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:


    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


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 :)