Frequently Asked Question

How to connect to a Virtual Machine on Windows with PuTTY?
Last Updated 3 years ago

1. Introduction

This guide how to connect to a virtual machine from a Windows system using "PuTTY".

PuTTY is an open-source SSH and Telnet client for Windows that allows connections to remote servers from a Windows computer.

This guide will first cover connecting to a virtual machine with an associated "Public IP" address, then access to a virtual machine via "Remote Desktop" by setting up an "SSH Tunnel" will be possible.

2. Setup PuTTY

If you don't have PuTTY installed, visit the PuTTY website and download the Windows installer. After installation, start the program.

  • Fill in the field labeled "Host Name (or IP address)" with your virtual machine's public IP address.image

You can find the virtual machine's "Public IP (Floating IP)" in the OpenStack dashboard.

  • Click on "SSH" in the left sidebar and make sure that "2" is selected for the "SSH protocol version"

2.1. SSH Keys

Next you have to add your "SSH Private Key". Refer to the following guide on How to create SSH keys

  • Click on the small "+" button next to the "SSH" menu item in the sidebar.
  • Select "Auth" and press the "Browse" button placed next to the input field labeled "Private key file for authentication"
  • Browse to the directory you saved the private SSH Key. (The file extension is ".ppk")
  • Next navigate to "Data" located under "Connection" menu item in the left sidebar.
  • In the input field labeled "Auto-login username" add the system's username.

The username depends on the operating system of your Virtual Machine. For Ubuntu use "ubuntu", for CentOS the username is "centos"

2.2. Connect to the Server

Now you can save the configuration.

  • Click on "Sessions" located at the top of the left sidebar.
  • Enter a session name (e.g. "eodc") in the input field labeled "Saved Session".
  • Press the "Save" button.

PuTTY will ask you to confirm to trust the server. Click on "Yes" to save the server identity.


  • Enter the "Passphrase" you set when generating your SSH keys. Press Enter.

You now successfully connected to your Virtual Machine!

3. Connect via Remote Desktop

The term "Remote Desktop" refers to a software or operating system feature that allows a desktop environment to be run remotely on one system, while being displayed on a separate client device. (e.g. your personal computer) Make sure to follow the previous setup before continuing!

3.1. Setup an SSH Tunnel

  • Open PuTTY
  • Navigate to "Tunnels"
  • In the "Source port" input field type in "9999".
  • In the "Destination" field add the "Private IP" of the Virtual Machine you want to access.
  • Append ":3389" to the IP address (e.g.
  • Press the "Add" button.
  • Finally head back to "Sessions", select your saved session (e.g. "eodc") and click "Save"

3.2. Establish the SSH tunnel

  • Open PuTTY
  • Select your saved session from "Saved Sessions" (e.g. "eodc").
  • Click "Load".
  • Press the "Open" button.
  • A terminal will open, asking for your username and password.

If you have not received your username and password please contact

  • The SSH Tunnel is now enabled, and will be open until this window is closed.

It is important to keep this window open during the time you work on the VM, otherwise the connection will be terminated.

3.2. Remote Desktop Client

You will need a "Remote Desktop Client" installed to access your virtual machine's desktop. We suggest using the built in "Windows Remote Desktop Client".

  • Open up the Windows Start Menu
  • Type in "Remote Desktop Connection" and press "Enter"

  • In the field "Computer" type "localhost:9999"
  • Click "Connect"

  • The remote desktop will appear in a new window.
  • Insert your username and password as provided by EODC.

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