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WinSCP’s "Network error: Software caused connection abort" Message is Driving Me Crazy!

WinSCP is by far and away the best SCP/SFTP client for Windows users, but the default settings don’t use keepalive, so you get disconnected far too often. I like to leave the client open while I’m doing work, and this causes a serious problem with my workflow.

Note: if you haven’t switched to using SCP or SFTP to transfer files instead of regular insecure FTP, you should really do so.

This messagebox needs to go away!

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To change this setting, you’ll have to modify your saved connections in the WinSCP Login screen.

Select “Connection” in the left-hand treeview, and then change the “Keepalives” radio button to “Executing dummy protocol commands”.

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You could also use the option for “Sending of null SSH packets”, but not all servers support that option, and we want that error message to go away.

Make sure you click the Save button after you are done.

Download the awesome WinSCP client

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/19/07

Comments (7)

  1. Bryan

    Hey, a lot of the times this error is also caused by the host system’s terminal settings. Depending on the host type, OS, and settings, find your profile, such as ~/.bash_login and look for this line ”
    “mesg y” and comment it out. If you don’t see it there, it may be a system-wide setting, in which case you may have to override it in your local settings or ask the administrators to change it for you.
    “mesg y” says that your terminal can receive system-wide messages, and in the case of an scp/ssh connection, you don’t want that. Hope this helps too!

  2. Jason

    Thanks for this GREAT and USEFUL tip! It’s surprising that I couldn’t even find this information on WinSCP’s own website! You saved me a hours of work!

    Thanks again!

  3. Leigh anne

    Where do I find this file?
    Depending on the host type, OS, and settings, find your profile, such as ~/.bash_login and look for this line

    I’m getting the “Network error: Software caused connection abort” error message for the first time this morning. I don’t know anything about re-keying and I’m so confused. Can anyone help me?

  4. michel

    hey guys,
    the error comes every times!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. iokua

    Hey all,

    I’m using winscp to transfer files via USB to my iPhone and i’m getting the error “Software caused connection abort”. So, I followed the instructions above but then got “host closed all connections” Any help?

    -cheers!

  6. travb

    Great advice, but woefully incomplete.

    RE: “Select “Connection” in the left-hand treeview, and then change the “Keepalives” radio button to “Executing dummy protocol commands”

    Per: Winscp instructions: You need to check Advanced options to reveal the connection tab.

    To configure your session:
    1. start WinSCP,
    2. the WinSCP Login dialog box opens (the above WinSCP Login picture) . The program hides advanced options (even complete tabs) unless you select the Advanced options checkbox below the navigation tree.

    This tutorial never really explains where this screen comes from. It is when you FIRST start winscp.

    This tutorial never mentions that advanced options needs to be checked to see this screen.

  7. Pali

    i was on my server (START- vserver.pipni.cz (debian) ) to all files chmod 7777, and on next connection winscp and putty say this error: network error: software caused connection.
    pleas help me. in net2ftp i can not edit files.

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