For a number of reasons you may want to transfer files between Unix and your PC. For instance, you may want to work on files with your laptop computer while traveling or with your PC at home and then use the PC files on your workstation. To be safe you should transfer only ASCII or binary files (text or numbers but no control characters). Thus you should not transfer executable files or internal files from applications such as word processors. On your personal computer you may need to tell your word processor or application program to save file as, text or ASCII or to read the file in as text or ASCII. If it is source code that you transfer between systems, you will need recompile it; if it is text for a word processor, you will need to reformat it; if it is source code for a text processing program such as Nroffor LaTeX, the formatting is always done locally anyway.
A difficulty which may arise in transferring files between workstations and PCs is that there are several conventions used for ending a line and starting a new one. In the DOS transfer commands below you may notice our use of options to replace the sequence CR-LF (carriage return-line feed) with NL (new-line character) and to interpret a [ctrl-z] (ASCII SUB) as the end-of-line character. Additionally you need be careful with the \ (BACKSLASH) character since it has special meaning to Unix. Furthermore, while Unix is case sensitive with its file names, DOS is not; DOS assumes all names are uppercase. For more information, use the man command on your local system.
After you have the text file in the proper form to transfer, there are two basic approaches you can follow. The first is possible if your personal computer and workstation can be connected together, say, by cable or modem. You can then use a terminal emulator program (such as NCSA telnet, kermit, or Versaterm) on your PC and transfer the file with one of the transfer protocols (such as kermit or ftp) contained in the emulator program. The second approach is to use floppy disks (diskettes) to transfer files.
When using floppies for transfer, it is best if your PC runs Unix and you write your disks in tar format. If your PC is a DOS or Mac machine, your Unix workstation must have the appropriate software to read or write floppy formatted for your type of PC. On the IBM workstations the commands dosread and doswrite reads and writes DOS files from floppies. For other workstations there is the Mtools collection of DOS commands. If your Unix cannot emulate DOS read and write commands, you then must read the DOS files from the floppy onto a DOS machine and use a terminal emulator program on the DOS machine with its macros to transfer the files to the workstation.