OpenSSH for Windows Configuration Description

The OpenSSH server is intended for use on Windows NT-based Operating Systems. It is possible to use it on Windows 9x/ME systems, but that is not supported. The client tools will work on either platform. createssh

The installation program is easy to use. Simply run the setup program and answer the prompts. supermoz

The steps to creating proper group and passwd files is outlined below. To add local groups to the group file, you use the -l switch, for domain groups, use the -d switch: directory24x7

mkgroup -l >>..\etc\group (local groups)

mkgroup -d >>..\etc\group (domain groups)

If you use both commands, the group file will contain duplicates. You will need to remove these by hand in a text editor. buddylinks

You will now need to create a passwd file. Any users in the passwd file will be able to log on with SSH. For this reason, it is recommended that you add users individually with the -u switch. To add ALL users on a system or domain, do not use the -u switch. As with mkgroup, local users are indicated with the -l switch and domain users are indicated by the -d switch. To add domain users from a domain that is not the primary domain of the machine, add the domain name after the user name: seoboost

mkpasswd -l [-u ] >>..\etc\passwd (add username to passwd – local user)

mkpasswd -d [-u ] >>..\etc\passwd (add username to passwd – domain user)

The passwd and group files are plain text and can be edited in Vim, Notepad or any text editor. Vim is recommended because it respects the default format of the files.

The last two entries for each user are safe to edit by hand, and can be customized to suit your needs. The second to last entry (/home/username) can be replaced with any other directory to act as that user’s home directory (what directory they will be in after they log in).

The /home Directory
In the passwd file, you will notice that the user’s home directory is set as /home/username, with username being the name of the account. In the default install, the /home directory is set to the default profile directory for all users. This is usually C:\Documents and Settings on Windows 2000 and XP, and C:\WINNT\Profiles on Windows NT 4.0. The location of /home can be edited to fit your special requirements by editing a registry key.

To change the Windows directory /home corresponds to, you will need to edit a registry entry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Cygnus Solutions\Cygwin\mounts v2\/home. The value of the key named “native” is the directory that /home is. If you want all your users to enter in a directory on your machine called F:\Users, change “native” to read F:\Users. By default, each user will then be placed in the directory F:\Users\username, where username is the name of the user account. To place the user directly under f:\Users, change the home directory in passwd to /home.

Start the OpenSSH server
net start opensshd

Test the server. Using a separate machine as the client is best. If you connect but the connection immediately gets dropped, reboot the machine with the server and try connecting again

Usage and Important Notes
Remember that the CYGWIN OpenSSH utilities are not graphical and are command-line based. Look at PuTTY, SSH Secure Shell, etc for graphical configuration. For more advanced ways to use the programs, look at the manual pages in the documentation directory.

SSH (client program):



NOTE: While regular SSH provides a familiar Windows commandline, SCP and SFTP as well as the passwd file use Unix-style paths. This is due partly to the Unix history of SSH, and to the Cygwin source of the tools.

Manual Uninstallation
An automatic uninstaller is provided to remove this program, but you can also uninstall manually. To do so, follow the steps below. For more info please visit these sites:-


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