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Configure SecureShell (ssh) access on Windows

Once you have installed Cygwin on your ReactOS/Windows box it is just a few commands configuring remote terminal access via OpenSSH. Just like with most UNIX/Linux boxes you can log in remotely and get a shell prompt with the usual GNU tools. In addition on a CygWin shell also most Windows command line tools work (in contrast to the WSL2 shell) and you can also start a cmd shell or a power shell prompt.

So, here are the steps:

  • Open a CygWin Terminal
  • Run the ssh-host-config tool to configure the host key plus some other things:

    ssh-host-config
    

    It will prompt you for some options, you can accept all defaults.

  • Open port 22 (the ssh TCP port) in the Windows firewall:

    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name='Enable sshd' protocol=tcp localport=22 dir=in action=allow
    

    Note that this is a generic way to open a port on Windows. Just replace 22 with the desired port.

  • When done, you can start the SSH daemon (called service under Windows) with following command:

    sc start cygsshd
    

    Note that the SSH daemon is started automatically on booting.

You have successfully configured ssh access for your Windows box. To log in run

ssh Administrator@<your-windows-ip-here>

You can use your Windows Administrator (or user) account password to log into your Windows box.

If you don’t know your Windows IP run

ipconfig

to look it up.

That’s it :) you have configured SSH on your Windows box and can use it (almost) like a real UNIX/Linux box.

Note that CygWin export a /cygdrive virtual directory to map drive letters to the CygWin root tree. So to list files in C: type:

ls /cygdrive/c

Happy hacking :)