How to run Bitvise SSH Client as a Windows Service.

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What is Bitvise SSH Client?

Bitvise SSH Client (formerly Bitvise Tunnelier) is a powerful SSH client with a plethora of features.

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 application 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 Example service, plus other Windows services via your web browser.

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 (eg. 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 (eg. C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\Bitvise). 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 in plaintext which is a security risk since it defeats the purpose of having a password in the first place.

Step 3: Testing

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 Profile Works

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, see the FireDaemon Pro Users Guide.

Step 3: Set Up 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.

FireDaemon Pro Bitvise SSH Client service settings

  • Executable: The path to your log.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, 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 HOWTO, the path is C:\Program Files (x86)\Bitvise SSH Client.

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

-loginOnStartup -noRegistry -profile="C:\Users\Administrator\Documents\Bitvise\MyProfile.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. Next, click on the FireDaemon Pro Settings tab:

FireDaemon Pro Bitvise SSH Client service settings

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

  • (Required) Job Type:  You must set the job type to "Global Job" or else when the service stops, 2 processes will be orphaned.
  • (Required) Logon Account: Enter the Windows account under which the application is to be run, e.g. the current user account.
  • Password / Confirm Password:  Enter the logon account's password twice.
  • (Optional) Interact with Desktop: Interact with Desktop: If this setting is enabled (default), the applications' output messages can be seen in the console window on Windows Session 0. To switch to Session 0, it may be necessary to install FireDaemon Zero and ZeroInput. Alternatively, this setting may be disabled, in which case the application's messages will be hidden.
  • (Optional) Priority: To allocate more CPU time to the application, select a higher scheduling priority in this field.
  • (Optional) CPU Bindings: To run the application on a specific CPU, specify the appropriate CPU in this field.

Step 5. Next, click in the Lifecycle tab. Set Shutdown By to Forceful Termination.

FireDaemon Pro Bitvise SSH Client lifecycle settings

Lastly, click the Save and Close (ie. the tick) button on the toolbar. If the service's Startup Type is set to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed-Start), it will start immediately.

Step 6: Configure Dialogs

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

  • Check "Enabled"
  • Click "Insert" button and add the following:
    • Title String: User Authentication
    • Response: OK

FireDaemon Pro Bitvise SSH Client dialog settings

Step 7: 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.

FireDaemon Pro Services list

If the 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 messages window