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How To Install SCP and SSH On Windows 7 Using Cygwin

I use Cygwin on Windows to make my Windows only computers as comfortable as possible to me. This comfort is provided by the Linux command line utilities that allow me to work. Cygwin provides a way for me to run these utilities from a Windows 7 command prompt. Two utilities that are really useful that are not installed with Cygwin by default are SCP (Secure Copy) and SSH (Secure Shell). Both of these utilities allow secure communication with remote computers. Below I describe adding them to an existing Cygwin Windows 7 installation.

Use Cygwin To Install SCP & SSH On Windows 7:

  1. Launch Cygwin Setup: Whenever you add new packages to Cygwin you simply launch the setup.exe file again as if installing from scratch. The Cygwin setup can be downloaded by clicking here. Once you have the setup.exe click on it to launch Cygwin on Windows 7 as displayed below.

    Windows 7 Cygwin Setup

  2. Continue Cygwin Setup: Follow the Cygwin prompts all the way to package selection. This article assumes that Cygwin is already installed so you should know all of the necessary configuration items including preferred download source, root install directory (example displayed in below image), local package directory, Internet connection, and a download site.

    Cygwin Setup: Choose Installation Directory

    Again make sure that you use the same configuration options as when you first installed Cygwin so there is not any confusion for which applications are the correct ones. The most important configuration option, which is installation directory, is displayed in the above image. Once you have clicked the Next button and made all of the correct configuration changes you will see the download of the packages list from your preferred download source which in my case was ftp.gtlib.gatech.edu. You can see an example of the packages download below.

    Cygwin Setup: Packages Download

  3. Cygwin Package Selection: There are tons of awesome packages that can be installed on Windows 7 however in this example we simply ant the SCP and SSH commands to be available so we will need to install the openssh package. After the packages have been downloaded in step two you will see a list of available package categories by default. Type “openssh” into the Search field which will limit the categories listed below to only the Net category. Click the + sign to the right of the Net category to display the available packages that match openssh. There currently is only one package on Cygwin that matches openssh, currently version 5.3p1.1, as displayed in the below image.

    Cygwin Setup: OpenSSH Package

    Once the openssh package is displayed underneath the Cygwin Net category you need to click the Skip text underneath the “New” column until it shows an X in the “Bin?” column. This is telling Cygwin to add this package to the list of installed packages. You do not need the source unless you plan to custom modify the application. The openssh package is the one that includes the Linux CLI applications SSH and SCP. SSH allows you to securely connect to remote devices and SCP allows you to securely copy files to remote devices. The types of devices includes computers, servers, routers, switches, etc.

  4. Install SSH & SCP On Windows 7: Now that the package has been selected you can continue by clicing the Next button which will begin installing the openssh package as displayed below.

    Cygwin OpenSSH Package Installation Progress

  5. Verify Installation: After the package is installed click the Finish button on the final Cygwin screen. You should now test SSH and SCP to make sure they are working properly. If the Cygwin bin directory has been added to your PATH then you can simply open up a Console or Command Prompt window and type ssh or scp as displayed in the below image. If the Cygwin bin directory is not in your PATH then navigate to the Cygwin bin directory and issue the same commands.

    Windows 7: SSH & SCP CLI Commands

You now have SCP and SSH on your Windows 7 computer! So far I have been really impressed with Windows 7 and being able to make it as close as possible to Linux while still getting the benefits of Adobe products and Microsoft Office products has been awesome.

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