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Generate SSH Keys on Windows with PuTTYGen (the PuTTY Key Generator)

To generate SSH public and private key pairs on Windows, one of the easiest tools to use, is the PuTTY Key Generator “puttygen.exe” (which can be downloaded from here).

The resulting generated files from the PuTTY Key Generator can be used to set up public key authentication with a remote server, allowing for more secure authentication over normal password based authentication (requires disabling password based authentication).

Download the PuTTY Key Generator

You can download puttygen from the following url:

https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html

Run puttygen.exe

When puttygen has loaded you will be presented with a screen such as this:

Generate the public and private keys

Click the “Generate” button on the main window to start the process of generating the key data.

While this is happening, you will need to move your mouse around in the blank area at the top of the application. This is used to help randomize the data used to generate the keys.

Once the progress bar has gone through, the public and private key data will have been generated, and you are ready to save the keys.

Saving the public and private keys

Public Key:

Simply press the “Save public key” button. This will be used on the remote host you want to be able to connect into remotely, using the private key.

Private Key:

You have the option to enter a passphrase if you want to make the key more secure. Enter that in, and the confirmed passphrase.

After thats done (or if you dont want to use a passphrase), simply press the “Save private key” button. Store this key in a safe place.

Using the private key in PuTTY

For information on how to use the private key file in PuTTY, please check the following page:

Using SSH Private Key Files with PuTTY



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