Manually generating your SSH key in Windows


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Oct 20, 2018
On Windows, you can create SSH keys in many ways. Windows requires an SSH client, but doesn’t have a default SSH client on their operating system. Note that Windows is currently testing a native OpenSSH application, but for your protection, we don’t advocate using beta applications in production environments.

This document explains how to use two SSH applications, PuTTY and Git Bash.

PuTTY is an SSH client for Windows. You can use PuTTY to generate SSH keys. PuTTY is a free open-source terminal emulator that functions much like the Terminal application in macOS in a Windows environment. This section shows you how to manually generate and upload an SSH key when working with PuTTY in the Windows environment.

About PuTTY
PuTTY is an SSH client for Windows that you will use to generate your SSH keys. You can download PuTTY from

When you install the PuTTY client, you also install the PuTTYgen utility. PuTTYgen is what you will use to generate your SSH key for a Windows VM.

Generating an SSH key
To generate an SSH key with PuTTYgen, follow these steps:

  1. Open the PuTTYgen program.
  2. For Type of key to generate, select SSH-2 RSA.
  3. Click the Generate button.
  4. Move your mouse in the area below the progress bar. When the progress bar is full, PuTTYgen generates your key pair.
  5. Type a passphrase in the Key passphrase field. Type the same passphrase in the Confirm passphrase field. You can use a key without a passphrase, but this is not recommended.
  6. Click the Save private key button to save the private key.
    You must save the private key. You will need it to connect to your machine.
  7. Right-click in the text field labeled Public key for pasting into OpenSSH authorized_keys file and choose Select All.
  8. Right-click again in the same text field and choose Copy.
PuTTY and OpenSSH use different formats of public SSH keys. If the text you pasted in the SSH Key starts with —— BEGIN SSH2 PUBLIC KEY, it is in the wrong format. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Your key should start with ssh-rsa AAAA….

Git Bash
The Git installation package comes with SSH. Using Git Bash, which is the Git command line tool, you can generate SSH key pairs. Git Bash has an SSH client that enables you to connect to and interact with Triton containers on Windows.

To install Git:

  1. (Download and initiate the Git installer](
  2. When prompted, accept the default components by clicking Next.
  3. Choose the default text editor. If you have Notepad++ installed, select Notepad++ and click Next.
  4. Select to Use Git from the Windows Command Prompt and click Next.
  5. Select to Use OpenSSL library and click Next.
  6. Select to Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings and click Next.
  7. Select to Use MinTTY (The default terminal of mYSYS2) and click Next.
  8. Accept the default extra option configuration by clicking Install.
When the installation completes, you may need to restart Windows.

Launching GitBash
To open Git Bash, we recommend launching the application from the Windows command prompt:

  1. In Windows, press Start+R to launch the Run dialog.
  2. Type C:\Program Files\Git\bin\bash.exe and press Enter.
Generating SSH keys
First, create the SSH directory and then generate the SSH key pair.

One assumption is that the Windows profile you are using is set up with administrative privileges. Given this, you will be creating the SSH directory at the root of your profile, for example:

  1. At the Git Bash command line, change into your root directory and type.
mkdir .ssh
  1. Change into the .ssh directory C:\Users\joetest\.ssh
  2. To create the keys, type:
  1. When prompted for a password, type apassword to complete the process. When finished, the output looks similar to:
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/c/Users/joetest/.ssh/id_rsa): /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
Your public key has been saved in /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:jieniOIn20935n0awtn04n002HqEIOnTIOnevHzaI5nak [email protected]
The key's randomart image is:

+---[RSA 2048]----+
|*= =+. |
|O*=.B |
|+*o* + |
|o +o. . |
| ooo + S |
|* o |
| .+o+*oo . |
| .=+.. |
| Eo |

$ dir .ssh
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