Every now and then, we may want to connect to a Windows host via ssh. Maybe it’s due to the frustration on connecting a Windows host via Remote Desktop Connection over a slow network.

Below is a way to ssh (not really, actually) to a Windows host.

Step 0, install a Linux virtual machine in the Windows host

I use Oracle Virtual Box, and install a Ubuntu guest.

Step 1, share folders between the Windows host and the guest

Share the working folders between the Windows and the Ubuntu, so that these folders are accessible within the guest. Just google “virtualbox share folder”.

NAT

Step 2, configure the guest’s network settings

Choose NAT as the adapter type.

NAT

In the “Advanced” settings, add a port forwarding rule. Choose an available port in the Windows host for “Host Port”. Set “Guest Port” to 22, which is the default port sshd listening on in the Ubuntu guest.

port forwarding

To find an available port in the Windows host, run netsh firewall show state in the cmd.exe. In my corporate network, for example, port 443 is allowed.

Step 3, make a connection

Open a ssh client in another machine, type the IP (or host name) of the Windows host as the hostname, use the “Host Port” as the port, 443 in my case, for the ssh connection.

When connected, change the directory to one of the shared folders set up in step 1, then do the work.

Other ways

One way is to set the adapter as “Bridged Adapter” for the Ubuntu guest, so that the guest get an IP from the corporate network. Configure the port of sshd to a port the corporate network allows to connect from outside. One inconvenience is that sometimes the corporate network may assign a new IP for the guest after reboot.

Another way is to install the OpenSSH Server directly in the Windows host.