Creating a SSH Public Key on Windows

In order to create a SSH key for Windows you can follow these steps.

Generate Your Keys With Putty

  • Download and run the PuTTY Windows Installer from the official download page (
  • Start “PuTTYgen” from the start menu
  • Select ED25519 (1) in the groupbox Parameters on the bottom. Alternatively you can select RSA and increase the Number of bits in a generated key field to 4096
  • Click the Generate (2) button and follow the screen instructions
  • Fill the comment (1) to identify this key with your email for instance
  • Add a passphrase for your pivate key (2, 3)
  • Save you private key in a protected place on the local filesystem (4)
  • Convert the key to the needed format (5) see note below
  • Copy the displayed public key and add it to your Gerrit account (6)


Keep in mind that putty uses a proprietary format to store keys, which is incompatible with OpenSSH, when you use any of the save-buttons. If you need to store you private key in the OpenSSH format use the menu item Conversions->Export OpenSSH key.

Use Pageant to Load Your Pivate Key on Startup

Putty provides a key agent named Pageant, which can be added to your autostart folder. This allows you to enter your passphrase only once at startup and any tools using putty (e.g. git-for-windows, TortoiseGit, etc.) can automatically use your private key.

In order to achieve this, create a new shortcut:

  • Press Windows + r
  • Copy and insert %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  • Right click into the folder and select New->Short Cut
  • Copy and insert %ProgramFiles%\PuTTY\pageant.exe "<full path to your saved private key.ppk>"
  • Click Next. If you get an error the program could not be found, delete the argument with your private key file and continue without an argument
  • Name your new shortcut and click Finish
  • If you had to delete the argument because of an error message (see above), check the properties of the newly created shortcut and add your private key as argument again if it’s not already there

Pageant will run as background task, place a nice little icon into your tray icons and start automatically after your login.