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How to connect to Ubuntu from Windows

Do you need to access a remote Ubuntu PC or Server from your Microsoft Windows PC? Unsure about how to do it? Follow along with this guide as we show you how to connect to Ubuntu from Windows!

Note: this guide covers Windows 10. If you are not using Windows 10, the instructions below may not work.

Connect to Ubuntu from Windows over the command-line

If you’re trying to connect to Ubuntu to access the command-line from Microsoft Windows, your best bet is to use SSH. Why? At this point, SSH is a universal protocol, and every operating system, from Linux to Windows, and even Mac OS have native support for it.

In the past, in Microsoft Windows, if you wanted to access your Ubuntu operating system, you needed to install a third-party SSH tool like Putty. Well, thanks to changes in Windows 10, you can now do it by launching Windows Powershell.

To connect to your Ubuntu computer from Windows over the command-line, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Head over to the Ubuntu PC or Ubuntu Server, and launch a terminal window. Then, with the terminal window open, update the system.

Step 2: After updating the system, use the apt install command below to install the OpenSSH server, which will automatically set up SSH on Ubuntu.

sudo apt install openssh-server

Having issues with OpenSSH Server? Follow our guide on how to set it up.

Step 3: After setting up OpenSSH server on your Ubuntu system, leave it be and go to the Windows PC.

Step 4: On the Windows PC, launch the PowerShell terminal. Unsure on how to start the Powershell terminal window? Do the following.

First, press the Win key on the keyboard to bring open the search box. Then, type in “PowerShell.” Look through the search results and launch PowerShell.

Step 5: Click on the PowerShell prompt with the mouse, and type in the Ubuntu PC’s username. Then, after the username, add an @ symbol, and the Ubuntu computer’s hostname. Or, if you don’t want to use the hostname, use the computer’s IP address. The command should look like the example below.

ssh ubuntu-user-name-here@ubuntu-computer-hostname-or-ip

Step 6: After writing in the SSH command in PowerShell, press the Enter key on the keyboard to initiate an outbound connection to the remote Ubuntu PC.

Step 7: Once you’ve successfully made a connection to the Ubuntu PC for the first time, you will see a message in the PowerShell terminal prompt. It states that you must accept the SSH connection, trust it, and add it to your known hosts. Do so.

Assuming the SSH connection to the Ubuntu PC is successful, you will now have full command-line access to your remote Ubuntu PC from Microsoft PowerShell. Feel free to use the terminal as if you were sitting right in front of it.

Need to exit the SSH session? Type in the exit command.


Connect to Ubuntu from Windows via GUI

You may need to access the file system of your remote Ubuntu PC via the Windows Explorer UI.  FTP is the easiest way to remotely access the Ubuntu PC’s files from the Windows Explorer UI, as FTP is easily integrated within windows.

Note: you must set up an FTP server on your remote Ubuntu PC or Server. Please follow this guide here to learn how to get it set up.

To access your Ubuntu PC’s files on Windows through the Explorer UI, do the following.

Step 1: Open up Windows Explorer.

Step 2: Look to the sidebar in Windows Explorer for “This PC” and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Inside “This PC,” select “Add a network location” in the top bar.

Step 4: Go through the network wizard, till you get to, “Where do you want to create this network location?” Then, select “Choose a custom network location” and select “Next.”

Step 5: In the location box, type in ftp:// followed by the hostname (or IP address) of the remote Ubuntu PC.


Step 6: Click through to add the FTP server attached to the system.

Step 7: After adding the FTP server as a network location, you will see the remote FTP server location available in “This PC” under the “Network locations” section — double-click on the network location to access the Ubuntu PC’s files remotely.

Access FTP without adding a network location

You may want to access the Ubuntu PC’s files without adding a network location. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Open up File Explorer, and click on the address bar with the mouse.

Step 2: Clear the location data from the address bar with the Backspace button.

Step 3: Write in the FTP server address in the address bar. It should look like the example below.


Step 4: Press the Enter key on the keyboard to access the FTP server.

1 Comment

  1. What happened to windows file sharing, samba? My Ethernet (wire) works, but nothing mentioned anywhere in settings about it, and it says WiFi and Bluetooth not found, (network only has share screen or some such thing, and set up VPN, but works fine on the wire, as I say) Once in a while, I get a “windows network” icon, but always says can’t find network server. Why can’t I see my working network, existing wifi or bluetooth.. where’s SAMBA? 🙂

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