PuTTY Configuration Tips and Tricks

If you use PuTTY a lot for your classes, you'll want to adjust your settings to best match the way you work. You can set options from fonts and colors to authentication to your default username in order to get working more quickly and comfortably. If you're using SSH keys for authentication and need to connect to GitLab, saved settings will save you a lot of repetition and frustration.

Here are a few settings that you might want to adjust, along with a trick for using your saved settings on any HFC lab computer.

Connection Keepalive

Keepalive packets will make sure your connection to the server stays active while your working on other tasks. It may also help keep your HFC wireless connection from timing out if you're working on campus from your laptop.

PuTTY Connection Settings

You can add an auto-login username in the Connection / Data settings. This makes logging in quite quick, especially when using keys, because you just type the hostname or double-click a saved session and go.

PuTTY Connection Data Settings

When using keys to connect to additional servers, including GitLab, you'll need to make sure you allow Agent Forwarding through PuTTY.

PuTTY Connection SSH Auth Settings

Once you've adjusted all of your settings, go back up to the main Session screen at the top. To save defaults, click once on Default Settings in the list, then clock Save to write the new defaults. If you want to save additional settings, try filling in the host name, then add a saved session with a matching name. In the future, you can just double-click on the session you want to open and it will connect to that host automatically.

PuTTY Session Save

This works great if you're on your own computer, but what about shared systems? PuTTY settings are shared in HKEY_CURRENT_USER in the registry, so you can export these to a file for use elsewhere. To export, run RegEdit.exe and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY. Right click on the PuTTY entry in the tree and select Export.

RegEdit Export

Save this file to your thumb drive or H: drive. In the future, you can reload these settings by double-clicking the saved registry file before launching PuTTY.