Using SSH with Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows does not include native support for SSH or for running X Windows applications, but various free third-party applications exist which provide these features.


PuTTY is perhaps the most widely-known free SSH client for Windows, and includes versions of the ssh, scp and sftp applications. The components can be downloaded individually or as a bundle, and can be run directly without the need for installation.


WinSCP is a graphical SFTP client which allows you to drag-and-drop files between local and remote machines.


Swish is a graphical SFTP client which integrates with Windows Explorer and allows access to files stored on remote machines, as well as the ability to drag-and-drop files between remote machines and the local computer.


MobaXterm is an 'enhanced terminal for Windows' incorporating a built-in X server and SSH clients, along with other useful features such as a graphical SFTP client. This is perhaps the easiest way to run X Windows applications under Microsoft Windows, as only one package needs to be installed. There is a free edition which should be suitable for most purposes.


The Cygwin project provides a complete Linux-like environment for Microsoft Windows, and includes a plethora of common (and not-so-common) Linux applications and utilities. Cygwin offers a powerful and flexible environment, but its configuration can be rather complex.

Information specifically concerning configuring the X server and displaying remote client applications can be found in its comprehensive documentation:

Topic revision: r1 - 2016-04-20 - GordonStewart
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