Use PuTTY to Connect to Remote Computers


PuTTY, Windows


Windows users can use PuTTY to connect to remote computers. 


Use PuTTY to connect to a remote host (computer) running an SSH server; most often that is a Linux machine, such as one of the ARC computing clusters or to the ITS Login machines.  PuTTY runs only Windows computers.

There are four steps needed to successfully use PuTTY: 

  1. Download and install PuTTY
  2. Configure PuTTY
  3. Connect to the remote host
  4. Disconnect from the remote host.  Each step has a section below devoted to it.
IMPORTANT! PuTTY allows you to run programs on a remote computer. If you want to transfer files instead, use WinSCP. See Using WinSCP to Transfer Files With SCP/SFTP [Windows]) for details.

Download and Install PuTTY

See instructions at

Connecting to a remote host

You connect to a remote host in one of two ways.

  1. Highlight the session name by clicking on it once; click on the Open button on the bottom of the configuration window
  2. Double-click on the session name

The first time you connect to a remote host on each computer, you are likely to get a screen that looks similar to the one below. Preconfigured sessions may not display this, as the fingerprint is included in the configuration.

PuTTY Security Alert with four clickable buttons at the bottom: Yes, No, Cancel, and Help

You can click on the Yes button. However, if it comes up a second time for a host you have already connected to, you should ask the host's administrators if the SSH host key changed.

Note: This should not come up when connecting to the "ITS Login" remote hosts.

Once the server's key has been verified, the terminal window will open, and you will be prompted to enter your login name.

  • This will be your uniqname on most U-M hosts, but it might be something different if you connect to a non-U-M host
  • After entering your uniqname and pressing Return, you will be prompted to enter your password
  • Finally, some systems may also prompt you authenticate via Duo or other Two-Factor authentication

Terminal window example

Disconnecting from a remote host

Log out or exit from the remote server to which you connected. You can usually do this by typing exit or logout then pressing the Enter (or Return)key. You should always exit or logout before closing the window on your session, as that signals the remote computer to stop programs and write your command history. When the session on the remote host is terminated, the PuTTY window will close.

Additional Information

The PuTTY documentation page for PuTTY version 0.76

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.


Article ID: 7293
Thu 3/3/22 11:04 AM
Tue 5/2/23 4:16 PM

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