I'm trying to use Git for the first time (I have used Mercurial before so I know the basic setup).

Everything is ready on the server side with the following properties:

  • User name: git
  • Domain: mydomain.com
  • Port: 222
  • Repo path: /home/git/repo.git
  • Public key saved in: /home/git/.ssh/authorized_key
  • Private key saved on my local Windows machine.
  • The key pair was generated with PuTTYgen

During installation of Git on my Windows machine I chose OpenSSH if that matters.

So my question is, how do I check out my repo?


  • PuTTYgen generates the key in different format than OpenSSH expects. Do you have it in openssh format in %USERPROFILE%\.ssh\id_rsa and %USERPROFILE%\.ssh\id_rsa.pub as OpenSSH expects?
    – Jan Hudec
    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:39
  • Note that Git Gui has a menu for generating/showing the ssh key. That's the easiest way to generate it so that it is properly set up for git.
    – Jan Hudec
    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


git clone username@server:/path/to/git/repo.git while you are in the folder where you want to check out to.


Use [user@]host:relpath to clone over SSH, or ssh://[user@]host[:port]/abspath if you need to specify a different port.

For your current configuration:




With OpenSSH, you need to export your private key to OpenSSH format (using PuTTYgen), then either a) save it as ~/.ssh/id_rsa or ~/.ssh/id_dsa depending on the type, or b) save it anywhere you like, then edit ~/.ssh/config IdentityFile to point to the file. (a is better if you use the same key to connect everywhere; b is better if you use different keys for different servers.)

On Windows, the location is %USERPROFILE%\.ssh, and you'll probably need to create the .ssh directory yourself using Command Prompt.

If you had chosen PuTTY/plink, you could double-click the .ppk key file to load it to Pageant, and it would be used automatically.

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