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This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Mar 07, 2015 — DevOps Expert

How To Configure SSHD In Windows As An Overthere Host For XL Deploy


Some times our customers would prefer to use SSH to connect from the server our XL Deploy is running on and their targets.  By default Windows does not support SSH, but XebiaLabs' tools do support SSH on windows.  The tricky part is that most implementations of SSH for Windows also require you to use BASH as a default shell.  In this blog post I will discuss how you can set up SSH/BASH on Windows to be used with XL Deploy.  While I'm specifically talking about XL Deploy these principals should work the same for the rest of XebiaLabs' XL tools.

Recently, I was with a customer who wanted to use SSH/BASH because it made more sense to the due to the nature of their security profile.  We installed Cygwin64 and with a few configuration changes they were able to use XL Deploy over SSH to their Windows systems. The process starts out by downloading and installing Cygwin64 from  There are several SSHD services that you can get for Windows, but the problem is that most of the free ones are 32 bit versions.  In Windows a 32 bit process can not start a 64 bit process, so it is better to use a 64 bit SSHD if you have a 64 bit version of Windows. To install Cygwin64 sshd as a Windows Service we will start buy downloading Cygwin64 from the web  The download will go into your download folder.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.06.39 PMOne the file is downloaded you can double click on the file to start the install process.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.07.28 PMClick NextScreen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.07.45 PMSelect your internet connection type and click next.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.08.02 PMChange the install path if you like.  I prefer to just use the default.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.08.19 PMChanged the local package directory if you like.  I prefer to just use the default.  Click on next.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.08.35 PMI have a direct connection.  Click next.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.08.56 PMMy preferred mirror site is  Select your preferred mirror site an click next.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.14.19 PMIn addition to the base Cygwin64 install we will need to install OpenSSH.  So in the search box type "openssh" and select OpenSSH for installation and click on Next.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.14.34 PMAfter the install you will be asked if you want to see the readme file on make a desktop short cut.  I prefer to use the Cygwin bash shell over the Windows CMD window so I usually ask to have the short cut, but not the readme.Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.15.53 PMStart a Cygwin bash session....Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.30.03 PMVerify file/user permissions in the cygwin bash window by executing the commands as follows:
Navigate to the C:\cygwin64 directory, open the bat file in edit mode using any editor, and add the following line before invoking the bash shellset CYGWIN=binmode ntsecScreen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.17.35 PMTo verify if Cygwin (cygrunsrv) is installed properly, run C:\cygwin\Cygwin.bat, and execute the following command:Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.20.57 PMIf Cygwin is installed properly, then all the Cygwin help options are displayed on the screen. However, if this command returns an error message, then you may have to reinstall Cygwin. To configure the SSHD service, run C:\cygwin\Cygwin.bat, and execute the following command:
After running the command, you are prompted the following questions:
*** Info: already exists). This account is then used to run these special
*** Info: servers.
*** Info: Note that creating a new user requires that the current account
*** Info: have Administrator privileges itself.
*** Info: No privileged account could be found.
*** Info: This script plans to use 'cyg_server'.
*** Query: Create new privileged user account 'WIN201201\xldeploy' (Cygwin name: 'xldeploy')? (yes/no) yes
*** Info: Please enter a password for new user xldeploy.  Please be sure
*** Info: that this password matches the password rules given on your system.
*** Info: Entering no password will exit the configuration.
*** Query: Please enter the password:
*** Query: Reenter:
*** Info: User 'xldeploy' has been created with password 'XXXXXX'.
*** Info: If you change the password, please remember also to change the
*** Info: password for the installed services which use (or will soon use)
*** Info: the 'xldeploy' account.
*** Info: The sshd service has been installed under the 'xldeploy'
*** Info: account.  To start the service now, call `net start sshd' or
*** Info: `cygrunsrv -S sshd'.  Otherwise, it will start automatically
*** Info: after the next reboot.
*** Info: Host configuration finished. Have fun!
You should be able to verify that the SSHD server has been installed as a Windows service by running cygrunsrv -Q sshd as follows:Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.25.06 PMIf the service has been installed correctly you can start the SSHD service as follows:Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 3.25.55 PMWhen we use SSH/BASH with XL Deploy we will need BAT files to be executable from the BASH command line.  To do this we need to add a line to the .bashrc of the user XL Deploy will log into the Windows box from.  Edit or create a .bashrc in the users home directory and add the line as follows:
find /cygdrive/c/Windows/Temp -name "*.bat" -exec chmod +x {} +
You need to make sure that you .bashrc does not output anything while executing as that will keep it form executing properly.  Now in XL Deploy we can configure the Windows server as an SSH Overthere host as follow:Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.39.30 PMWe should be able to test our configuration with the "Connection Test" control task.  The results of that test should look similar to the following:Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 2.17.24 PMAt this point you should be able to use our new WinSshHost in your infrastructure and install applications with SSH from the XL Deploy server.      

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