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PuTTY: setting things right

PuTTY is one of the most popular terminal emulators in use today. Not only is it a free download, it is well written with many options for virtually any U*nx flavor. However, the defaults that come with the download need some adjusting for most implementations. This document will show the default settings next to preferred settings. It then descries how to save the settings as a new default, making it easy to clone multiple sessions. PuTTY is compatible with WinXP, Win7, Win8 and Win10.

1. Main website: http:///service-it-direct.s7.devpreviewr.com.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/

Download from: http:///service-it-direct.s7.devpreviewr.com.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
Select the installer package for Windows.

2. Install, taking all the defaults.

3. Create a C:PuTTY directory for portability with several users on the same PC.
You can store ssh keys there for registry portability (rather than My Documents…)

                    Customization notes
         default                            custom

Session:

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For connection type, ssh is preferred except for old systems and consoles without ssh capability.
For console (iLO, GSP, MP, etc) connections, most consoles only support telnet.

Terminal → Keyboard:

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Control-H is the backspace key. Control-? Is the Delete (DEL) key.
OpenVMS and a few obscure Unices still use the Delete key – you can set this for each session.

 

Terminal → Features:

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Disable special character handling (optional).

 

Window:

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Use a large character space (132×48) for Unix systems to see long lines without breaks.
NOTE: For HPE iLO consoles, leave at 80×40 for use with the EFI shell.
You can resize at any time, but leave the startup at 80×40.
Change row/columns or font size when resizing the window – user choice.
Scrollback at least 20000, or 60000 for a lot of history for a session.
Always display scrollbar including full screen mode.
Turn off Push erased text into scrollback.
Window → Appearance

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Select Block and Cursor blinks for readability.
Select Clear Type for cleaner display.
Add a gap between edge of window and text inside the window.
Change from Courier to Lucida Console (easier to read) in next screen (Change button).

 

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Change the font in this sub-window.
Set point size for your screen size and resolution. For 1280 screens and larger, use Size 12 or 14.

 

Window → Behavior

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Leave blank for default. PuTTY will fill with the hostname automatically .
Turn off Warn before closing to save an extra step.
Turn on Alt-Space for dropdown menu.

 

Window → Translation

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Use Poor man’s line drawing for maximum compatibility with copy/paste.

 

Window → Colours

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Default Foreground (the text color) should be white (255) for readability.
Bold text will still be the Foreground color but visibly fatter.
For version 0.65 and later, the choices are slightly different:

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The Font means the same as unchecking Bolded Text.
The colour is the same as the checked setting in the old versions.
And Both incorporates the fatter font plus The colour.

 

Window → Colours: background

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Use the Modify key to bring up the color palette:

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Use contrasting colors for readability.
Each session can be a different background color.

 

Connection → Data

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An optional login name can be used to save typing root or Administrator, etc for each session.
This should be left blank for the default settings, change for selected sessions.

Connection → SSH

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Specify a common location for PuTTY data files. Use C:PuTTY for multi-user laptops/desktops.
Otherwise, My DocumentsPuTTY works well. The above filename in the example (rsa-key.ppk) was generated using
PuTTYgen (part of the PuTTY installation). That file can be added to authorized_keys on target systems for auto ogin without needing a password.

Session (save as new Default)

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Highlight Default Settings, then Save.

 

Adding sessions:
Clone an existing session with Load anexisting session:

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Change colors (possibly other params):

Change: Host Name (or IP), connection type and Saved Sessions name then Save.
Running multiple sessions with different color schemes:

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Serial ports
Connection → Serial

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For serial connections, the screen is under Connection, following SSH. To avoid handshake issues,
set Flow control to None. For really old (slow) computers, XON/XOFF might be needed to avoid
data overruns.
Modern PCs (especially laptops) no longer have a serial port. You’ll have to get a USB-to-serial adapter
in order to communicate, but the COM port is tricky to find (COM1 COM2…COM9 etc). To find the
USB adapter’s COM name, use device manager to locate it. A shortcut is WinKey+Break which starts the
System Properties screen. On XP, select the Hardware tab to see Device Manager. On Win7, click on
the Device Manager link at the left side of the page.
WinXP

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WinXP – COM1

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Win7

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Win7-COM4

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PuTTY is by far the most popular and portable terminal emulator. Standardizing on it means
that trying to make various emulators work correctly can be avoided.

 

The manual:
http://the.earth.li/~sgtatham/putty/0.53b/htmldoc/Contents.html

 

Configuring PuTTY with details:
http://the.earth.li/~sgtatham/putty/0.53b/htmldoc/Chapter4.html