Cmder for Windows – Alternative to PuTTY

For some unfathomable (to me) reason, Windows doesn’t seem to ship with a SSH program out of the box. I’ve used the venerable Putty in the past, but it makes you do a lot of work for a simple SSH session.

I recently ran across an open-source replacement called Cmder for Windows. Based on ConEmu, it bills itself as a “portable console emulator for Windows”. I find it a great replacement for PuTTY, Console, and Powershell. Cmder has a huge number of benefits:

  1. Cmder allows you to create a ssh session simply by typing ssh user@host — I’m immediately in love
  2. Cmder is easy on the eyes, with attractive fonts, default Monokai color scheme, and resizable windows
  3. If you get the “full” version, you get bash emulation with a Unix-y environment, including ls, grep, and even git
  4. Cmder will run off a USB stick
  5. … and it’s free (MIT License)

screen shot of Cmder window

Check it out at

3 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I am using now Cmder as well, when I try to ssh into server (where public key is and via Putty it works normally), it wants a password anyway all the time. Any idea why? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. To deal with ssh within cmder in a way that’s similar to putty + pageant, I did the following:

      1) From a cmder console,run ‘ssh-keygen -t rsa’ to generate a new key pair, specifying a password.

      2) Open up cmder\config\user-profile.cmd and uncomment the line (kill the ::) that says ‘call “%GIT_INSTALL_ROOT%/cmd/start-ssh-agent.cmd”‘

      3) Add my public key (C:\Users\MyName\.ssh\ to my server(s)

      This way, each time I open cmder, I immediately get prompted to enter my private key password, and it keeps the key decrypted in memory for the duration of the entire cmder session, even across tabs.

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