Since this column is about finding shareware and freeware on the Net, this instalment is dedicated to the crucial subject of tools for downloading from the Web and FTP servers around the Internet. If you use Netscape Navigator ( http://home.netscape.com/ ) or Microsoft's Internet Explorer ( http://www.microsoft.com ), you probably know that these are convenient tools for downloading software from Web sites. What you may not know is that they also can be used to access files stored on any anonymous FTP server on the Internet. FTP servers pre-date the Web and are still the dominant archives of files - primarily software - for downloading. Anonymous FTP servers are those which allow any user to log in 'anonymously' (although it really is not anonymous) and browse the contents of the archive and download files. You can identify an FTP address by the 'ftp://' at the start of the address instead of a Web address' usual 'http://'. While Web browsers such as those from Netscape and Microsoft can browse FTP archives and download your choice of software, they are not the most efficient. Following are a few freeware or inexpensive shareware FTP tools which are available for Windows users. By inexpensive, I mean less than US$10 registration fee. I also have tried to select utilities which are small so you do not have to spend too much on-line time downloading them. The first program is FreeWay FTP ( http://www.agric.za/free way), a freeware ftp client which includes an FTP server. It has a full-time connection to the Internet, which technically allows you to use FreeWay to provide your own small FTP archive. Windows 95 is not the type of operating system you would want to run a heavy duty FTP server on, but for a small one this is an inexpensive way to do it. As an FTP client, FreeWay has all the basic features required. It uses a standard split-window approach to GUI FTP software. On one side of the window are the contents of the current directory on your computer and a drop-down list for navigating your hard drive. On the other side is the same display for the FTP server. Two buttons allow you to move files back and forth between the displayed directories. It is a no-frills approach, but it works and is easy to use. SnoopyFTP ( http://www.geo cities.com/SouthBeach/6382/ Snoopy.zip) is a US$5 shareware program which is as basic as FreeWay in its interface but does not offer a built-in server. It uses a split window and is reminiscent of WS FTP - the father of Windows-based FTP clients back in the days of Windows 3.1. Another FTP client, Multi-Transfer FTP ( http://kalahari . ton.tut.fi/jlahd/mtftp002.zip), differs from the previous two in that it is a command-line tool which can be used in the DOS prompt rather than a GUI application. It is also remarkably small, with the ZIP file being only 31K. If you are an ardent avoider of FTP tools, you should look at this one. In one command, this little utility can be directed to download multiple files from a server. It can even download entire directories at a shot. This is done using multiple simultaneous connections, which works well if you have a decent Internet connection. As we are on the topic of non-GUI FTP clients, I have to throw in my personal favourite: NcFTP ( http://www.itribe.net/virtunix/ mystuff.html). This public-domain, and therefore free, application originates in the UNIX world and is probably the reason I am partial to it. It has migrated to Windows 95 as part of an effort to move many UNIX tools to the Win32 environment for use in Windows NT. NcFTP provides one of the best and most versatile command-line environment for downloading files using FTP. The program can download whole directories with a single command, remembers profiles for different servers from previous sessions and can even pick up an interrupted download from where it left off instead of starting again from scratch the way most FTP clients do. Highly recommended if you are willing to tackle the command prompt.