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How to install OpenSSH sshd server and sftp server on a Windows 2000 or Windows XP



 
    

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Disclaimer

According to some cygwin gods, the only official document that you should use is  "/usr/share/doc/Cygwin/openssh.README "
which is probably true.
The purpose of this tutorial is for Windows users who are perhaps less familiar with Unix commands wanting to try out the famous Open Source ssh server (openSSH) on a desktop Windows XP .
The behaviors of Windows 2003 Server is different. Follow this link to install OpenSSH on Windows 2003 Server, by Stephen Pillinger of the School of Computer Science, University of Brimingham. Or this link to install Cygwin SSH server on Windows 2003 Server, by  Kevin Scully at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Please don't send any questions to the cygwin mailing list to ask questions about this page as it seems to provoke them severely. They considered and declared the instructions on this page "broken" and "random" but won't constructively say what is "broken"; instead some went on launching personal attacks. The information here is provided "as is, in good faith" with no guarantee it will work. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. Don't send any questions to the Cygwin mailing list to ask why and provoke them. If you must go to Cygwin mailing list to ask, you better completely remove Cygwin before you go to the mailing list to ask questions and don't even mention that you have looked at this web page (to avoid pissing them off).
Read this Disclaimer

Constructive comments are of course welcome, in the original spirit of the Internet, sharing experience and knowledge regarding bug fixes and improvements to benefit other users of the Internet community.
My email address is nfong@xxxxxxxxxxx


cygwin-openssh

How to install a ssh server (called sshd, from OpenSSH) on a Windows 2000 or XP
How to install a sftp server on a Windows 2000 or XP

The ssh server is an emulation of the UNIX environment and OpenSSH for Windows, by Redhat, called cygwin

(1a) Login as Administrator
Windows XP - login as a user with Administrator privilege;
Windows 2003 Server: login as local admin, it will not work for domain users or domain admin.

(1b) Make sure the current admin/user has a Windows password set.
If not, use g Control Panel...User Accounts to create a password.
Just to be on the safe side, after you created a password, logoff and then log in again.

(2a) Create a folder c:\cygwin

(2b) g Download cygwin's setup.exe from http://www.cygwin.com/ and save setup.exe in c:\cygwin

Cygwin's setup.exe has some uncommon properties, click here to find out more.

Click Start...Run...and type c:\cygwin\setup.exe

If you are asked to select "Just Me" or "All Users", choose "All Users"

When it asks for "Local Package Directory", type c:\cygwin
Choose a download site that is "close" to you.
When a selection screen comes up (you can resize the windows to see better),
click the little View button for "Full" view  g,
find the package "openssh", click on the word "skip" so that an x appears in Column B,
see this illustration.

Click next to start installing cygwin and ssh.
Size of the basic cygwin system is more than 40 Meg, this may take a while.

Take a coffee break. g

(3) Right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Environment Variables
See this illustration (red dots)
Click the "New" new button to add a new entry to System variables:
variable name is CYGWIN
variable value is ntsec tty   (for an explanation of ntsec, click here, thanks to Peter Reutemann of New Zealand on tty variable)

(4) Right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Environment Variables
See this illustration (green dots)
Select the Path variable and click the "Edit" edit button:
append  ;c:\cygwin\bin   to the end of the existing variable string.

(5) Open a cygwin window (by double clicking theg icon), a black screen pops open, type
ssh-host-config      (on slower computers, it may take several minutes to generate the dsa keys)
When the script asks you about "privilege separation", answer yes
When the script asks about "create local user sshd", answer yes
When the script asks you about "install sshd as a service", answer yes
When the script stops and asks you for "CYGWIN="     your answer is ntsec tty  (click here for an explanation of ntsec)

See Note 5 below if you need to run ssh-host-config again.

(6) While you are still in the (black) cygwin screen, start the sshd service
net start sshd
or
cygrunsrv  --start  sshd

Click here on how to stop the sshd service.

(7) Make sure every Windows user has a password set, if not, 
go to g Control Panel....User Accounts and create a password.

(8) important Pop a cygwin g window, harmonize Windows user information with cygwin, otherwise they cannot login
mkpasswd   --local   >   /etc/passwd
mkgroup   --local    >   /etc/group

mkpasswd creates a password file from Windows' user list, click here for more details.
mkgroup creates a group file from Windows' user list, click here for more details.


Test to see if sshd is working, pop a cygwin gwindow (note: the command below is case sensitive)
whoami
ssh    localhost
or
ssh  -vvv  localhost
or
ssh    "$USERNAME@127.0.0.1"

If you get a prompt without error messages, type
ls  -lh  /cygdrive/c
if you see a directory listing, success! g g  g
(type exit to end the cygwin ssh session) 

If you have a Windows username that contain space, expand the space into \ [space],
e.g. if the Windows login name is  mickey mouse
ssh  mickey\  mouse@xxxxxxxxx

If you have troubles ssh into the server, try run
ssh-user-config

Thanks to Jared Kilgour for above $USERNAME variable substitution.
Thanks to Justin Kerk for the tip on quotes around $USERNAME to allow for spaces in username.


g
Windows XP SP2 - open the Windows Firewall to allow TCP port 22 through

Click Start...Control Panel....Security Centre....Manage Security Settings for Windows Firewall....Exceptions tab....Add Port...
"Name of port" is ssh    "Port number" is 22 (check the "TCP" checkbox)
(Thanks to Stefano of Sardegna, Italy for his Windows Firewall reminder)

If you previously used Windows XP SP1 and installed sshd service, then upgraded to Windows XP SP2,
note that the SP2 disables the sshd service and deletes the CYGWIN environment variable
Re-enter the environment variables and path.
Click Start...Control Panel....Security Centre....Manage Security Settings for Windows Firewall....Exceptions tab....Add Port...
"Name of port" is ssh    "Port number" is 22 (check the "TCP" checkbox)
(Thanks to Chris Davitt of New Zealand   for this SP1 -> SP2 glitch)


Multiple Windows users g

Create other Windows users using the g Control Panel...User Accounts.
After you created (or removed) Windows users
pop a g cygwin windows to harmonize Windows user information with cygwin, otherwise they cannot login
mkpasswd   --local   >   /etc/passwd
mkgroup   --local    >   /etc/group

g
Don't get too carry away with multiple users, if a user successfully ssh into the box, he can "cd" to just about any directory.

Note:  The behaviors of Windows 2003 Server is different. Follow this link to install OpenSSH on Windows 2003 Server, by Stephen Pillinger of the School of Computer Science, University of Brimingham.
 


Users from the internal network (geeks call this a LAN) can
ssh  usersname@ip_address   (e.g. ssh   john@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)

On Unix/Linux systems, user names generally do not contain spaces. On Windows system, user names can have spaces.
If you have a Windows username that contain spaces, expand each space into \ [space],
e.g. if the Windows username is  mickey mouse
ssh  mickey\  mouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxx


g

If you have a NAT firewall, port forward (D-link calls this Virtual Server) TCP port 22 to the (internal) IP address
of the Windows box with the sshd server running. See above diagram.

Users from the outside (geeks call this a WAN) can
ssh  username@external_ip_address   (e.g. ssh   john@xxxxxxxxxxx )
ssh  mickey\   mouse@external_ip_address  (e.g.  ssh  mickey\  mouse@xxxxxxxxxxx )

Caveat Emptor:
-assuming you have an IP address that is accessible by the outside world, some ISP do not give out outside-accessible IP address.
-assuming your ISP allows TCP port 22 traffic through.
-assuming your firewall allows TCP port 22 and port forwards to the computer running the ssh server.


g

g  As a bonus, openssh includes sftp and sftp-server for doing encrypted file transfers.
These two programs function much like the familiar ftp-client and ftp-server.

g For example, from a remote laptop, you can transfer (send and retrieve) files to your home computer (see above diagram).
sftp   username@ip_address   (e.g.  sftp  john@xxxxxxxxxxxx )
sftp   username@hostname   (e.g. sftp  john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx )
openSSH [which uses openssl] has strong encryption capability.
The encryption used by openSSH can be either AES-128, AES-192, AES-256, 3DES, Blowfish, cast-128, arcfour (RC4)
The default encryption algorithm (cipher) is AES-128-CBC.
You can force a particular encryption algorithm preference (cipher) by adding a directive such as
Ciphers   blowfish-cbc,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc
  to /etc/sshd_config
The sftp client I like best is Filezilla.


After you establish a ssh or sftp connection into the Windows box,
changing directory is painful, for example, to change to "my documents", type
cd    "/cygdrive/c/documents and settings/$USERNAME/my documents"

Similarly, to change directory to d: drive
cd    /cygdrive/d

To reduce pain, use a graphical sftp client such as Filezilla.


Where can you find a ssh or sftp client ?
(1) Putty has psftp.exe, it runs from a command console.
(2) Commercial software vendors such as VanDyke Software.
(3) Filezilla, a free, GNU (GPL) licensed, ftp and sftp client.


If you prefer to use a graphical client to do sftp file transfers,
purchase a high quality commercial software called SecureFX
from VanDyke Software in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
or use Filezilla, a free, GNU (GPL) licensed, ftp and sftp client,
or use WinSCP, a free, GNU (GPL) licensed sftp and scp client.
Also, ftp.ssh.com in their /pub/ssh directory, there is a Windows version of ssh and sftp client for non-commercial use,
thanks to Stephan of Rutgers State University of New Jersey g for the link.



Other very, very useful things you can do with ssh is to tunnel (wrap) many pure tcp applications under the
ssh protocol, giving them a strong cryptographic protection while traveling over the insecure public network.

openSSH [which uses openssl] has strong encryption capability.
The encryption used by openSSH can be either AES-128, AES-192, AES-256, 3DES, Blowfish, cast-128, arcfour (RC4)
The default encryption algorithm (cipher) is AES-128-CBC.
You can force a particular encryption algorithm preference (cipher) by adding a line such as
Ciphers   blowfish-cbc,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc
  to /etc/sshd_config (Blowfish runs faster than AES-128)

g

Below are some popular plain-text TCP protocols that are unfortunately still in common use today.
Fortunately these protocols can benefit from the protection of a ssh tunnel:
POP3
(tcp port 110) 
IMAP (tcp port 143) 
SMTP (tcp port 25) 
TELNET (tcp port 21) 
VNC (tcp port 5900)
Print server traffic (tcp port 9100)

Note:
The world is moving away (rather slowly) from plain text protocols by hardening them with TLS or SSL:
newer versions of POP3 servers have TLS support at port 110; and SSL support at port 995
newer versions of IMAP servers have TLS support at port 143; and SSL support at port 993
newer versions of SMTP servers have TLS support at port 25
a version of "smtps" uses port 465 with SLL support, now it becomes legacy
newer versions of telnet servers have SSL support at port 992

See this page on how to tunnel VNC traffic under ssh.
See this page on how to tunnel TCP applications under ssh.

Sometimes, there are applications such as mid-night back-up of files to a remote Linux server using "rsync encrypted with ssh", 
you want to be able to ssh from one machine to another machine without a person sitting at the console to type a password.
See this page on how to ssh from one machine into another machine without typing a password, i.e,
how to use public key authentication.


public-key-authentication


How to install a ssh client (called ssh)
Click here for a tutorial on how to setup a ssh client on Windows 2000 or Windows XP g

How to install a smtp server [exim] on a Windows machine
Click here for a tutorial on how to setup exim, a mail transfer agent
on Windows 2000 or Windows XP g as a learning exercise

Note 5: if you run ssh-host-config when sshd is installed, ssh-host-config will not ask for the CYGWIN value.
In that case,  stop and remove the sshd service, then run the ssh-host-config script again, see below.

cygrunsrv  --stop  sshd
cygrunsrv  --remove sshd
ssh-host-config
cygrunsrv  --start sshd


Reference: http://cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/

Thanks to Mike Skallas for his tips on "privilege separation" during the setup script.
Thanks to Jan Haul of Hamburg, Germany g for his WinSCP link.
Thanks to Brad Erdman, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, USA g
for his confirmation of cygwin-sshd working on Windows Server 2003
Thanks to Richard Goodman of UK g for his tips on the order of CYGWIN variable.
You can also use sshwindows from Sourceforge to install ssh and sshd on Windows without the full cygwin package.
http://www.lns.cornell.edu/public/COMP/cygwin/cyg_inst_net.html is the link to install Cygwin with Xfree86. Thanks to Richard Ward for this link.

Disclaimer

© 2003-2006 Nicholas Fong

HTML Editor used to generate this page is Nvu.

Document made with Nvu

Last revised:  August 31, 2006

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