Configure SSH server on Windows


NOTE: Windows 10 ≥ 1809 has OpenSSH built-in so Cygwin isn’t necessary for Windows SSH servers any more.

The robust OpenSSH server on Cygwin allows SSHing into a Windows PC for secure port forwarding Windows RDP. Use Public Key Authentication – it’s far stronger than any human usable keyboard password.


  1. Cygwin SSH server prereq: from Windows Command Prompt:

    setup-x86_64 -P openssh
    1. Cygwin SSH server setup: start Cygwin64 using “Run as Administrator” and type
    • Privilege separation: yes
    • strict modes: yes
    • sshd as service: yes
    • value of CYGWIN for daemon: (just press Enter key, don’t type anything)
    • use a different name: no


The Cygwin SSH server starts itself on reboot of Windows, but if you need to start it manually (e.g. for the first time upon installing)

cygrunsrv -S sshd


  • login to your Windows Cygwin SSH server from another PC.
  • Under services.msc you should see the Status “started” for service “CYGWIN sshd”, and under the General tab the “path to executable” should be something like c:\cygwin64\bin\cygrunsrv.exe


Cygwin SSH server config is in /etc/sshd_config. To make changes take effect, type

cygrunsrv -E sshd
cygrunsrv -S sshd


If you get

system error 1069 has occurred. The service did not start due to a logon failure

check the password on your “privileged server” cyg_server – maybe you typed it wrong.