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I'm trying to use ssh.exe in Cygwin (in Windows 7). I copied a config file into c:\cygwin\home\[USERNAME]\.ssh. When I run ssh (for example, ssh -vT git@bitbucket.org) I get the following error:

OpenSSH_5.9p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8r 8 Feb 2011 Bad owner or permissions on /home/[USERNAME]/.ssh/config

How do I get ssh to read my configuration file?

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4 Answers 4

After doing as above, i always got this:

total 22
drwxrwxr-x+ 1 jl None    0 Sep  9 18:44 .
drwxrwxr-x+ 1 jl None    0 Sep  9 18:44 ..
-rw-rw----  1 jl None  129 Jul  1 14:30 config

and the error on .ssh/config, so i've run chown on the .ssh folder, and chmod again like this:

> chown -R [USERNAME]:users .ssh/

and then:

> chmod -R 600 .ssh/

and finally i got it working:

total 29
drwxrwxr-x+ 1 jl None     0 Sep  9 18:44 .
drwxrwxrwt+ 1 jl None     0 Sep  9 18:44 ..
drw-------+ 1 jl Users    0 Sep  9 18:44 .ssh

ps: i think this is a bug on Windows 8

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The accepted answer didn't work for me, but this did. Thanks! –  Achal Dave Sep 12 '13 at 3:54
Also, this is quite a weird bug. On my computer (W8.1), editing the .ssh/config file in Vim always leads to this bug. It's extremely annoying, as every change to my ssh config requires running these commands. –  Achal Dave Oct 22 '13 at 18:14
And just to add to the weirdness, if you're using an non English version of Windows then make sure to use the locale translation of "users" when issuing this command. For example in Dutch it becomes "chown -R :Gebruikers .ssh" –  Alexander Kellett Jan 13 '14 at 10:27
For me, this worked: chown -R m0j0:Users .ssh && chmod -R go-rwx .ssh –  m0j0 Jan 23 '14 at 14:40
Tried changing the group on just .ssh/config, but it didn't work until I first changed the group on the .ssh directory itself. Thanks! –  Paul Brannan Mar 27 '14 at 16:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Check the permissions of the config file using Cygwin's ls command:

> c:\cygwin\bin\ls.exe -la c:\cygwin\home\[USERNAME]\.ssh

It will probably be something like this:

total 5
drwxrwxrwt+ 1 Administrators None  0 Oct 20 17:02 .
drwxr-xr-x+ 1 [USERNAME]     None  0 Oct 19 08:15 ..
-rw-------  1 Administrators None 57 Oct 20 16:58 config

The config file needs to belong to [USERNAME]. Try this:

> c:\cygwin\bin\chown.exe [USERNAME] c:\cygwin\home\[USERNAME]\.ssh\config

ls -la should now show the correct owner. If that still doesn't work, try resetting the mode (permissions):

> c:\cygwin\bin\chmod.exe 700 c:\cygwin\home\[USERNAME]\.ssh\config
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Great answer. Seems it is very particular about the combination, I gave it greater access than that and it wasn't working. –  Matthew Read Sep 20 '12 at 17:42

Quite simply:

chown -R $USER:users ~/.ssh/
chmod -R 600 ~/.ssh/

If the file is a windows (NTFS) symbolic link, the above won't work. You need to make it a regular file. I am not sure why.

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This is usually it for me, since the group is usually wrong on the files. –  Alan Krueger Jan 4 at 2:56

Important note if your Windows is not in US English: the "users" group's name is locale-dependant. If your Windows is in Spanish, you'll have to change the files' ownership with chown $USER:Usuarios *

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