# Chapter 7: Using the command-line connection tool Plink

Plink (PuTTY Link) is a command-line connection tool similar to UNIX ssh. It is mostly used for automated operations, such as making CVS access a repository on a remote server.

Plink is probably not what you want if you want to run an interactive session in a console window.

Plink is a command line application. This means that you cannot just double-click on its icon to run it and instead you have to bring up a console window. In Windows 95, 98, and ME, this is called an "MS-DOS Prompt", and in Windows NT and 2000 it is called a "Command Prompt". It should be available from the Programs section of your Start Menu.

In order to use Plink, the file plink.exe will need either to be on your PATH or in your current directory. To add the directory containing Plink to your PATH environment variable, type into the console window:

set PATH=C:\path\to\putty\directory;%PATH%


This will only work for the lifetime of that particular console window. To set your PATH more permanently on Windows NT, use the Environment tab of the System Control Panel. On Windows 95, 98, and ME, you will need to edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT to include a set command like the one above.

This section describes the basics of how to use Plink for interactive logins and for automated processes.

Once you've got a console window to type into, you can just type plink on its own to bring up a usage message. This tells you the version of Plink you're using, and gives you a brief summary of how to use Plink:

Z:\sysosd>plink
Release 0.50
Options:
-v        show verbose messages
-ssh      force use of ssh protocol
-P port   connect to specified port


To make a simple interactive connection to a remote server, just type plink and then the host name:

Z:\sysosd>plink login.example.com

Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 flunky.example.com


You should then be able to log in as normal and run a session. The output sent by the server will be written straight to your command prompt window, which will most likely not interpret terminal control codes in the way the server expects it to. So if you run any full-screen applications, for example, you can expect to see strange characters appearing in your window. Interactive connections like this are not the main point of Plink.

In order to connect with a different protocol, you can give the command line options -ssh, -telnet, -rlogin or -raw. To make an SSH connection, for example:

Z:\sysosd>plink -ssh login.example.com

Z:\sysosd>plink my-ssh-session