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Using PuTTY with my private key downloaded from the RightScale dashboard

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I want to configure PuTTY to use my own private key that I download from the RightScale dashboard Settings > User Settings > SSH > Download Private Key, as the default private key.


The private key format that is generated by RightScale is in the Linux/Unix format. The putty client uses a different format that has a .ppk extension. To use the private key, you have to first convert the key into a format that putty can understand.

To convert the private key from openssh to putty format:

  1. First, download the PuTTY and make sure to download the Putty installer and not the individual application.
  2. After installing, click Start > All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTYgen to open the PuTTY generator GUI window.
  3. To open your private key in PuTTYGen, click File > Load private key and browse to the location of the private key
  4. Select the private key and click Open. Note that you may have to change the filter drop-down to show All Files (*.*).
  5. You will get a popup that say you have successfully imported a foreign key, click OK.
  6. Click the "Save private key", then click Yes/No depending if you want to use a passphrase. Take note of the location and save.


Steps to configure the putty client to use the private key by default:

  1. Open putty client by clicking Start > All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTY to open the PuTTY Configuration GUI window.

  2. In the Category pane, make sure that Session is selected.

  3. Select SSH as the protocol under the PuTTY basic options.

  4. In the Category pane, click Connection > SSH.

  5. Select 2 as the preferred SSH protocol version.

  6. In the Category pane, click SSH > Auth.

  7. In the Private key file for authentication field in the Authentication Parameters group, enter the path and filename for the private key file that you created using the PuTTY Key Generator. For example, C:\Users\<user>\PuTTY\id_rsa.ppk.

    If you do not know the filename, you can click Browse to select the file name from the system directory.

  8. In the Category pane, click Session.

  9. In the Saved Sessions window, click Default Settings.

  10. Click Save to save your settings.


To connect to the server:

  1. Go to the server tab and take note (copy) the public IP of the server.
  2. Open PuTTY and enter the public IP address into the Host Name (or IP address) input field.
  3. Click Open and it should prompt for a username, use rightscale and press enter.
  4. It should log you in without prompting for a password.


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Last modified
15:55, 30 Jan 2015


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