Ask just about any *NIX admin using a Windows laptop and they will have come across Putty. For years, Apple MacBooks have been the go-to choice for many admins partly because getting to a ssh shell is so easy. The newly re-invigorated Microsoft is changing how easy it is to interface with Linux (and other *NIX flavors) significantly with features like Ubuntu on Windows. There is a new beta feature in Windows 10 that may just see the retirement of Putty from many users: an OpenSSH client and OpenSSH server application for Windows.

Installing the Windows OpenSSH Client

Since this is not the best-documented feature, and still one in Beta, we made a quick video of the installation process.

If you do not want to watch go to “Manage Optional Features” then + “Add a feature”. You can then scroll down the list and find the OpenSSH Client (Beta) and OpenSSH Server (Beta) features in Windows. The idea of running another remote service on Windows can be daunting so we do not blame you if you do not want to install the server.

Once installed, you can simply fire up your command line and use the OpenSSH client by typing ssh followed by the command such as ssh ubuntu@someIP.

Here is the current (as of November 28, 2017) ssh command usage guide we are getting with the Windows OpenSSH Client:
usage: ssh [-46AaCfGgKkMNnqsTtVvXxYy] [-b bind_address] [-c cipher_spec]
[-D [bind_address:]port] [-E log_file] [-e escape_char]
[-F configfile] [-I pkcs11] [-i identity_file]
[-J [user@]host[:port]] [-L address] [-l login_name] [-m mac_spec]
[-O ctl_cmd] [-o option] [-p port] [-Q query_option] [-R address]
[-S ctl_path] [-W host:port] [-w local_tun[:remote_tun]]
[user@]hostname [command]

For most admins, this is going to be extremely easy to transition to.

Final Words

Many of our readers use higher-end terminal solutions like MobaXterm Professional. At the same time, when you just need a SSH session, being able to launch via the standard Windows command line is awesome. Microsoft is clearly taking steps to make the IT admin’s job much easier, and this is one simple example where Windows is making great strides. For those who use Putty as the simple SSH solution on Windows, those days are numbered.