How to run PuTTY CM as a Windows Service

How is PuTTY CM?

PuTTY CM expands upon PuTTY by giving it a ton of new features like multiple sessions in tabs and most importantly encrypted sessions. 

Can PuTTY be run PuTTY CM as a Windows Service

The application can be run as a Windows Service using FireDaemon Pro, which allows you to have the application start automatically at boot prior to login, start multiple instances of the application and more. This HOWTO will explain how to set it up. You can also use FireDaemon Fusion to manage FireDaemon Pro and other Windows services via a web browser.

How to PuTTY CM Setup Under FireDaemon

The developer's website has been offline for many years, but the PuTTY CM application is included as a downloadable attachment at the bottom of this page. This .zip file includes a registry file that can be used to fix program errors, as well as the application itself. Note that PuTTY CM has not been updated since 2009 and will occasionally display errors.

Step 1. PuTTY CM also requires at least .NET 2.0 installed. 

If you don't already have it, you can download it from here. Make sure you get the x86 version! You may also need to install it through your Control Panel (Control Panel->All Control Panel Items->Programs and Features->Turn Windows features on or off).

Step 2. Next, download the latest stable PuTTY zip from here.

Extract both downloads somewhere on your hard drive. For the purposes of this HOWTO, we will be using the same directory for both: C:\PuTTY CM

Run the application at least once to change any settings. Upon program startup you will have to enter the path to your putty.exe file. So based on the path above you would enter: C:\PuTTY CM\PUTTY.exe

Note: Do Not Open The Options Menu. Opening it at any time will break the application and it will generate an error window for nearly everything. If this does happen, you will need to delete the registry keys created by the application. Run the .reg file included in the download in this HOWTO. You will then have to reconfigure the database you want opened when the application starts.

From the "File" Menu, select New->Database. Enter the database name, check the box labeled "Enable database encryption", choose 256 bit encryption (for maximum security) and select a passphrase and click "Create Database" button. From the "Database" Menu, select "Set as default" menu and then again from the "File" Menu, select "Close Database" and choose a path and filename for your database.

Step 3. Now click the "Connection wizard..." icon in the toolbar to set up your connection.

There is no documentation available for PuTTY CM so it is not known if you can set it up to automatically connect to an SSH server upon server startup. The most we can do at the moment is get the application to run.

Download and install FireDaemon Pro into the directory of your choice, typically C:\Program Files\FireDaemon.

Step 4. Next start the FireDaemon GUI from the desktop shortcut. 

Click on the "Create a new service definition" button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl+N) and enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the paths to suit your installation. Note that no parameters are required.

  • Executable: The path to your puttycm.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\PuTTY CM\puttycm.exe.
  • Working Directory: The directory containing your puttycm.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\PuTTY CM.
  • Parameters: None. Leave this field blank.

Step 5. Now click on the Settings tab. 

If you DON'T want to see PuTTY CM running, uncheck the Interact with Desktop check box & select "Hidden" from the "Show Window" dropdown. You must run PuTTY CM as the user you installed it as. In the Logon Account field type your username (e.g. Administrator) and then enter the user's password twice in the Password and Confirm fields. You can change the Process Priority to allocate more CPU time to PuTTY CM or specify which CPU or core PuTTY CM will run on (in the case of multi-processor, hyperthreaded or multi-core CPUs).

Step 6. Now click on the Lifecycle tab.

Uncheck Graceful Shutdown as it can slow the shutdown of PuTTY CM.

Step 7. Now click on the OK button to install and start PuTTY CM!