Bitvise SSH Client as a Windows Service

Bitvise SSH Client

What is Bitvise SSH Client?

The Bitvise SSH Client is a free SSH file transfer, terminal and tunneling program. If you are looking for an SSH server for Microsoft Windows, check out the Bitvise SSH Server.

This guide focuses on the GUI version because it stores the login password in an encrypted format while the command line version requires you enter the password in plain-text (which is a major security risk).

Can Bitvise SSH Client be run as a Windows Service?

Bitvise SSH Client can be run as a Windows service using FireDaemon Pro. This allows you to start and run the progam automatically when Windows boots and before login. FireDaemon Pro also allows you to start multiple instances of the Bitvise SSH Client, monitoring them and automatically restarting those instances in the event they crash. FireDaemon Fusion can also be used to manage your service, plus other Windows services via your web browser.

Bitvise SSH Client comes in two forms: GUI version (BvSsh.exe) and command line version with logging (Stnlc.exe + Log.exe). This guide covers the setup and configuration of the GUI version of Bitvise SSH Client. For more information setting up the command line version please see the following two Bitvise articles. Stnlc.exe can also be run as a Windows Service with FireDaemon Pro:

How to set up Bitvise SSH Client under FireDaemon Pro

Please follow the steps below to set up the application as a Windows service with FireDaemon Pro.

Step 1: Download and Install Bitvise SSH Client

  1. Download Bitvise SSH Client.
  2. Double-click installer and follow the installation wizard to complete the installation. Pay attention to the folder it installs to, by default that is "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bitvise SSH Client"

    Bitvise SSH Client Installer

Step 2: Profile Configuration

1) Open Bitvise SSH Client, configure the settings on each tab. In particular on the Login tab you must change the "Initial method" to your log in method (e.g. password, public key, etc.).

2) Then on the left side click "Save profile as". If your computer is used by multiple users or you're concerned about security, then save the profile to your windows user directory (e.g. C:\Users\jbourne\Documents). If you need to create or import a private key, make sure it is stored in the Profile. Open "Client Key Manager", right click the Key in the list and select "Copy to Profile". 

NOTE: Your private key cannot be password protected. If you enable password protection of your private key, then you will need to enter the password in FireDaemon Pro in plaintext which is a security risk since it defeats the purpose of having a password in the first place.

Step 3: Testing - Save the Public Key and Save the Profile

Use the profile you just created and connect to your SSH server one time so the host (public) key is saved then save the profile again and exit Bitvise SSH Client GUI.

Bitvise SSH Client Login Profile

Step 2: Download and Install FireDaemon Pro

  1. Download FireDaemon Pro installer
  2. Double-click installer and follow the installation wizard to complete the installation.
  3. For more information about installing FireDaemon Pro, see the FireDaemon Pro Users Guide.

Step 3: Setup Bitvise SSH Client as a FireDaemon Pro Service

Double click the FireDaemon Pro icon on your desktop, then click on the New (i.e. +) button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl + N) to create a new service. Enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the path names to suit your installation. Note the required parameters.

Bitvise SSH Client setup under FireDaemon Pro

  • Program: The path to the executable file. For the purposes of this guide, the path is C:\Program Files (x86)\Bitvise SSH Client\BvSsh.exe
  • Working Directory: The directory containing your BvSsh.exe file. For the purposes of this guide, the path is C:\Program Files (x86)\Bitvise SSH Client.

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The full parameter should be as follows:

-loginOnStartup -noRegistry -profile="C:\Users\jbourne\Documents\firedaemon.tlp"
  • -loginOnStartup  Tells Bitvise SSH Client to login automatically when the service starts.
  • -noRegistry  Prevents the profile from being written to the system registry (for extra security).
  • -profile=... Loads the profile you created earlier. Enter the full path to the location of your profile file.

Step 4. Change the Logon Account Settings

FireDaemon Pro Bitvise SSH Client Logon Account Settings

Enter the appropriate values in the fields on the Settings tab as follows:

  • (Required) Logon Account: Enter the Windows account under which the application is to be run (e.g. the account you login to your computer as to run the Bitvise SSH Client normally).
  • (Required) Password / Confirm Password:  Enter the account's password twice.
  • (Optional) Interact with Desktop: Interact with Desktop: If this setting is enabled (default), the program's output messages can be seen on Session 0. To switch to Session 0, it may be necessary to install FireDaemon Zero and FireDaemon ZeroInput. Alternatively, this setting may be disabled, in which case the program's messages will be hidden.

Step 5: Verify that Bitvise SSH Client is Running Correctly

Bitvise SSH Client's status can easily be checked on the main FireDaemon Pro Services List - look for a Running Status value and a numeric Process ID (PID) value.

Bitvise SSH Client running under FireDaemon Pro

If the FireDaemon Pro service's Interact with Desktop setting is enabled, the application can also be verified by switching to Windows Session 0 to view the GUI.

Bitvise SSH Client running under FireDaemon Pro control on Session 0