How to Transfer PuTTY Sessions To Another Windows Machine

last updated in Categories Networking, OpenBSD, UNIX, Windows, Windows server, windows vista

This is an user contributed article.


PuTTY is a terminal emulator application which can act as a client for the SSH, Telnet, rlogin, and raw TCP computing protocols. You can use putty for remote login or to control your router connected via serial devices.

By default PuTTY stores the session information in the registry on Windows machine. If you have several PuTTY sessions stored in one laptop and would like to transfer those sessions to another laptop, you need to transfer HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham registry key and value as explained below:

Export the PuTTY registry key on source windows machine

Click on Start -> Run -> and enter the following regedit command in the run dialog box, which will place the PuTTY registry key and value on your desktop in the putty-registry.reg file. Please note that the name of the registry key (Simon Thatham) is the author of PuTTY.

regedit /e "%userprofile%\desktop\putty-registry.reg" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Simontatham

You can also launch the registry and interactively export the registry key value as shown below. Click on Start -> Run -> regedit -> Click File menu -> Click Export menu-item -> Enter HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Simontatham in the “Selected branch” -> Save the putty-registry.reg to your desktop.

Import the PuTTY registry key on destination windows machine

Transfer the putty-registry.reg to the destination Windows machine. Right click on the .reg file and select Merge as shown below. This will display a confirmation message: Are you sure you want to add the information in putty-registry.reg to registry?. Click on ‘Yes’ to accept this message.

Launch the putty to verify the new sessions are transferred successfully. The registry key merge will not delete the previous PuTTY sessions. Instead, it will merge the entries to the existing PuTTY sessions on the destination windows machine.

You can also import the registry key and value interactively: Click on Start -> Run -> regedit -> Click File menu -> Click Import menu-item ->select the putty-registry.reg -> click on Import, to import the PuTTY sessions to the destination windows machine.

Turbocharge PuTTY with 12 Powerful Add-Ons explains about some modified versions of the PuTTY that stores the session information in a file instead of Windows registry.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

30 comment

  1. Unfortunately the command line tool doesn’t work in Vista 64 bit. The data is still there, and simple to export though. The path on my Vista machine ended up being:


    I’d recommend just using the find utility and searching for SimonTatham 🙂

  2. If you open the file putty.conf from Program files (x86) directory, you will see:
    ;Xming putty.conf
    sshk&sess=%APPDATA%Portable PuTTY

    It is the place to find sessions and ssh’s…

  3. What is the regedit command line to import/add the .reg file, rather than using the windows gui as described?

  4. Just had a “new” windows baseline (WinXP) installed on my machine at work, and using putty .60. I exported and imported my putty registry settings using the regedit GUI as shown above, and I can see them in the registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER => software => SimonTatham => Putty => Sessions, but when I run the putty.exe, there are no saved sessions. Anyone know how to make them appear? Thanks in advance…

  5. Hi,

    I’d need a bit help to create a putty entries.
    I have to connect to a lots of different databases(on different hosts) and i like to store them. (database name -> host name). Only type the database name to the host field and it connect to the right host.
    How could i sotre the database names and merge them to the appropriate host names?

    Thank You in advnace

  6. On x64, regedit usually runs as Administrator (or whichever privileged user you configured), so HKEY_CURRENT_USER does not represent the user you are logged in with (unless it IS Administrator of course).

    To export or import my putty registry files, I use the REG command line (which does not require UAC elevation):

    C:somewhereonahost> REG EXPORT HKCUSoftwareSimonTathamPuTTYSessions putty_sessions.reg
    C:onanotherhost> REG IMPORT putty_sessions.reg

  7. I need to present the current sessionlist to any user that subsequently log on to the computer. So far I havn’t had luck putting sessions into a “default user” profile. New users are not local admins.
    Any ideas?

  8. Will I be able to merge the registry info from my old XP machine to my new Win7 installation?

  9. I Do not recommend attempting this at all. Made two attempts on two separate machines and both had to have their OS re-installed due to corruption within the registry.

    This is why messing with the registry is dangerous and not a good idea.

    1. If you’re afraid of registry corruption, you should create a new system user, give it the permissions to edit only Putty’s part of the registry and run your scripts with it.

      Never run with admin rights something that dives into the registry.

  10. It is completely weird to store the sessions in the windows registry and not in a simple file. The easiest way is to set up everything new from scratch.

  11. How would you pull this info off it the drive was no longer bootable but still worked when plugged in to the a new system?

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