In most cases, we do not need to install TFTP Client on a Windows computer. This is because the TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) is a very simple file transfer protocol that has less security (or no security). This makes it unsafe for day-to use except for certain special situations.
TFTP is mostly used to move the backup/restore configurations and transfer the OS/boot images to network devices where the internet or USB drive access is not available. For example, upgrading the OS of CISCO or Fortigate devices can be done only via Telnet or SSH (no web access) by using TFTP.
Though we rarely use it on Windows client OS, installing a TFTP client on Windows 10 or Windows 11 will be helpful to test and confirm that the TFTP server is working well and ready to transfer data over the network.
In this guide, we will install/enable the built-in Windows TFTP client and test whether it can send and receive data through this protocol.
Install TFTP Client on Windows 10/11
Installing a TFTP client on a Windows 11 computer is almost identical to Windows 10. The below screenshots are suitable for all Windows clients and Server Operating Systems.
1) Make sure that you have administrative access to enable the feature.
2) Go to the Control panel and click on ‘Programs & Features’.
3) Click on ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ then tick the ‘TFTP Client’ as shown below.
4) Press OK and wait for the installation to complete.
How to Verify that Windows TFTP Client Installed Successfully?
It is like a telnet client, when the feature has not been installed on a computer, the relevant commands will return an unknown command error.
For example, before installing the TFTP client, if you open a command prompt and type ‘tftp’, it will return the below message.
When it is installed, the same command will give the below output.
That was a clear indication that the Windows TFTP client is installed on your computer correctly.
How to Check a TFTP Server from Windows 10/11 Client
Let’s assume that the TFTP server setup is done correctly and the network security firewall is accepting incoming and outgoing traffic in the server.
Once we installed the client on Windows PC, we need to allow TFTP traffic in the Windows firewall or third-party firewall/anti-virus solution.
- You can altogether disable the Windows firewall to test it.
- Allow the TFTP program or port number in the firewall.
How to Completely switch off the Windows Defender Firewall to allow TFTP
5) Visit the control panel, and enable the ‘Large Icons’ view. This will show the all Control panel icons.
6) Click on ‘Windows Defender Firewall’ and open ‘Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.’
7) Depending on the connectivity type, you can turn off the Windows firewall. If you are not sure about it, then turn off both (Private and Public network settings). This will entirely turn off the network protection. It is highly recommended to put back the settings once the TFTP test is completed.
If you are not convinced about switching off the full Windows firewall, then follow the below step to allow particular TFTP traffic only.
How to Enable only TFTP Traffic in Windows Firewall
It can be done in two ways.
- Allow the TFTP application
- Allow the TFTP protocol.
Enable TFTP Application.
This method depends on which program you are using to connect the TFTP server. In our case, we are using the built-in Windows TFTP client. So, we need to allow the appropriate .exe file through the Windows firewall. If you are using any other third-party tools, you need to call those .exe files as shown below.
8) Go to the same Windows defender firewall settings in Windows 10 or Windows 11. Click on ‘Allow an app or feature….’ Option.
9) Mostly you will not find the TFTP app on this list. Click on the ‘Change Settings’ button at the top right, ‘Allow another app.’
10) Browse the TFTP.exe, which is located under the system32 folder. If you are using any third-party TFTP clients; you need to browse the particular exe file from its location.
11) Click add to give the exception in the Windows. In this way, the Windows defender firewall will allow incoming and outgoing traffic of the TFTP.exe program without any restriction.
Allow TFTP Protocol in Windows 10/11 Firewall
Let’s assume you use multiple tools and programs which use the TFTP protocol. It is not advisable to follow the earlier step and add each program to the firewall. Instead of that, we can add the common TFTP protocol.
TFTP uses TCP port 69. We will simply enable this port for incoming and outgoing traffic.
12) In the usual Windows defender firewall settings page, click on ‘Advanced Settings.’
13) In the ‘Inbound Rules’ create a new rule.
14) Select ‘Port’ and enter 69 as TCP port.
15) Make sure that ‘Allow the connection‘ is selected on the next screen. Also, select all 3 network types.
16) Give a name to the rule and press OK.
17) Make sure it is enabled and listed in ‘Inbound Rules’.
18) Repeat the same steps in ‘Outbound Rules’
With these above steps, your Windows 10/11 PC is ready to use the TFTP client.
Test Windows TFTP Client on Windows 10/11
Let’s assume that the TFTP server setup is done and files are available at the correct location. Before you download a file from the TFTP server, you must know the right file name with the extension.
In this example, I’m going to download a file called ‘tftp.zip’ from server 192.168.1.244. We use the GET command to download a file.
Type the below command in the command prompt (you must have a working network communication with the server, the ping command is handy to confirm the connectivity)Tftp -i [server IP address] GET [file name with the expension]
The below message indicates that the file transfer is successful. The file will be downloaded at the location where you execute the command. In this case, it is C:\Users\Dinesh folder.
To upload a file using the TFTP client, use the following command. We use the PUT command to upload a file.Tftp -i [server IP address] PUT [path of the file with the expension]
The below command output shows the successful file upload to the server by the Windows TFTP client. The file will be uploaded to the root of the TFTP server. We do not have any option to change the upload location.
As I’m using the Solarwind TFTP server in this example, the above command uploaded the file to this root location.
There you go, we learned how to install the built-in TFTP client on Windows 10/11 and how to ensure it works fine by modifying the firewall settings. Also, we showed the simple steps to upload and download a file using the TFTP client.