Tools That Enhance PuTTY Experience

PuTTY is a very popular tool on Windows for connecting to remote server using SSH. As I used it a lot recently, I tried several tools that enhance the user experience. You may be interested in them too.

Desert Color Theme to Better Highlight Information

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My experience with PuTTY has been pretty good except that the default color scheme does not highlight key information well, for example, the dark blue color for directory names on black background makes it hard for my eyes.

Luckily, there are alternative color schemes as shown in this blog article. You can also check out the samples using the two color schemes. Of the two color schemes, I like the Desert theme better than the Lighter default theme. You can download the *.reg files which are Windows registry files that can be installed upon double clicking.

I was concerned about the security aspect of change, but it seems low risk as it does not change any existing registry entries but add its own in one group. If not happy with it, I can always remove it easily from registry with the following path:


MTPuTTY to Group Multiple PuTTY Windows

Another issue to use PuTTY is that although I can open as many PuTTY windows as I want, it quickly becomes hard to manage them. If you think the PuTTY as an RDP Client, we need something similar to the Remote Desktop Manager. In other words, we need a tool to manage the PuTTY windows in one big application.

Luckily the tool is there already. It’s called MTPuTTY or Multi-Tab PuTTY. It does not replace PuTTY but requires PuTTY installed first. Once MTPuTTY is started, it asks for the location of PuTTY. Once it runs, you can maintain a list of PuTTY target on the left side pane. You can also save your user name and password so that you can get to the system in one click. More than what you ask for is that you can detach a PuTTY session from a tab, which can be very helpful is you want to compare two sessions at the same time.

PSCP to Transfer Files

When you use SSH for remote console, you would most likely need to pass files to or from the remote system. You can of course use WinSCP on Windows, which is a very nice application. I used it to manage the vijava project home. I like very much the in place editing feature that I just edit the remote file as locally.

Anyway, if you want to stick with Putty, you have a good choice too. It’s called PSCP which can be downloaded here. The basic syntax is no difference from typical SCP on Linux. Here is a sample command:

C:\Program Files (x86)\MTPuTTY>pscp.exe c:\temp\ root@

Last but not the least note is that you may want to copy all the PuTTY.exe and pscp.exe to the default installed directory of MTPuTTY as shown above, simply for better organization.

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One Comment

  1. Jeff Fretman
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your blog.
    Fyi you can avoid the dark blue on black legibilty problem by using dir instead of ls.
    The dir command is a black and white ls.
    Regards from Lyon, France

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