Get Putty

Putty is a free (MIT-licensed) Win32 Telnet and SSH client. You need it if you want to use a terminal on Windows, I mean a real terminal, MS/DOS is not decent.

Check also PuttyTray, it adds nice features like Always on Top and Window transparency

Regedit

For the impatient: copy the following content in a .reg file. To import it in regedit, right click on it and choose merge on the contextual menu.

It will overwrite the Default Settings configuration, details are in Configuration summary.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; Colors are from eighties theme of
; https://github.com/benjojo/base-16-putty

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\Sessions\Default%20Settings]
"FullScreenOnAltEnter"=dword:00000001
"Font"="Consolas"
"FontIsBold"=dword:00000000
"FontCharSet"=dword:00000000
"FontHeight"=dword:0000000c
"FontQuality"=dword:00000003
"FontVTMode"=dword:00000004
"UseSystemColours"=dword:00000000
"TryPalette"=dword:00000000
"ANSIColour"=dword:00000001
"Xterm256Colour"=dword:00000001
"BoldAsColour"=dword:00000000
"Colour0"="160,159,147"
"Colour1"="211,208,200"
"Colour2"="45,45,45"
"Colour3"="57,57,57"
"Colour4"="45,45,45"
"Colour5"="232,230,223"
"Colour6"="45,45,45"
"Colour7"="116,115,105"
"Colour8"="242,119,122"
"Colour9"="249,145,87"
"Colour10"="153,204,153"
"Colour11"="57,57,57"
"Colour12"="255,204,102"
"Colour13"="81,81,81"
"Colour14"="102,153,204"
"Colour15"="160,159,147"
"Colour16"="204,153,204"
"Colour17"="232,230,223"
"Colour18"="102,204,204"
"Colour19"="210,123,83"
"Colour20"="211,208,200"
"Colour21"="242,240,236"
"LineCodePage"="UTF-8"
"UTF8Override"=dword:00000001
"X11Forward"=dword:00000001

Configuration summary

Window

Appearance

Use a monospaced font, for instance Consolas with 12 point size.

Choose ClearType as font quality.

Check the Hide mouse pointer when typing window flag.

Consolas is a the best default monospace font I found already installed. If you want to install and use other fonts, like Source Code Pro or Ubuntu Mono and you cannot find them in the font change menu, you need to check the Allow selection of variable-pitch fonts flag.

Behaviour

Check the Full screen on Alt-Enter flag.

Translation

Choose UTF-8 encoding.

Colours

Putty default colours are not the best choice. Since folders are blue on a black background, the output of a simple ls is really hard to see.

The fastest workaround is to flag Use system colours.

You will joy a better color theme, for example the eighties theme from base16-putty.

If you are using PuttyTray it is possible to get get a transparent window by modyfing the Window opacity (50-255) value.

Connection

Data

Flag Use system username in the When username is not specified combo box.

SSH

X11

Flag the Enable X11 forwarding option if you want to launch graphic programs.

Install some X Server for Windows. For example you can use XMing: you need to donate to download the Website release. I used an older release on SourceForge: I flagged the Don’t install an SSH client installer option.

Then start XMing and connect with PuTTY to the remote server: now you can launch any graphic application, try with Xeyes.

Xeyes

Tips

Automate login

It is not considered really secure, but, if you are not paranoic this is a really good tip.

Create a shortcut to Putty, you know, right click on it an send to Desktop. Then right click the shortcut and edit the Target entry adding -pw and -ssh flags with user and hostname arguments, something like

"C:\Program Files (x86)\PuTTY\putty.exe" -ssh -pw s3cr3t [email protected]

Voilà! Now you can connect just clicking on the shortcut. Even better:

Now you can access really quickly to your connection: HOST + [email protected] ...

Export from regedit

I admit I try to export configuration from regedit one year after I wrote this article, and I couldn’t do it at first attempt, so it is better I annotate this trick for the future me.

Right click on the regedit entry and export, choose the .reg format. Then open the file with vim and remove the null characters by typing :% s/CTRL2//g.