pget-chunk: B-A1/B-A1_R1.fastq.gz: seek failed for each file once each file transferred.

To recursively copy directories FROM BOX, you will need this command:

This website contains useful examples for both mirroring to and from remote location

Creating a Bookmark File

Create the bookmark. Note: this saves your password in clear text in your home directory.

lftp ftps://
set bmk:save-passwords yes
[Enter Password]
bookmark add utbox

Then, you can login using just one command:

lftp utbox
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Contributors to this topic Edit topic JeffreyBarrick, DanielDeatherage, MattMcGuffie
Topic revision: r10 - 2024-01-11 - 16:20:34 - Main.JeffreyBarrick
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