Last updated: 12 December, 2016.
This article has been updated to use the latest known versions/forks of Win-SSHFS and DOKANY(Dokan). Don’t forget to thank and for their ongoing work!

SSHFS for Windows.
When I started doing Linux SSH command line tutorials, I found out about SSHFS which allows developers to remotely work on a website hosting server. Nowadays, I tell people that I can’t live without it. This tutorial will list the steps to set up an SSHFS environment for Windows.

Windows SSHFS Manager - Mount your website drive!

Windows SSHFS Manager – Mount your website drive!


Quick List of SSH requirements for Windows

I’ll be including the latest versions that work for me. Generally, you should install the latest versions for WinSSHFS and Dokan.

  • Dokan Library (dokan | v1.0.1)
  • A Windows machine (Windows 10 64-bit)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Pre-bundled with Windows 8+)
  • Win-SSHFS (dimov-cz fork, 1.6.0.14)
  • Sublime Text (For awesome editing)
  • An SSH-enabled server and user

If you’re not on Windows 10 just yet, head off play-asia.com to purchase a legit OEM version for $25 USD.

Instructions for those in a hurry

  • Dependency: Pre Windows-8 Users: install .NET framework 4. Windows 10 and 8 ship with the .NET framework. Refer to the table below to see full list.
  • Install Dokany SSHFS
  • Install Win-SSHFS
  • Open Win-SSHFS and add a new drive. Do not launch as admin. Enter your server’s connection details, either using password or key-based authentication
  • Optional: Set up your SSH keys for passwordless connections.

Full instructions for setting up Windows SSHFS

These instructions are for setting up SSHFS on Windows 10 but should be the same for earlier versions, down to Windows XP SP3.

Install Dokany by grabbing the setup.exe file from the latest release from the official repo.

The post 1.0 Dokan installer (post 1.0) also installs the Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2015  it so you won’t need to worry about installing other dependencies now.

After installing Dokan, you can proceed with installing Dimov-CV’s fork of win-sshfs, a convenient Dokan-bound GUI tool for mounting SSHFS drives. Grab the latest MSI installer from the official Windows SSHFS repo.

The WinSSHFS installer doesn’t show an installation progress window for me when doing an install. After you run the WinSSHFS msi installer, it’ll ask for installation permissions and once done, you’ll see the WinSSHFS shortcut on your Desktop. Double click on the icon to run it.

Important note: Don’t run it as admin, it shouldn’t be required and can cause another possible difficulties. If you think it it’s required for some situation, you can submit an issue on the official Win SSHFS github repo.

WinSSHFS ends up going to your taskbar after running the application. You may have to show your hidden icons to see it. Once you find the WinSSHFS icon, click on it to open the application window.

Windows 10 SSHFS

After launching, enter the details for your SSH server. I suggest to have a play around with the different authentication methods available for SSHFS mounting.

SSHFS Windows 10

Remember to save the new sshfs image first before mounting it. I personally use no-password ssh-keys for authentication when on a shell. It’s a lot easier than entering the password every time I connect. If you do decide to use SSH password authentication, that’s fine. Win-SSHFS will save your password for next time.

Extra Tip for Those Who Use Sublime Text

If you have sublime text, you can open whichever folder you want by dragging it to your workspace! Don’t forget to unmount the drive from the SSHFS Manager once you are done.

What is SSHFS?

Secure Shell (SSH) is a secure protocol for securely getting access to a remote server. SSHFS is a tool that uses SSH to enable mounting of a remote filesystem on a local machine. SSHFS allows the use of password or key-based authentications and server connections are encrypted. Both the server and client (your computer) agree on a temporary session key to use for decrypting and encrypting data while they’re being transferred. Algorithms such as AES or RC4 are used for SSH decryption or encryption.

Dokan

The Dokan Library allows you to create file systems without writing device driver. It is similar to FUSE(Linux user mode file system) but it has been designed specifically for Windows.

What is Dokany

Dokany is a fork of Dokan 0.6.0 with bug fixes, clean change history and updated to build with latest tools.

Win-SSHFS

SSH(SFTP) filesystem made using Dokan and SSH.NET library. It allows you to mount remote computers via SFTP protocol like windows network drives.

.NET Frameworks

Taken from Wikipedia’s official article, for reference. To run dokan previously, I had it in my instructions to install .NET 4. This is already included in Windows 10 and Windows 8. I’m still leaving the table just in case people need to refer back to it.

.NET Framework 4 releases
VersionRelease dateIncluded inReplaces
Development toolWindowsWindows Server
4.02010-04-12Visual Studio 2010N/AN/AN/A
4.52012-08-15Visual Studio 2012820124.0
4.5.12013-10-17Visual Studio 20138.12012 R24.0, 4.5
4.5.22014-05-05N/AN/AN/A4.0, 4.5, 4.5.1


The author would like to thank the following authors/developers/articles:

Dokan Official Website
Ubuntu’s Article on SSHFS
Enable SSH for a user in Parallels Plesk SSHFS in Windows – Linhost Article
I have taken a few images from the site for academic purposes.
Win SSHFS on Google Code

Updates

  • 4 December 2016 – Retested on 10, using the latest versions for win-sshfs and dokany.
  • 23 June, 2015 – Retested on 8.1, using the latest versions for win-sshfs and dokany.

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