How-To Geek

Get Tabs for your PuTTY

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

It seems like everybody uses the free PuTTY client for accessing SSH from Windows, but the lack of a tabbed interface has kept me using the commercial SecureCRT application for years… until now.

With the PuTTY Connection Manager you can not only use tabs, but also wrap PuTTY in a slick interface. The underlying client is still the same putty.exe that you are used to… in fact the application doesn’t even come bundled with it.

The first time you launch the application you’ll be asked to enter the location to your copy of PuTTY.


And finally, a tabbed version of PuTTY!


The connection manager can be docked to the side by using the little pushpin button.


Right-clicking on a tab or using the Tools menu will allow you to get to the PuTTY menu


In the configuration dialog you can specify a bunch of options including an automatic login macro or passing command line parameters to putty.


You can either click the configuration button above, or choose PuTTY Configuration from the tools menu.


Which brings up the PuTTY Configuration dialog for the actual putty.exe underlying application.


There’s a lot more features to this application that I haven’t gotten to yet… you can even change the theme.

Download PuTTY Connection Manager from

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 01/31/08

Comments (85)

  1. Zac Garrett

    Wow, I gave up the search for a free tabbed SSH client in Windows years ago. I am glad to see that someone has finally created a decent client that actually uses putty.

    What I always do with putty is rename it ssh.exe and put it in c:\windows\system32\ which allows me to just type in ssh user@host and connect to the host.

    Thanks for the tip.

  2. Mike DeRouse

    Great find but I’m having a problem with it. After closing Putty Connection Manager and restarting it, I get an error about invalidly formatted Registry entries for it’s saved hotkeys. Deleting the registry entries solves the problem until you close and restart it again. Tried turning off hotkeys in the configuration options as well as clearing all of the hotkey entries, but the error persists. Anyone else have this problem?

  3. Hemant

    Great tool i was searching it for years thanks alot…

  4. Planet Malaysia

    I get the error message: RUNTIME ERROR Unable to find PuTTY registry key : \\HKCU\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\Sessions and Unknown exception occured Main error : Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. Internal error : An attempt was made to load a program with an incorrect format. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007000B) during launch putty conection manager

  5. ganxxx

    Planet Malaysia,

    Try redownloading putty.exe and running it again and you have to have a valid IP to connect to. Good luck!

  6. PuTTYCM Admin

    Feel free to post your problems on PuTTY Connection Manager forum :


    PuTTY Connection Manager team.

  7. deerail

    Check this out for another alternative.

    In addition to doing tabbed browsing, it also allows you to split ssh windows in multiple different ways (see screenshots) as well as set up cygwin sessions. I’ve been using it for a couple of years. It’s not actively maintained, but it only has one bug that I know of and it’s only a mildly annoying one.

  8. Max

    Poderosa rocks. If it were a little less resource hungry it would be perfect client. Splitting windows is unbelievably addictive and you can make cut-paste work same way as in putty. :)

  9. John

    I tried it out but it keeps crashing on me. I’ve been using wintabber (free) for a year now and it seems to do the job for me. Works fine with putty and other apps as well!

  10. Mark

    Hi, All
    I couldn’t access the website, could any friends send me a copy of PuTTY Connection Manager or give me the link to download it.
    thank you!

  11. gotcha

    I am having login macro problem. I set login macro for my connection but this information not passed when i open a session in connection manager. I enable login macro mode as well. Please let me know if i need to change any other configuration.

  12. Abhishek Sagar

    Wow , this is wonderful
    The best part about putty is the easy text selection , which automatically goes into buffer , unlike any other clients in the unix or windows . Now with Tabs in the putty its simply the best

    Abhishek sagar

  13. Kris @ Fresh Focus

    Does anyone know of a forum that helps with using Putty itself?

  14. webugz

    I am dying for a tab styled SSH client for Linux. PuttyCM is wonderful! Will there be a Linux version, or something similar?

    Thank you very much.

  15. samrat chakraborty


    Can anybody help me to add more than 5 putty sessions in the putty manager????
    It goes off when I try to add 6th putty sessions.

    Thanks in advance,

  16. Kelly

    Try wintabber, it’s a lite window manager that can store putty sesisons, and almost any other window, like cygwin, consoles and others. They’re working on a new version with many extra’s, skinning, putty plugin’s etc.. wintabber and firefox are the only apps I need ;-)

  17. lizzy

    I am trying to open a putty session but receive the below error:

    Unable to open connection to COM1
    Unable to open serial port

    I am trying to learn putty. Any advice?


  18. Mark

    Hi lizzy,

    I’m getting the same error (but for COM3). Did you figure it out? I’m able to open the modem using HyperTerminal, but not PuTTY. I’m running Vista x86.


  19. Jadu Saikia

    Both puttyCm and Poderosa crash on my laptop running win xp. But both the tools are great innovation. Thanks, I will try on a different desktop.

  20. Brandjoker

    PuTTY needs admin permissions to connect to serial port

  21. kdb

    When I start PuTTY sessions from within PuttyCM, the screen in CM goes gray and the actual session starts OUTSIDE PuTTY CM. This happens noi matter how I start the session (quick launch, putty CM, or via a db.)


  22. Saboosh

    This sounds like the cure for all of my lifes problems but It wont start up in windows 7 :(.
    I set compatibility modes and started as admin.

  23. Amir GH

    I have the same problem exactly.
    >>>When I start PuTTY sessions from within PuttyCM, the screen in CM goes gray and the actual session starts OUTSIDE PuTTY CM. This happens noi matter how I start the session (quick launch, putty CM, or via a db.

  24. Lizzy

    Brandjoker –
    I have admin rights but cpu is not registered in my name- is this the issue?

  25. sharfah

    Nice tool BUT
    does anyone know how I can disable the Ctrl+R (rename tab) key binding?
    Ctrl+R is really useful for reverse-command search in bash, but Putty Connection Manager always throws up an annoying Rename Tab dialog!

  26. Martin

    Those with windows 7 x32/x64 with launch issues, use the alpha verison, that works for me.

  27. Martin

    if it doenst load in windows 7, use the alpha version, worked for me

  28. freelancer

    It does not respect “Disable remote-controlled window title changing” option

  29. Sam

    Hi all. I noticed many had the same problem as I where if you try to open a session, it actually opens it OUTSIDE the window, and putty cm just displays a gray background.

    It was a real head scratcher this one.. I still can’t find a solution for it in the latest So unfortunately you’ll need to downgrade to the version before,, and then go to Options, and set “Enable additional timing for PuTTY capture (ms)” to 500 ms. This should fix it. I haven’t tried upgrading afterwards to see if it permanently fixes the problem.. I’ll try and submit a bug report to the developer now.

    Several other sites mention this fix (Actually they all just copy/paste the exact incomplete shite instructions), but they fail to mention that in the latest version, that option no longer exists, hence why you have to downgrade.

    Hope this helps

  30. kuthulu

    for linux you have GCM (gnome connection manager), it’s like puttty connection manager
    check it out here:

    ps: it works in any linux environment with python and gtk

  31. Chris Childers

    Wow, I spent some time trying to get this to work on windows 7.

    Thanks to the several users who recommended the Alpha version, this worked flawlessly on Windows 7 Enterprise x64 bit edition.

  32. Rachel


    I got an error when opening a putty connection manager. Clicking it just displayed a blank screen. Also, I found an error log file. It says there:

    Unable to find PuTTY sessions (registry key ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\Sessions’ does not exist)

    I don’t remember storing a session though.
    Does anyone know how to resolve this?
    Thanks in advance!

  33. noahfaund

    I’ve got another connection manager named mRemote, it can be download from its website, release as GPL.

    As its homepage says, mRemote is a full-featured, multi-tab remote connections manager.

    Support not only SSH, but also RDP (Remote Desktop) VNC (Virtual Network Computing) ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) SSH (Secure Shell) Telnet (TELecommunication NETwork) HTTP/S (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) Rlogin (Rlogin) RAW.


  34. bruuuuuce

    Win7 users the fix is easy: Run as Administrator; i’m sure you can go from there.

  35. Ariguelo

    I like mRemote, the only disadvantage with it is that I couldn find how to save logging session. When you want to record in a file everithyng.



  36. red

    Unable to find PuTTY sessions (registry key ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\Sessions’ does not exist)

    any suggestion ?

  37. rajesh


  38. Dave

    Putty Connection Manager fails every time I minimize it. I’m using Win 7 Home Premium x64 and it won’t display when clicking on th minimized icon. I then have to kill it and all of the Putty processes manually to access it again. What a PITA. And yes I am running it as administrator.

    I’m now using mRemote and it works great though it also suffers from having to kill all of the Putty sessions manually when you exit the program.

  39. Anil Beniwal

    Hello Everybody

    I started to use putty connection manager , we are using key based authentication .

    So can anybody suggest me how to use the keys generated in rhel, which we are using now.

    I know how to generate new keys with putty and use it.

    But we want to use the keys generated in linux.


  40. Flor

    Putty CM does not work for me… big bug…
    I’m trying mRemote, Ariguelo, it can save session output.
    It uses putty as a backend, you just need to configure putty to save session output.

    Hope it helps


  41. Neil

    Fantastic, works perfect in Win7, and I’m flicking through windows like a goodun.
    Thanks and please keep it Freeware :)

  42. Ted

    I’ve used this for awhile now and it works great. I’ve been wondering if there is a way to setup Putty Connection Manager to automatically open up connections when it starts. We have to tunnel to our databases in order to use TOAD so there are 6 connections I open up almost every time I use Putty Connection Manager and it would be great if they would open automatically at startup.

  43. spoiledmonkey

    For those with this problem:
    Unable to find PuTTY sessions (registry key ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\Sessions’ does not exist)

    Run as Administrator, and that will fix the problem.

  44. jikuja

    Not usable with windows 7. Lot of focus problems with task switch and via task bar. Sometime i have to click icon five times even to see it. Uninstalled [x]

  45. egoisthedonist

    I second that. It’s completely unusable on win7. Seemed very useful though…

  46. SDRebel

    For those having problems with WIN 7, do it as I do: Never hide it and use the trick of alt+tab and alt+shift+tab.
    Do the first one and then the second one. you may have to do the first one, then again the first one and then the second one. It’s not ideal but I really haven’t found any other better application…if anyone knows how to save my passwords and login macros to survive and reset, I would greatly appreciate it.

    By the way, I’m using putty connection manager in win xp, vista, and win 7

  47. Dan Mbanga

    Hi Guys,

    to all that run putty connection manager on windows 7 and are having problem re-launching after minimizing, I’ve just found a work around that works for me.

    1. Go to the properties of the executable -> Compatibility -> Run this program in compatibility mode for:
    chose “windows vista”.

    2. Down the same window, select: Run this program as administrator.

    Apply and you should be OK. It will show when you do ALT-TAB, another way is a right click on the icon on the taskbar and select open.


  48. Patti

    I have just gotten a copy of the puttycm.exe and copied to my machine. As stated, when I launched first time, it needed me to input the location of my putty.exe and then opened. When I try to open one of my sessions, it opens a window in the connection manager but does not prompt me to login on that session. Instead a session outside the connection manager – like the one that opens when I just execute putty – is opened and this is the session which prompts me to log in.

    Do I have my settings incorrect? I’ve been trying to find anything that might indicate it should do this behavior but have not been able to find anything.

    I’m very anxious to use this interface, so any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  49. Patti

    I read the comments after posting this problem and see several people did have the same issue. I made the change suggested in version 0.7.1 beta – build 1.36 –

    I found the option to enable additional Putty capture ms in Connection Manager under Tools –> Options –> Putty

    It now works great – thanks so much.

  50. Kris

    I think this project is dead – can’t even seem to create an account to post on the forums any more. Are there any good alternatives to PuTTY CM?

  51. Paul


    SuperPutty. SuperPutty is a project that started at google code but looks abandoned. I have forked the project at and downloads/discussions can be found at

    It isn’t as fully featured as PuttyCM yet, but I am working on it and I encourage any developers out there to fork my repo at github.

  52. surtur

    windows 7 minimize

    to those who have run into the problem where it doesnt show once you minimize

    PUTTYCM actually is running in the Notification Area

    youll see the icon for it, just right click on it and then click on open

  53. surtur

    another point

    go to properties under general

    UNCLICK HIDE when minimized……………..

  54. PrimeRibAndADew

    I’ve been trying to download PUTTYCM for 2 days from and the site is down.

    “Database Error: Unable to connect to the database:Could not connect to MySQL”

    Is there anywhere else I can get it?

  55. sipherlab

    Looks like a really useful app but I get the same error as above. Does anyone have another link? thanks

  56. febi

    Help please, the same error when trying to download. Please any other links?

  57. joe


    Is it existing an equivalent for LINUX ?? or similar add on for terminal/ shell??


  58. Chris

    Please email me, defected07 [at] gmail [dot] com

    If you come across an executable of this. Both SF and the French sites are down, and have not been able to find a site that has archived it.

    Thank you!

  59. zakkie

    febi, you can download here!

  60. zakkie

    how 2 pass away the windows7 minimize problem.

    1) execute puttycm.exe
    2) click “Tools” -> “Options…”
    3) checkout “Hide when minimized”
    4) click “OK”
    5) right click on the puttycm in the taskbar and click “Pin this program to taskbar”

  61. Chris

    zakkie: Can you archive that exe for me and share it with us? It doesn’t not appear to exist, well, anywhere.


  62. Ed

    Joe: Yes, it’s called Gnome Terminal. Also Konsole will do it, but I prefer the Alt Hotkeys for switching between tabs.

  63. Tomas

    You can still get the executable from the original website:

  64. Vivek Reddy

    Direct download link

  65. booker

    If on Windows 7 x64 Ent you are getting “An unexpected error occurred: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.. Check log for further informations” in 0.7.1 beta build 136 then make sure you did not untick “Show tray icon” (unter Options -> General).

    Make it ticked and restart the app.

    Also, for me now I unticked “hide when minimised’ because I can’t get it back to reopen from the tray.

    Hope this helps


  66. bob

    Does anyone have problems right clicking on the window? It keeps closing the right click menu immediately and it is very annoying.

    I’m on Windows 7

  67. johnny tsunami

    I can’t recommend this software. I hit windows-d and this software closes with all the tabs? (in whatever state the putty connections might be. )

  68. S.SenthilKumar

    When I run PuttyCM, I get following error message displayed and

    ” PuTTY Connection Manager
    An unexpected error occured :
    Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation..

    Check log for further informations.
    (C:\Program Files\PuTTY Connection Manager\puttycm.log)”

    Below message is logged into C:\Program Files\PuTTY Connection Manager\puttycm.log

    RUNTIME ERROR : Unknown exception occured
    Main error : Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.
    Internal error : Font ‘Arial’ does not support style ‘Regular’.
    StackTrace :
    at System.Drawing.Font.CreateNativeFont()
    at System.Drawing.Font.Initialize(FontFamily family, Single emSize, FontStyle style, GraphicsUnit unit, Byte gdiCharSet, Boolean gdiVerticalFont)
    at System.Drawing.Font.Initialize(String familyName, Single emSize, FontStyle style, GraphicsUnit unit, Byte gdiCharSet, Boolean gdiVerticalFont)
    at System.Drawing.Font..ctor(SerializationInfo info, StreamingContext context)

  69. perfectlax

    The site is down :(
    Database Error: Unable to connect to the database:Could not connect to MySQL
    I don’t know for how long but does anyone know where to get it?

  70. Gavdalf

    Yes Bob,
    I have the same problem right-clicking in Windows 7

    I ended up reconfiguring my Putty sessions to use middle button as paste, not ideal since it’s prone to clicking in error. I’d rather use the right-click context menu and select ‘paste’.

    Anyone have a solution to this ?
    Also, is there any way of saving / reloading the workspace ie layout of session tabs etc ?

    Other than that, it’s great.

  71. Lz

    As usual the FAI sux !
    I have some trouble with puttycm on W2000 … seems like the font is white and background too …
    Anyone ?


  72. Nitin

    If there is problem to reopen the putty connection manager when minimised. There is one setting in PCM. Open PCM > tools> in General Tab there is option called Show tray icon and Hide when minimized. Uncheck option Hide when Minimized. That will keep the PCM window in minimized condition on the tool bar.

  73. Ed

    Anyone have any alternative sources to download this? The site linked to is down as of today and has been for a while now.


  74. Ed

    Addendum to my last post about the download page. It appears that the front-end of their site is down, but you can still access the download at it’s location:

    I found the link to it from an article here: (it’s like the 3rd or 4th listing on a search for putty connection manager).

  75. Satya Prakash

    It should prove to be a useful tool.

  76. Gavdalf

    Please, please, please add a LOAD / SAVE sesssion layout

    Still using it… it’s great.

  77. m4kd3v
  78. StephenB

    johnny tsunami – I had the same issue too & eventually figured it out. The program doesn’t actually get closed, it just minimizes to the system tray – and Windows 7 helpfully hides the icon, so you have to go through the “Show Hidden Icons” button to bring i back up.

    Go into Tools > Options and (under “General”) make sure that “Hide when minimized” is not checked. Make sure to leave “Show tray icon” checked though, otherwise weird errors occur on Win7.

  79. Andrew

    The lastest (Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:42 am) debug version

    This Alfa version worked flawlessly on Windows 7 Enterprise x64 bit edition.

  80. Ankush

    this has made the life much easier but the focus problem is a pain. After minimizing to tray, when I try to restore, most of times (not always) it doesn’t get the focus. I have to minimize all the other windows to see PCM. Anyone knows of any solution? I am using version 0.7.1 BETA (build 136)

  81. mouse

    @Ankush, click on the windows bar for putty CM with right button, sometimes work, sometimes also by choosing “restore” ;)

  82. Alex Guzman

    I would like to learn putty! Can anyone tell me where to start? What do i have to download? Thanks for your help!!!

  83. Silvi

    that is happening to me to. Every time I open a session, the screem goes crey and the session opens outside putty cm. Anybody knows how to fix this?

  84. Yannick Jost

    For the people have problems with PuTTY starting outside of PuttyCM, try adding a delay here : Tools/Options/Plugins/PuTTY/”Enable additional timing for PuTTY capture”

    Try for example 300 or 500 ms

  85. Dan

    I should mention that the link above is for version 0.7.1 build 223 (alpha)

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