I have a situation where I need to have PuTTY (or another SSH client for Windows) automatically log into another machine via SSH. I realize that this isn't a good idea security-wise, but unfortunately I'm constrained by the limitations both on the client and the server.

The best solution would be to have a shortcut or script on the desktop that, when double clicked, will connect to the server and automatically log in. Can I do this with PuTTY?

I am willing to explore public key authentication, but I'm not sure where the PuTTY key resides or how to copy it to the server, as the app starts automatically upon login.

3 Answers 3


You will do:

putty user@host -pw password

Notice that using public-key authentication is safer and preferred.

  • I can't seem to get it to work - I get back unknown option "pw:<password>" May 11, 2009 at 20:48
  • Corrected syntax. The password option is -pw and not -pw:
    – user1797
    May 11, 2009 at 20:54
  • Excellent, that works! May 11, 2009 at 20:57

You should use SSH keys instead. You can have those passwordless too. Its not a good idea either, but it's a lot better than saving passwords in scripts.

You generate a key with putty-gen, and save it where ever you like. Then you create a profile in putty.exe and attach that key to it.

When you want to start with that profile:

putty.exe -load <profilename>
  • You have the general idea, but your instructions are incorrect. You might want to consider revising it to fully explain public-key authentication creation and use with putty, or link to a site that has all the details, like I did.
    – user1797
    May 11, 2009 at 20:58
  • I've gone with a hybrid of both your answers - loading a profile with the window settings and using -pw to specify a password. Unfortunately, I can only award one accepted answer, but I still voted yours up. May 11, 2009 at 21:10
  • @David: You're probably right. On the other hand, I pointed him in the correct direction. You just pointed the mans gun on his foot :( I don't think that "wrong" questions need to be answered to the letter. May 11, 2009 at 21:11
  • @Keen, I answered to what he asked. It is not the preferred way (and I said so), but putty's author thought of it to be handy enough, so he coded it in putty.
    – user1797
    May 11, 2009 at 21:21
  • I think it's a bit harsh to characterize hard-coding passwords into script/shortcuts as pointing a gun at my foot - there are definitely legitimate reasons for doing this, and my situation counts as one. May 11, 2009 at 21:35

abandon putty if you need to store passwords such as remote ssh access to management consoles where you can't drop keys into the firmware image etc. i can think of 4 scenarios where you can't use keys and putty gets in your way and slows you down.

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