How to Setup SSH Server in Windows with freeSSHd

August 5, 2009 – 12:07 pm

Have you ever wanted to control your Windows remotely using the command line? With the SSH network protocol, you can! Telnet is another way to achieve this, but it is not as secure as SSH. In this simple guide, I will tell you on how to setup a SSH server in Windows with freeSSHd.

With this setup, you can now access and manage your PC from another computer using the Windows command line. That means that you can copy, edit, move and delete files inside your home computer from another computer in the office, for example. Furthermore, the SSH network protocol secures the connection between the two connected computers! If you are interested, you can read more on SSH .



Step 1: Setup SSH Server in Windows with freeSSHd

This is an absolute noob guide , so I’ll explain in detail. If you are an advanced user (boo!), you are welcome to skip the installation steps.

1- freeSSHd is the easiest software to use to get SSH working in Windows. Download freeSSHd before proceeding any further.

2- Double click the freeSSHd installer that you have downloaded to get started.


3- Click Next -> Click Next (or you can change the default installation directory) -> Click Next (Full Installation) -> Click Next (Start Menu Folder) -> Click Next (Create a desktop icon) -> Click Install (ready to install) -> Wait until installation has been finished -> Click Close (Try other products…)


4- “Do you want to run freeSSHd as a system service?” I choose “No” so I can start freeSSHd manually. This is a good security practice because you don’t want to have running applications in the background if you are not using it. Only turn freeSSHd on when the need for remote connections arise!


5- Click Finish to complete freeSSHd installation.


Step 2: Run freeSSHd

6- Double click the freeSSHd icon on the desktop to load your SSH server. You can see the freeSSHd icon on your system tray.

7- Right click on the icon and click Settings.


8- Make sure that the freeSSHd settings page (Server Settings tab) shows that your “SSH server is running”.



Step 3: Create a New SSH User

9- Click on the Users tab. You need to create at least one user account that will act as your SSH remote user account.


10- Click “Add” to create a new user. Fill in the user details, following the example shown below (with your own unique username and password, duh!). Click OK and make sure it appear on the Users tab list.



Step 4: Test SSH Access with Putty (Local)

11- Using the same computer that you install freeSSHd previously, download Putty. Putty is a desktop command line client that you can use to access SSH servers.

12- Double click the Putty installer to run it. Fill in the details as shown in the diagram below. means that you are testing the SSH access from a local connection.


13- Press “Yes” on the security alert screen. Insert your SSH username and password that you have created previously.



14- If you get a Windows command prompt, you have successfully access your SSH server! Congratulations!


15- Connect your computer to the Internet / local network and take note of your computer’s IP address.


Step 5: Test SSH Access with Putty (Remote)

16- Using another computer e.g. your office computer, download Putty again.

17- Repeat step 12 to 13 above but this time, use your SSH server IP address (type it inside Host Name or IP Address field).

18- If you get a Windows command prompt, you have successfully access your SSH server from a remote computer! Double congrats to you!



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There you go, a complete noob guide to setup a SSH server in Windows, using the super simple freeSSHd application. Be geeky and try it today!

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  1. 28 Responses to “How to Setup SSH Server in Windows with freeSSHd”

  2. Hmm when I do this on windows 7 and try to connect I get my login and than no matter what I enter for the password (even the correct one) I get access denied.

    Any ideas why? Is there special settings? Im using windows 7 and Putty like you explain LOCALLY and it fails as well.

    I allowed the port through the firewall also.

    By glenn on Aug 7, 2009

  3. Never tried it with Windows 7 man. I used to test this with Vista with all firewall and UAC disabled.

    By Syahid A. on Aug 8, 2009

  4. Hi there, I got it working on Windows 7 by:

    1. setting as NT Authentication
    2. Apply
    3. Rightclick on the freeSSHd icon in the systray and select “unload”
    4. Restart the Service using Windows Services (Start Menu –> Administrative Tools –> Services)

    It seems that freeSSHd does not actually restart the service via it’s own little console.

    Hope that helps

    By jp on Sep 7, 2009

  5. @Syahid: Your instruction do not work for me.

    Somebody any other idea?

    By Tommy on Oct 31, 2009

  6. I got the same problem. Disable the User Account Control and restart the PC, then it’ll work.

    I’ve no workaround for this. If you want to have UAC you can’t use freesshd, I guess…

    IMHO the problem is, that the company field in the infomation fields for this file isn’t filled. So you can’t trust the binary, cause Win7 won’t allow it.

    If anybody has a workaround, please answer ;-)

    By tobra71 on Nov 16, 2009

  7. stop the service.
    stop the unload the program via the system tray.

    Open the FreeSSHD program and start the SSH server via its own console.
    You’ll be prompted to allow the program access through the windows firewall, accept, ok…..
    Then start the FreeSSHd service from the services console (run -> services.msc)

    Works fine.

    don’t forget to configure the no brainer stuff, i.e. authnetication, directories, etc….
    If you cannot get this app working, then you should reconsider owning a computer.

    By bla bla bla on Feb 23, 2010

  8. i tried the post by “bla bla bla” and can’t seem to get it working. I installed as non-MS service so I don’t have the 2nd option. I am a *Nix guy, probably part of the issue. Please help.

    By ajs21harley on Feb 25, 2010

  9. thanks for the excellent procedures – it works!!!!

    By mimi on Mar 3, 2010

  10. The unload + load trick worked perfectly. Nice work.

    By Daniel Sullivan on Apr 19, 2010

  11. dont forget to open whatever port you are using on the router.

    By ehm on Aug 16, 2010

  12. FreeSSHd installs nicely, but when I start it I get the error “You don’t have administrator rights! FreeSSHd will close.”. But I am logged on as local admin!
    What to do?

    By JD on Nov 11, 2010

  13. stop the service and unload from tray then restart did also the trick for me on win7-64 ultimate.

    freesshd is the only ssh server on windows that works for me… cool…

    By jonx on Nov 17, 2010

  14. I’m logged in as user of administrative group but was receiving error message every time when running freeSSHd shortcut “you don’t have administrator rights freesshd will close”, there is no tray icon as well

    I was able after looking into source I realized how to resolve this problem (a bit poor algorithm to determine thether logged as admin)


    To run configuration and see tray icon you should make sure that your user is member of Administrators group and there are no other active sessions.

    I hope that helps ;)
    I’m running win 7 ultimate 32 bit

    By Roman on Nov 29, 2010

  15. To run configuration and see tray icon you should make sure that your user is member of Administrators group and there are no other active sessions.

    I hope that helps ;)
    Iā€™m running win 7 ultimate 32 bit cd

    By renta car istanbul on Mar 29, 2011

  16. The procedure helped me start the SSh server and hence putty.
    But none of the commands are working on putty after it successfully started..
    please help

    By cena123 on Jun 12, 2011

  17. Thanks for the restarting the service trick, jp.

    By Dave on Sep 3, 2011

  18. You see I don’t trust Putty. Putty is sending the password to a remote server. do not trust putty.

    By Ahmad on Sep 4, 2011

  19. Thanks for the step by step guide on how to setup SSH Server in Windows with freeSSHd. I tried it and was able to make it work after my first try. You really made thing a lot easier. Thanks for sharing this.

    By Allan on Sep 8, 2011

  20. Hi There,

    I got a problem after step 8 because when i click on the freessh icon and went to the setting window the thing is that SSH server is not running and i do not know how can i make it run?

    By rosegarden on Oct 5, 2011

  21. this is only the game of load unload the service ..and port configuration . i used the same port in freeSSHD and putty.

    By shah on Oct 25, 2011

  22. i installed FREESHHD on my win20008…..just after the installation i was able to do SFTP,

    but after 1 day freesshd server automatically went stop.

    By rakesh tomar on Nov 7, 2011

  23. I have installed freesshd and it’s running without a problem.

    But I need to know how to be able to limit individual users to have access to specific drives and folders on those drives.

    Currently, I can’t figure out how to do this.

    This is installed at c:\program files\freesshd and I don’t see a users folder in there or any way to specify which folders each specific user should have access to.

    Can someone advise me?


    By Gary Gordon on Dec 8, 2011

  24. Disabling UAC on 2008 R2 worked for me. Thanks to those who mentioned UAC!

    By Dave on Jun 1, 2012

  25. Unload may be needed at times, too, especially if you change settings.

    By Dave on Jun 1, 2012

  26. My experience with Win7: Disabling UAC is not required! In order to make freesshd to save changes: make a right-click on the icon => Run as Administrator => configure it!

    By Niko on Jun 15, 2012

  27. I set up freeSSHd, everything works fine, on windows server 2008. Set up the telnet account, work fine but for SSH account, when i want to log in, everytime putty show “access denied” and prompt me to write again the password. i created a new account and the same behaviour is happening. should i do something with RSA key generated on SSH tab or something like this?
    I tried to access the SSH from server computer and the same thing…
    I dont know what to do. I restarted the app, the service… no difference.

    By Liviu on Dec 17, 2012

  28. should be no problem. maybe you can try to re-setup dan server and create new keys again.
    can’t say much about the solution cause every thing works fine here.

    By syahid_a on Dec 18, 2012

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