Linux Essential Tools for Windows Techs

If you have spent your entire time working in the IT world on Windows machines, it may seem daunting to venture into the Linux world. You can prepare yourself, however, by setting up a kit of essential tools.

Connecting to a Linux Console

Managing a Linux machine is largely accomplished via a command-line interface. Practically all Linux machines provide a command-line interface over IP via an SSH server.

Download and Install an SSH Client

By far the most popular Windows client to connect to Linux SSH servers is Putty, which can be downloaded from:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

This page presents a number of options, but the simplest road is to download the MSI-based installer; at the time of writing of this article, the stable version is “putty-0.67-installer.msi”. Simply download the file and install the same way as any other Windows application.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Putty

Launch the Putty application, and insert the IP Address for the machine you wish to manage in the “Host Name” field. By default, the “Connection type” will be set to “SSH” – this is fine.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Putty_1

Click on the “Open” button to connect.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Putty_2

The first time you connect to your server, Putty will advise you that it does not have a record of this server’s fingerprint – click “Yes” if you trust the host you are trying to connect to.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Putty_3

Once you have connected, you will be prompted for your username and password; after successful login you will be presented with the command prompt.

Downloading Files from a Linux Machine

When you need to examine files that reside on a Linux machine, the simplest way is to download the files to your machine so you can examine the files with your own favorite tools.

Download and Install an SCP (Secure Copy) Client

One of the most popular download tools for this task is the Filezilla Client, which can be downloaded from:

https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?show_all=1

This page presents a number of options, but the simplest road is to download the Setup EXE installer; at the time of writing of this article, the stable version is “FileZilla_3.24.0_win64-setup.exe”. Simply download the file and install the same way as any other Windows application.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Filezilla Client

Launch the Filezilla Client, go to “File -> Site Manager”, and click on the “New Site” button.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Filezilla Client_1

  • In the “Host” field, enter the IP Address or Host name of the Linux machine you wish to work with.
  • In the “Port” field, enter 22.
  • In the “Protocol” field, select “SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol”.
  • In the “Logon Type” field, select “Normal”.
  • In the “User” and “Password” fields, enter the username and password for your Linux machine.
  • Click on the “Connect” button.

Connecting to the SSH Server using Filezilla Client_2

This will connect you to the Linux machine. By default, the right-hand-side pane will present you with the contents of your user’s home directory; in my example, that will be “/home/kevin”. The left-hand-side pane will present you with the contents of your local machine’s file system, and you can drag-and-drop files as you need. Both panes will allow you to navigate the folder structure, allowing you to graphically select and copy files as needed.

Keep in mind that even though every user has his own “home” folder, in the format of “/home/”, the “root” user is an exception, since the home folder for the “root” user is “/root”.