Is there a way to remote control a Windows machine as easy as I do with my other Linux pcs through SSH?

I'm currently using a FTP server for files but I prefer the way I can manage my other linux boxes. I'd like it to be textual just like ssh, is there anything like that? I mean running programs, rebooting/turning off, copying/editing files ect...

I read about Cygwin, does it do what I need?

I did not specified it before, it should be free

  • From what do you want to manage it? From other Windows machines, or from a mixed platform? RDP with TLS is the obvious Windows-only answer, or for pure remote text commands winrm/winrs if you use Vista/Server 2008 or later. – Oskar Duveborn May 5 '09 at 17:29
  • I'd like to use windows machines from both windows and linux boxes. Mostly my linux desktop but I'd like to be able to do it from any pc we have at home. Ssh would be the top as I could even use it from my mobile :P – Andrea Ambu May 5 '09 at 18:39

Ignoring your "I'd like it to be textual" comment for a moment, the obvious answer is remote desktop. Now, not ignoring that answer, we've had good success with PSExec from sysinternals (now part of microsoft). It allows you to exec a command on the remote box. Remember though, many things you're going to want to do expect to have a graphical shell. Also, the newer versions of Windows and some apps (Exchange, IIS, VMWare) support powershell and you have some remote execution options there too.

  • Also ignoring the "I'd like it to be textual" there is teamviewer (teamviewer.com/index.aspx) which allows you to remotely control the computer, has ftp built into it, and is free for private use. – Brandon Haugen May 5 '09 at 15:25

Windows has telnet (can be enabled using services.msc) but this is insecure.

An SSH server can be obtained from http://sshwindows.sourceforge.net/

  • Telnet = bad idea. – Daniel A. White May 5 '09 at 13:16
  • Yes, hence I said it's insecure. It is however still useful on some occasions e.g. if its for temporary access on a local only virtual machine or something. – Adam Gibbins May 5 '09 at 13:33
  • 1
    Just to note that sshwindows is a minimal-install of the cygwin sshd service, so if you already have cygwin on the computer you are probably better off installing via cygwin. – Evan May 5 '09 at 14:06

I've had good experience with freeSSHd.


  • This is the best one! They also have freeFTPd, which is REALLY useful because its a single channel secure file transfer solution on port 22 (freesshd.com ). FTPS (and ftp) is dual channel. – djangofan Aug 6 '09 at 23:18

You can install the SSH server on Windows using Cygwin. From there, you can use the command-line net commands to do lots of cool remote and automated tasks.

  • This is what I use and it works perfectly. If you're used to Linux commands, then using OpenSSH via Cygwin has the advantage of giving you access to most of the *nix commands and utilities you're already familiar with. – Charles Roper May 5 '09 at 16:57
  • Except that when you login with Cygwin SSH and a certificate, you only impersonate the account you are logging in as, which is not enough to use commands such as iisadmin, and so is useless for deployment. There are quite a few complexities surrounding the use of Cygwin as an SSH server; now I just use it as a client-only application. – user1804 May 8 '09 at 15:24
  • if you're already administrating linux machines, setting cygwin up properly would be the best way to go... gives u ssh, bash, all the binaries that you can do unixy type stuff, and, if ur on the windows box, the ability to use xwindows apps from ur linux boxes. – Roy Rico May 27 '09 at 17:54

There is whats called WinSSHD. http://www.bitvise.com/

Here is the pricing on it. http://www.bitvise.com/winsshd-pricing

There is a free personal edition.

  • We use this on our new webserver and they seem to support it like nothing else. Plus, its a breeze to configure. – Daniel A. White May 5 '09 at 13:07

PSexec, as mentioned above, is going to take care of just about everything you need, though you're going to have to learn a host of other commands (iisreset, etc) to complement it, depending on exactly what you're managing.

I'd also like to throw in that PowerShell seems to have been designed for this purpose, if you're looking toward a 2008 / Windows 7 environment.


If you're used to Linux, then definitely look into using OpenSSH on Cygwin (another guide here). However, if you do use one of the other Windows-native SSH server options, you may like to beef-up your command-line experience with the following:

  • GnuWin32 provides ports of tools with a GNU or similar open source license, to MS-Windows (Microsoft Windows 95 / 98 / ME / NT / 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / 2008)

  • Take Command Console LE: like cmd.exe on crack. Well worth checking out, even if you're not remoting in. It feels quite similar to cmd.exe, but with a huge (and I mean huge) amount of extra functionality in there, so it's not as big a change as switching to...

  • PowerShell: Microsoft's own advanced command line shell and scripting language.


While not "textual" VNC is great. It can run as client or server on both windows and linux. I use the Ultravnc version.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.