Manually generating your SSH key in Windows

Modified: 22 Jan 2018 15:36 UTC

On Windows, you can create SSH keys in many ways. Windows requires an SSH client, but doesn’t have a default SSH client on their operating system. Note that Windows is currently testing a native OpenSSH application, but for your protection, we don’t advocate using beta applications in production environments.

This document explains how to use two SSH applications, PuTTY and Git Bash.

PuTTY

PuTTY is an SSH client for Windows. You can use PuTTY to generate SSH keys. PuTTY is a free open-source terminal emulator that functions much like the Terminal application in macOS in a Windows environment. This section shows you how to manually generate and upload an SSH key when working with PuTTY in the Windows environment.

About PuTTY

PuTTY is an SSH client for Windows that you will use to generate your SSH keys. You can download PuTTY from www.chiark.greenend.org.uk.

When you install the PuTTY client, you also install the PuTTYgen utility. PuTTYgen is what you will use to generate your SSH key for a Windows VM.

This page gives you basic information about using PuTTY and PuTTYgen to log in to your provisioned machine. For more information on PuTTY, see the PuTTY documentation

Generating an SSH key

To generate an SSH key with PuTTYgen, follow these steps:

  1. Open the PuTTYgen program.
  2. For Type of key to generate, select SSH-2 RSA.
  3. Click the Generate button.
  4. Move your mouse in the area below the progress bar. When the progress bar is full, PuTTYgen generates your key pair.
  5. Type a passphrase in the Key passphrase field. Type the same passphrase in the Confirm passphrase field. You can use a key without a passphrase, but this is not recommended.
  6. Click the Save private key button to save the private key. Warning! You must save the private key. You will need it to connect to your machine.
  7. Right-click in the text field labeled Public key for pasting into OpenSSH authorized_keys file and choose Select All.
  8. Right-click again in the same text field and choose Copy.
PuTTY key generator

Importing your SSH key

Now you must import the copied SSH key to the portal.

  1. After you copy the SSH key to the clipboard, return to your account page.
  2. Choose to Import Public Key and paste your SSH key into the Public Key field.
  3. In the Key Name field, provide a name for the key. Note: although providing a key name is optional, it is a best practice for ease of managing multiple SSH keys.
  4. Add the key. It will now appear in your table of keys under SSH.
The SSH Keys table

Warning! PuTTY and OpenSSH use different formats of public SSH keys. If the text you pasted in the SSH Key starts with —— BEGIN SSH2 PUBLIC KEY, it is in the wrong format. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Your key should start with ssh-rsa AAAA….

Once you upload your SSH key to the portal, you can connect to your virtual machine from Windows through a PuTTY session.

Git Bash

The Git installation package comes with SSH. Using Git Bash, which is the Git command line tool, you can generate SSH key pairs. Git Bash has an SSH client that enables you to connect to and interact with Triton containers on Windows.

To install Git:

  1. (Download and initiate the Git installer](https://git-scm.com/download/win).
  2. When prompted, accept the default components by clicking Next.
  3. Choose the default text editor. If you have Notepad++ installed, select Notepad++ and click Next.
  4. Select to Use Git from the Windows Command Prompt and click Next.
  5. Select to Use OpenSSL library and click Next.
  6. Select to Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings and click Next.
  7. Select to Use MinTTY (The default terminal of mYSYS2) and click Next.
  8. Accept the default extra option configuration by clicking Install.

    When the installation completes, you may need to restart Windows.

Launching GitBash

To open Git Bash, we recommend launching the application from the Windows command prompt:

  1. In Windows, press Start+R to launch the Run dialog.
  2. Type C:\Program Files\Git\bin\bash.exe and press Enter.

Generating SSH keys

First, create the SSH directory and then generate the SSH key pair.

One assumption is that the Windows profile you are using is set up with administrative privilages. Given this, you will be creating the SSH directory at the root of your profile, for example C:\Users\joetest\.

  1. At the Git Bash command line, change into your root directory and type.
mkdir .ssh
  1. Change into the .ssh directory C:\Users\joetest\.ssh

  2. To create the keys, type:
ssh-keygen.exe
  1. When prompted for a password, type apassword to complete the process. When finished, the output looks similar to:
Ssh-keygen.exe
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/c/Users/joetest/.ssh/id_rsa): /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
Your public key has been saved in /c/Users/joetest/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:jieniOIn20935n0awtn04n002HqEIOnTIOnevHzaI5nak joetest@periwinkle
The key's randomart image is:

 +---[RSA 2048]----+
 |*= =+.           |
 |O*=.B            |
 |+*o* +           |
 |o +o.  .         |
 | ooo  + S        |
 | .o.ooo* o       |
 |  .+o+*oo .      |
 |   .=+..         |
 |   Eo            |
 +----[SHA256]-----+

$ dir .ssh
id_rsa  id_rsa.pub   

Uploading an SSH key

To upload the public SSH key to your Triton account:

  1. Open Triton Service portal, select Account to open the Account Summary page.
  2. From the SSH section, select Import Public Key.
  3. Enter a Key Name. Although naming a key is optional, labels are a best practice for managing multiple SSH keys.
  4. Add your public SSH key.

When Triton finishes the adding or uploading process, the public SSH key appears in the list of SSH keys.

What are my next steps?