It will take some digging, but users can now access a native SSH client in Windows 10.
SSH clients are an essential part of many developers' toolkits. They allow coders and system administrators to establish encrypted connections to remote servers and cloud instances using the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol.
An SSH client can be used to transfer files and issue commands, allowing users to remotely manage applications and the systems they run on, setting up the ideal environment for application workloads.
Linux and macOS both feature a built-in SSH client, one of the reasons these operating systems are popular among developers. In Windows, users are required to download tools such as the free and open-source PuTTY SSH and telnet client.
That requirement may soon be a thing of the past.
Microsoft quietly included a native Windows 10 OpenSSH Client (and OpenSSH Server) in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709), according to a Fossbytes report. Accessing the tool requires jumping through some hoops, including enabling the operating system's Developer Mode.
Released in 2016 as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Developer Mode gathers advanced settings in one place. This allows developers and power users to quickly access functionality that average users rarely touch and configure their systems to their liking without endlessly digging through options menus or consulting Google.
Tucked within Developer Mode's optional features component, users will now find the ability to add the Windows 10 OpenSSH Client. Once installed, users can run the Windows 10 OpenSSH Client by simply typing "ssh" (minus the quotes) into the operating system's command prompt.
It offers users a taste of what a native SSH experience in Windows will be like if and when Microsoft officially releases it, but as with any beta software, it may not be entirely ready for use.
The new Windows SSH client is the latest in a growing list of overtures the company has been making to the developer community.
Developer Mode aside, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update also set the stage for running Bash Unix shell and command language on Windows. In this implementation, Bash provides access to the Windows file system and allows users to run popular Linux command-line tools and Bash scripts.
Microsoft also caused a stir in 2014 when it announced it was open-sourcing its popular .NET framework and taking it cross-platform to Linux and Mac. In 2016, Microsoft followed up by open-sourcing PowerShell, the .NET-based command-line shell and scripting language, and porting it to Linux and macOS.