OpenSSH server with public key authentication. Tested on Windows 10 only.


Make sure your user has administrative privileges.

Install Cygwin package openssh. Open a Cygwin terminal with administrative rights.

Configure host

Run the interactive program ssh-host-config and answer as follows:

  • Should StrictModes be used: yes
  • Do you want to install sshd as a service?: yes
  • Enter the value of CYGWIN for the daemon: (leave empty, just press enter)

Edit/uncomment /etc/sshd_config as below. Your needs may vary here, read man sshd_config:

Port <A port other than 22!>
HostKey /etc/ssh_host_ed25519_key
PermitRootLogin no
PubkeyAuthentication yes
AuthorizedKeysFile  .ssh/authorized_keys
PasswordAuthentication no
PermitEmptyPasswords no
StrictMode yes
#UsePrivilegeSeparation yes # deprecated in recent versions of OpenSSH


Your security needs may vary.

Open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Click on menu Action and then New Rule… to open the New Inbound Rule Wizard.

Select type Program and click Next.

Select This program path: and enter the location of the sshd executable, usually is %SystemDrive%\<name of cygwin root dir>\usr\sbin\sshd.exe. Click Next.

Select Allow the connection and click Next.

Select the domains applicable to your network connection (at least one). Click Next. Make sure that your network connection actually has the proper network location category.

Enter a name and description of the inbound rule. Click Next.

Double click on the newly created rule. Go to tab Advanced and click on Customize. Make sure the relevant network interfaces are selected. Click OK.

Go to tab Protocols and ports. Select TCP as Protocol type and Specific Ports on Local port. Enter the port configured in /etc/sshd_config. Select All Ports on Remote port.

(Optional) Go to tab Scope and in section Remote IP address select These IP addresses and click on button Add. Enter IP addresses, subnets or ranges as needed.

(Optional) Go to tab Local Principals and in section Authorized users check the box Only allow connections from these users. Add the account that starts the sshd service configured in the previous section.


Start the service sshd or restart the computer. Set up your public key authentication and login from the remote computer.



By default, sshd logs to the windows event system at Windows Logs/Application with source = sshd.

Public key authentication in Windows 10

Using public key authentication in Windows requires having a separate user account. It appears that some Windows systems can disable this feature completely.

I’ve seen an instance of a system where the server won’t allow public key authentication failing with error sshd: PID XXXX: fatal: seteuid YYYYYYY: No such device or address.


To uninstall open Services and stop the sshd service. Then open a cmd command prompt with administrator privileges and run below command to delete the service.

C:\Windows\system32> sc delete sshd

Refresh the list back at Services by pressing F5 and verify that the service is not there anymore.

Remove the account cyg_server inluding its files, by opening Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\User Accounts\Manage Accounts.

Remove the inbound rule in Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

Delete the SSH server configuration files from directory /etc.