SSH for Windows

Posted on 2011-02-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, I have come across an application that uses SSH for secure communications but on Windows. Why SSH on windows, although its an UNIX command? What are the equivalents on Windows if any? Why this has been chosen? I am trying to understand a complex system in the absecnce of the original creator. Thanks  in advance.
Question by:olmuser
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Accepted Solution

InterframeGap earned 71 total points
ID: 34891728
Are you stating that:
Windows machine ---SSH ---- Windows machine?

The client (putty/securecrt/openssh etc) connects to a ssh daemon (service) on a host. This host can be windows, unix or even a mainframe. The clients as well as the server types are endless since ssh is such a openly accepted protocol for security.
If you are looking for the original author of ssh, that will be challenging since ssh is a creation from other standards.
You might want to rephrase your question if this answer is not satisfactory.  Try reading:

Let me know if you have any questions.

Assisted Solution

TimBare earned 72 total points
ID: 34891735
SSH is more secure the Telnet.

If you're looking for a SSH client for windows, check out PuTTY: /~sgtatham/putty/

Hope this helps a little bit, at last.

Assisted Solution

AriMc earned 72 total points
ID: 34891751
Generally SSH is a communications protocol, not a command on any specific platform. Common reasons for choosing it are that it is very secure and there are plenty of both commercial and free open source implementations available.

SSH is a client/server system where one end acts as a server and clients connect to it. One good free implementation of SSH server for Windows is OpenSSH:

It's available as an easy-to-deploy package in many "Unix-tool -packages" such as Cygwin (

Good SSH-client software for Windows include PuTTY ( for remote terminal access and tunneling and WinSCP ( for file transfer.

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Author Comment

ID: 34891805
Actually, this is done from a NT server (yes, really old application). I can see Cygwin is being used., though I see PuTTY is popular on the net. So I understand SSH is a secured version of Telnet. But why this? What are the alternatives for secure communication on Windows?

Assisted Solution

TimBare earned 72 total points
ID: 34891924
If Cygwin is there, there may be another Unix / Linux application running along w/ SSH. SSH is probably there for remote access to this application.

I may be off on that, but without knowing more, that's my first guess.

Assisted Solution

AriMc earned 72 total points
ID: 34891952
It's much more than an alternative to telnet. It allows tunneling of other protocols through a secure encrypted channels and also secure encrypted file transfers between the hosts. It also provides good authentication methods such as public/private key pairs that are much more secure than old-fashioned username/password combinations.

Alternatives... well, I'd stay clear of anything built-in in Windows at least. Many of these SSH implementations are proven and field-tested open source solutions for tough security requirements.


Assisted Solution

mchkorg earned 35 total points
ID: 34896576
What is your old NT application(s) doing ?
- file transfers from this old NT to/from another server?
- probably big batch processing, renaming files, copying them, FTPing them, that kind of stuff
- are you using SSH to logon to this old NT server and then run some commands ?

The reason why cygwin is used is probably because cygwin provides you tons of command-line tools to script complicated things you couldn't when NT was the latest Windows (no powershell and so on).
So an admin might had used it to ease his batches development

Notice that SSH is often used (especially on Windows) just to make it possible to securely transfer files with the SFTP protocol (don't mess up with FTPS).

=> Anyway, you should tell us what kind of communication (file transfer, running remote command... whatever) you have from/to/with this old server. You then can give you some hints to decide whether you should change cygwin/ssh or not.
I think your point is to understand how this all works, not to rewrite all the batches that have run for years now :) except if you plan to shutdown this old server and move the batches somewhere else.

If you just wonder what is doing this computer with cygwin and don't know what/how to check, we can probably try to give you some cygwin/unix commands to see if scripts are scheduled, for example.

I hope it helps

Assisted Solution

InterframeGap earned 71 total points
ID: 34900663
Nicely put mchkorg.

 I would also add you can also tunnel (port forward) via ssh, ie Terminal services through your ssh connection.
You can port forward a browser session or anything which runs over tcp and does not require a dynamic port or a remote connection back to the client (ie., FTP (not passive ftp) and RPC clients (ie., exchange mail).
You can obtain a command line session on the remote server (something which remote powershell does today). At the command line you can do anything which you can do at a command line prompt which you can by running cmd.exe.  

Port forwarding is a process where you can forward a local tcp port (ie., RDP 3389) or forward a remote port from the server or do both.  
The result is allowing for a secure remote management RDP/Terminal session where there would not be one (ie., 2000 terminal services probably don't support encryption or at least don't support encryption as easily as 2003 or 2008....easy is a matter of skill.... ) I personally would find it easier to tunnel rdp to a remote server vs setup a PKI infrastructure when managing many servers or even just managing local CERTs.
Anyway - I digressed sorry.  
Just some additional information.

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