Edmund A. Hajim  School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Installing and configuring PUTTY for use with HSEAS hosts

Putty is a Secure Shell client for Windows (98/ME/NT/2000). It is a telnet-like connection that is much more secure - your password never transits the network in the clear (as it does with telnet), as the connection is encrypted. Here's how to use putty.


  1. Take the binaries/executables and place them in a directory to keep them nice and safe. Then right-click the main binary (putty.exe) and drag it to the desktop. You will be asked if you want to copy it, move it, or make a shortcut - select the latter. This makes putty convenient to use, but also keeps the executable a little safer from being accidentally deleted.
  2. Now double-click (left mouse button) the Putty icon. This will open up the putty configuration window. In the left-most pane of the window, click on the item marked Session.
  3. In the right-hand pane, near the top, enter the Host Name for the configuration you are about to create. Use the full name of the host (the FQDN name, e.g., nova.seas.rochester.edu.
  4. Below that entry, select SSH as the protocol to use.
  5. Now give the session a name in the Session Name dialog box; I usually use the short name of the host, e.g., Nova.
  6. Make sure the Close Window on Exit checkbox is checked.
  7. Over in the left-hand pane of the window, select Connection.
  8. The Terminal-type string should be set to xterm , the Auto-login Username should be set to your login name on the host to which you will connect (leave blank if more than one person will be using this machine), and the Minutes between keep-alives should be set to 0.
  9. You may wish to go to the Window/Colors item in the left-hand pane, and set your preferred colors for background, foreground (i.e., the text) and cursor (etc.).
  10. You're almost done. Select Session again from the left-hand pane, verify that the right hand pane contains information that is correct, and then click the Save button.
  11. If you wish to configure other hosts, you can Load a saved session,s alter the relevant settings, make sure you use a different session name, and then save that new session (i.e., configuration).
  12. In using Putty, double click the putty icon, then select Session, and then click on the saved session you wish to use, then click on Load and then on Open. Putty will open a telnet-like window to the host.
  13. The first time you connect to a host, putty will warn you that the host does not have a stored key - that is OK. Accept that. Worry if it is a host that you have already connected to. Occasionally, putty (the client) and the remote host (the ssh server) will not negotiate their key comparisons correctly. Try again. Occasionally, server software may think you are not who you are, and will drop the connection. Try again. There can be a lag between the window opening, and you being able to type anything, and you will not see a prompt for your password. Wait and be patient - the two hosts are negotiating a lot of public/private key stuff that is computationally intensive.

Here's the official Putty documentation for those of you who want more information.

Last modifed: Thursday, 07-Apr-2011 09:24:22 EDT