How to Access a Remote Linux Machine From Windows


Accessing a remote Linux machine from a Windows computer can be a useful skill for managing servers, working on remote projects, or providing technical support. One of the most common methods to achieve this is through a protocol called Secure Shell (SSH). In this guide, we will explain how to access a remote Linux machine from a Windows computer using SSH and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).


  • A remote Linux machine with an active internet connection and SSH server installed.
  • A Windows machine with an internet connection.
  • Administrative rights on the Windows machine to install software.

Using WSL

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a compatibility layer developed by Microsoft that allows users to run Linux distributions natively on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. WSL enables users to run Linux command-line tools, utilities, and applications directly on Windows without needing to set up a traditional virtual machine or dual-boot into another operating system.

With WSL, developers can benefit from the flexibility of using Linux tools and utilities alongside Windows applications. This simplifies tasks such as cross-platform development, scripting, and system administration for users who work with both Windows and Linux environments.

Step 1: Open PowerShell

Open PowerShell by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start menu. Then, type powershell and click Run as Administrator.

Step 2: Install WSL

To install WSL, run:

wsl –install

Step 3: Restart Computer

Restart your computer when prompted.

Step 4: Install Linux Distro

After restarting, you can install your desired Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store.

Step 5: Gather Connection Information

To access the remote Linux machine, you will need the following information: 1. IP address or domain name of the remote Linux machine. 2. SSH port (default is 22). 3. Username and password or key pair for authentication.

Step 6: Connect to Remote Linux Machine

Open the WSL terminal by searching for your installed Linux distribution in the Start menu. Enter the following command:

ssh username@ip_address -p port_number

Replace username, ip_address, and port_number with the appropriate values. When prompted, enter your password or provide your key pair for authentication. You should now be connected to the remote Linux machine.

Using PuTTY

PuTTY is a popular, open-source terminal emulator and network file transfer application for Windows and Unix platforms. It supports several network protocols, including SSH (Secure Shell), Telnet, SCP (Secure Copy Protocol), and Rlogin. PuTTY was originally developed by Simon Tatham in 1999 and has since been maintained by a group of volunteers.

Primarily used to establish secure remote connections to Unix and Linux systems from Windows machines, PuTTY allows users to access the command line, manage servers, transfer files, and perform other remote tasks. PuTTY’s user-friendly interface and extensive feature set have made it one of the most widely used SSH clients for Windows.

Step 1: Download PuTTY

Download PuTTY from the official website:

Step 2: Install PuTTY

Run the downloaded executable and follow the installation prompts.

Step 3: Gather Connection Information

To access the remote Linux machine, you will need the following information: 1. IP address or domain name of the remote Linux machine. 2. SSH port (default is 22). 3. Username and password or key pair for authentication.

Step 4: Connect to Remote Linux Machine

Open PuTTY and enter the IP address or domain name of the remote Linux machine in the Host Name (or IP address) field. Enter the SSH port number in the Port field. Click Open to initiate the connection. When prompted, enter your username and password or provide your key pair for authentication. You should now be connected to the remote Linux machine.


By following this guide, you should now be able to access a remote Linux machine from your Windows computer using either WSL or PuTTY. Once connected, you can manage the remote system, edit files, or run commands as if you were physically present at the Linux machine. This can be especially useful for remote server management, collaborative projects, or troubleshooting issues on remote systems.

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