Logging into a Linux Server Using PowerShell from Windows

Managing Linux servers from a Windows environment can be a challenge, but with the help of PowerShell, it becomes much easier. PowerShell, a powerful scripting language and command-line shell from Microsoft, provides the flexibility to administer Linux servers remotely. In this blog post, we will explore how to log into a Linux server using PowerShell from a Windows machine, enabling efficient server management.


To follow along with this tutorial, ensure that you have the following prerequisites:

  • A Windows machine with PowerShell installed (PowerShell 5.1 or later).
  • A Linux server is accessible over the network with SSH (Secure Shell) enabled.

Step 1: Install OpenSSH for PowerShell:

  • Launch PowerShell with administrative privileges.
  • Run the following command to install OpenSSH for PowerShell: `Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name OpenSSH.Client~~~~`

Step 2: Verify the OpenSSH installation:

  • After the installation completes, verify the installation by running: `Get-WindowsCapability -Online | Where-Object Name -like ‘OpenSSH*’`
  • Logging into a Linux Server

Step 3: Establish an SSH connection:

  • To establish an SSH connection to the Linux server, use the `ssh` command followed by the username and IP address of the server. For example: `ssh username@server-ip-address`
  • If this is your first connection to the server, you might be prompted to accept the server’s RSA key fingerprint. Type “yes” to proceed.
  • Enter the password for the specified username when prompted.
  • Logging into a Linux Server



Step 4: Saving SSH session to a variable:

  • To save the SSH session in a PowerShell variable, run the following command: `$session = New-SSHSession -ComputerName server-ip-address -Credential username`
  • Replace `server-ip-address` with the IP address of the Linux server and `username` with the appropriate username.

Step 5: Running commands on the Linux server:

  • Once you have established the SSH session, you can execute Linux commands remotely using the `Invoke-SSHCommand` cmdlet. For example: `Invoke-SSHCommand -SessionId $session.SessionId -Command “ls -l”`

Step 6: Closing the SSH session:

  • To close the SSH session, run the following command: `Remove-SSHSession -SessionId $session.SessionId`

Overall, By leveraging the power of PowerShell’s OpenSSH module, you can easily log into a Linux server from a Windows machine and perform administrative tasks efficiently. The ability to execute remote commands on a Linux server using PowerShell empowers Windows administrators to manage their Linux infrastructure seamlessly.


Changing User Password (F.A.Q)

Can I use PowerShell to log into any Linux distribution?

Yes, PowerShell can be used to log into any Linux distribution that has SSH (Secure Shell) enabled. The steps mentioned in the blog post are applicable to various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and others.

Do I need to install any additional software on the Linux server?

No, you do not need to install any additional software on the Linux server. SSH is a standard protocol for secure remote access to Linux servers and is usually pre-installed on most distributions. However, ensure that SSH is enabled and accessible from your Windows machine.

Can I use SSH key-based authentication instead of passwords?

Yes, you can use SSH key-based authentication instead of passwords for enhanced security and convenience. To set up key-based authentication, you would need to generate an SSH key pair on your Windows machine using tools like PuTTY or OpenSSH, and then copy the public key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the Linux server.

Are there any limitations to using PowerShell for managing Linux servers?

While PowerShell provides powerful capabilities for managing Linux servers, there are a few limitations to keep in mind. Some Linux-specific commands or tools may not be available directly in PowerShell. However, you can still execute most Linux commands by using the Invoke-SSHCommand cmdlet. Additionally, PowerShell may not offer the same level of integration and support for Linux-specific scripting languages or tools, but it can still be a valuable tool for day-to-day Linux server administration tasks from a Windows environment.