I'm having a difficult time coming up with a solution to extend a framework that was designed for *nix machines over to windows. The framework currently runs from one *nix server and ssh's out to other *nix servers and performs a bunch of different commands like checking log files, syncing files from source control, submitting logs back to source control, etc. The big piece I'm stuck on is how to connect to the remote windows machines and access the command line. The connection can be coming from another Windows machine also, it doesn't have to start from a unix machine, it can go from windows to windows instead of unix to windows.

Here's an example of how commands are currently ran on unix systems. Something like this is in a loop that goes through a list of server names. I need to get something like this to run on windows machines.

ssh ${user}@${server} "cd /app/app_name/logs; <export source control params>; <submit logs to source control>" >> Log.txt

Also, I would prefer not to use a 3rd party tool (my budget is about $0). I've checked out PsExec and a couple others but it looks like you need admin access or have to pass users/pass in plain text.

  • By design, a non-administrative user can't normally run code on a remote machine. You might have to build your own solution. Is there a specific context the code needs to run in? Are the commands to be run the same every time? Sep 6, 2011 at 4:40
  • While you could install MobaSSH as a server and use putty as a client, or use psexec to do whatever you want more or less (which is frowned upon in my experience), the equivalent idiom in the Windows world is not to use a shell at all, but to rely on command level support for remote execution whether it's a legacy command or powershell combined with network shares and mapped drives.
    – Shanteva
    Jun 7, 2016 at 20:02

5 Answers 5


Use Powershell Remoting:

Updated link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/scripting/learn/remoting/running-remote-commands?view=powershell-7

Copy pasted form an older version:

Windows PowerShell Remoting

Windows PowerShell remoting, which uses the WS-Management protocol, lets you run any Windows PowerShell command on one or many remote computers. It lets you establish persistent connections, start 1:1 interactive sessions, and run scripts on multiple computers. To use Windows PowerShell remoting, the remote computer must be configured for remote management. After you have configured Windows PowerShell remoting, many remoting strategies are available to you. The remainder of this document lists just a few of them. #Start an Interactive Session To start an interactive session with a single remote computer, use the Enter-PSSession cmdlet. For example, to start an interactive session with the Server01 remote computer, type:

Enter-PSSession Server01

The command prompt changes to display the name of the computer to which you are connected. From then on, any commands that you type at the prompt run on the remote computer and the results are displayed on the local computer.

To end the interactive session, type:


#Run a Remote Command

To run any command on one or many remote computers, use the Invoke-Command cmdlet. For example, to run a Get-UICulture command on the Server01 and Server02 remote computers, type:

invoke-command -computername Server01, Server02 {get-UICulture}

The output is returned to your computer.

LCID    Name     DisplayName               PSComputerName
----    ----     -----------               --------------
1033    en-US    English (United States)   server01.corp.fabrikam.com
1033    en-US    English (United States)   server02.corp.fabrikam.com

#Run a Script

To run a script on one or many remote computers, use the FilePath parameter of the Invoke-Command cmdlet. The script must be on or accessible to your local computer. The results are returned to your local computer.

For example, the following command runs the DiskCollect.ps1 script on the Server01 and Server02 remote computers.

invoke-command -computername Server01, Server02 -filepath c:\Scripts\DiskCollect.ps1

#Establish a Persistent Connection

To run a series of related commands that share data, create a session on the remote computer and then use the Invoke-Command cmdlet to run commands in the session that you create. To create a remote session, use the New-PSSession cmdlet.

For example, the following command creates a remote session on the Server01 computer and another remote session on the Server02 computer. It saves the session objects in the $s variable.

$s = new-pssession -computername Server01, Server02

Now that the sessions are established, you can run any command in them. And because the sessions are persistent, you can collect data in one command and use it in a subsequent command.

For example, the following command runs a Get-Hotfix command in the sessions in the $s variable and it saves the results in the $h variable. The $h variable is created in each of the sessions in $s, but it does not exist in the local session.

invoke-command -session $s {$h = get-hotfix}

Now you can use the data in the $h variable in subsequent commands, such as the following one. The results are displayed on the local computer.

invoke-command -session $s {$h | where {$_.installedby -ne "NTAUTHORITY\SYSTEM"} }
  • 6
    This is the native way to do it and should be the accepted answer IMHO. Mar 15, 2017 at 18:56
  • SSH use port 22 on server to connect, Could you please help me check port this PowerShell solution use?
    – Luke
    Oct 10, 2018 at 8:49
  • 1
    @Luke blogs.technet.microsoft.com/christwe/2012/06/20/… 5985-5986 are the defaults, but like most things, you can specify another port
    – Shanteva
    Oct 10, 2018 at 13:42
  • 2
    Not really shameless, microsoft moved the pages somewhere else.
    – Dragas
    Oct 6, 2020 at 9:55

Try tunnellier from Bitvise. That is an ssh client. There's also an ssh server for connecting to a windows machine. The two enable you to make very secure connections along with more advanced things like a web proxy or port tunneling.

  • Unfortunately the SSH server isn't freeware. Sep 6, 2011 at 4:34

Install OpenSSH port for Windows - it's free and provides both client and server.


I really like the idea of PowerShell, though the configuration may take a couple of minutes on server and client.

Aside the complete answer of Shanteva, which suggests the use of PowerShell, you should also take a look at Here on howtogeek website on how to actually Enable (and Allow) a remote connection to the PowerShell server. There is a slight bit of configuration required on the server computer.

Two important things you need to do: (I don't have to mention that you have to do every configuration 'as an administrator' right? Just open PowerShell/cmd 'As an administrator')

  • First, enable the WINRM service (the windows application that processes remote commands) on the SERVER.

On the server computer, open PowerShell and run:

Enable-PSRemoting -Force

There is also other way of doing this. You can open a command prompt and run:

winrm -quickconfig

There could be much more configurations to change. No need for now.

  • Second, it is noteworthy that the client and server are always trying to authenticate each other. The server wants to make sure the client does actually have allowed access to the server or not. For this sake you are going to provide some authentication information to the server (similar to SSH, you maybe providing Username/Password). Conversely, the client wants to make sure that the server is a trusted one. Different schemes can be used, such as trusting a server who provides a smart public certificate or trusting based on IP address or maybe just trusting everyone!! Again we have the same procedure on SSH where a server can provide some authentication information. (Let's just forget the SSH details for now.)

If both computers are on the same 'domain' (a group of computers which everyone have different rules and roles assigned to), the procedure seems to be simple (I haven't tried that).

BUT, as you probably want to access your server through Internet (technically called the WAN network), there are some complications and you have to change some configuration to allow the connection to the remote server. On the CLIENT computer enable the WINRM service. The procedure is similar to what we've done for server above. Just run the command:

Enable-PSRemoting -Force

(Again noteworthy! Some references say that the client computer and the server computer must be on 'Private' networks, or the whole thing won't work. I'm getting error messages for this when I run the above command but everything works find. I'm not sure of this fact. Check the aforementioned web page.)

Then run on the CLIENT computer in PowerShell:

Set-Item wsman:\localhost\client\trustedhosts *

Which means that the client will trust all servers (hosts). Finally, run this (on the CLIENT again I emphasize):

Restart-Service WinRM

You are ready to go. Check rest of Shanteva's answer. On the CLIENT computer, run for instance:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential Administrator

It will ask for a password and the remote console opens which looks like:

[]: PS C:\Users\Administrator\Documents>

Then just enter commands like you do for SSH.


You could try psexec which gives you a remote shell over the file share service (or however this is called). There is also winexe if you want to use Linux as client.

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