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Configuring and using PuTTY/Pageant

PuTTY is a free and easy to use ssh client for Windows (7 and 10). You can use it to connect to your favorite remote Linux servers in text mode, and start remote graphical applications if you also have a running X server


Download and install the latest version of PuTTY

Launching PuTTY/Pageant

You could directly launch PuTTY, but it is actually more efficient to launch Pageant, especially if you are regularly going to connect to the same server(s)


  • It will seem that nothing happens, but you should get the Pageant icon at the bottom right of your screen.

    Pageant will allow you to create or use existing connection profiles (Sessions), and also easily use ssh keys (more on ssh keys later)
  • If you right click on the Pageant icon, you can manage sessions with the New Session option, use Saved Sessions profiles and manage ssh keys (View Keys, Add Key).
    You can also view/add keys by double clicking on the pageant icon

Configuring PuTTY

Launch the session/configuration manager: (Right click on) PageantNew Session

  • You can keep most PuTTY's default settings. This section will show you how to create your first session profile, with some useful options. If you want to add another session later, just Load an existing (and properly configured) session, Save it under a new name, and the change the session details
  • When changing a setting, select a (sub-)Category in the left part of the PuTTY Configuration windows, and change the displayed settings in the right part of the window.
  • After changing the settings of an existing Session, do not forget to go back to the Session category and click Save!

Creating a new session

In the Session category:

  • Specify a Host Name: e.g. for the LSCE access server (also called LSCE gateway)
  • Specify a matching session name in Saved Sessions: e.g. ssh1
  • Click on Save to save the session

If you are in a hurry, you can connect to the Linux server by clicking on Open, but you should first change some useful settings

Changing some useful settings

  • In the WindowsSelection category:
    • Select xterm for the mouse buttons behavior. This will allow you to use the mouse buttons in the Putty terminal the same way you would use them in an standard Linux xterm terminal: Copy text with the left button, and Paste it with the middle button
  • In the ConnectionData category:
    • Specify your login name in Auto-login username. This way you won't have to type it when you connect to the Linux server
  • In the ConnectionSSHAuth category:
  • In the ConnectionSSHX11 category:
  • When you have finished updating settings, do not forget to go back to CategorySession and Save the session!

Adding more sessions

Direct connection to a remote server

  • Select an existing session (e.g. the ssh1 profile defined above) and click on Load
  • Update the values of the Host Name and Saved Session (the name of the new profile you want) text fields, and settings
    e.g. for connecting to LSCE from INSIDE LSCE use:
    • Host Nameobelix
    • Saved Sessionobelix (direct connection)
  • Go back to CategorySession and Save the session

Connection through a gateway

  • Select an existing gateway session and click on Load.
    For connecting to LSCE from OUTSIDE LSCE, select the ssh1 profile
    If you are at LSCE, but use the eduroam or the guest WiFi network, you are considered as being outside LSCE!
  • In the ConnectionSSH category, specify the command used to connect to the target server in the Remote command field
    e.g. for LSCE, use:
  • Go back to CategorySession, specify a new profile name in Saved Sessions (e.g. obelix via ssh1) and Save the session

Daily usage of PuTTY/Pageant

Note: PuTTY will ask your password each time you open a session, unless you have ssh keys, and you use Pageant to store your passphrase

Starting a session from Pageant

Once you have started pageant, and configured sessions, you can easily open terminals on the remote servers by right-clicking on the pageant icon, and selecting a Saved Session.

Starting a session from a desktop shortcut

It is also possible to create a shortcut on the desktop to start a specific session!

  • Right-click on the desktop and select NewShortcut
  • Specify the location of putty.exe: C:\Program Files\PuTTY\putty.exe
  • Specify the name of the shortcut, and save the shortcut
    e.g. obelix via ssh1
  • Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties, then add the name of the desired profile to the existing target
    e.g. “C:\Program Files\PuTTY\putty.exe” -load “obelix via ssh1”
  • Click OK to save the changes
  • You can now connect to the remote server just by clicking on the shortcut!

Using ssh keys

Read the Using ssh keys section if you don't know what ssh keys are

Existing ssh keys

Importing or creating ssh keys with PuTTYgen

  • Launch the PuTTY Key Generator:
  • If you already have a private ssh keys generated on another computer, id_rsa, you just have to use PuTTYgen to import the private key, and save it to a .ppk file that Pageant can use
    • Import the key (and type the passphrase, when asked) with: ConversionsImport key
    • Then click on the Save private key button, and create a id_rsa.ppk file (or any_name_you_want.ppk)
  • If you don't have a set of ssh keys, follow the steps below to create private and public keys
    • Make sure that the type of key (at the bottom of the PuTTYgen window) is RSA and that the number of bits is 4096
    • Click on the Generate button and move your mouse to generate some random information
    • Type your Key passphrase and confirm it
    • Click on the Save private key button, and create a id_rsa.ppk file (or any_name_you_want.ppk)
    • Click on the Save public key button, and create a file
    • Click on ConversionsExport OpenSSH key, and create a (standard) id_rsa file
      You will not need this file with Putty, but it is just in case you need to use your private key later on a Linux computer

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other/putty_conf.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/10 09:13 by jypeter