TortoiseGit with openssh key not authenticating using ssh-agent

I'm setting up a git environment on Windows XP (msysGit 1.7.11, TortoiseGit 1.7.14) and trying to achieve following points :

  • ssh connection on a port different than default 22
  • ssh authentification handled by ssh-agent

So I create a ~/.ssh/config file :

Host gitbox
   User gitolite
   Hostname XX.XX.XX.XX
   Port 154
   PreferredAuthentications publickey
   IdentityFile "/c/Documents and Settings/kraymer/.ssh/id_rsa"

When using the git bash CLI, everything works as intended.

I'm struggling with TortoiseGit. I first installed TortoiseGit with Plink and using Pageant to load ssh private key. The automatic authentication (Pageant) worked but setup was a fail as TortoiseGit don't recognize git repos url formatted as gitolite@gitbox/repo.git.

I then decided to install TortoiseGit using openssh client, so the config file can be read by the ssh client, and to mimic the git CLI setup. I picked the ssh.exe shipped with msys git as ssh client in TortoiseGit settings. When doing a git pull, the remote url is now resolved but the passphrase password is asked while I expect ssh-agent automatic authentication to occur.

Is it possible to make TortoiseGit work with ssh-agent ? Or make TortoiseGit (Plink) aware of .ssh/config ?

Edit #1

Following @VonC advice I configured my $HOME variable. When I click Show environment variables in TortoiseGit I now have :

 HOME=C:\Documents and Settings\kraymer  
 HOMEPATH=\Documents and Settings\kraymer 

But git pull still require I enter passphrase.


No tweaks needed.

Just make TortoiseGit point to the same ssh client used by git itself, see the screenshot:

This should be C:\Program Files\Git\usr\bin\ssh.exe in latest version of Git as mentioned by Aleksey Kontsevich in the comments.

I first installed TortoiseGit with Plink and using Pageant to load ssh private key. The automatic authentication (Pageant) worked but setup was a fail as TortoiseGit don't recognize git repos url formatted as gitolite@gitbox/repo.git.

I finally found a workaround which consist to create a PuTTY session with the same name that the ssh alias (ie gitbox in the question). This way I can clone as git clone gitbox/monrepo in the CLI and the origin syntax is correctly handled by TortoiseGit.

1) Cygwin

Use approach described in the following article:

Password will be asked only once on the cygwin session startup. !!! Before exiting cygwin session don't forget to kill ssh-agent process (use ps for find process PID and kill -9).

We are using separate approach for cygwin, because cygwin by some reason doesn't see processes started externally in windows environment.

2, 3) MsysGit, TortoiseGit

Useful link:

Install MsysGit. Install TortoiseGit (check openssh instead of plink during installation). !!! Check systems variables. If there is GIT_SSH variable present - remove it.

Go to TortoiseGit->Settings->General

Set Git exe Path to /bin Set External dll path to /mingw/bin

Go to TortoiseGit->Settings->Network Set SSH Client property to /bin/ssh.exe

Define system variable SSH_AUTH_SOCKS=C:\temp.ssh-socket

Start cmd.exe and execute following commands(since we installed MsysGit all following commands are accessible in cmd - /bin is added to system PATH variable):

# following command is required to execute for avoiding Address already bind message when ssh-agen is not started yet but .ssh-socket exists after previous agent session

# Starting ssh-agent
ssh-agent -a "%SSH_AUTH_SOCK%"

# Adding our openssh key
ssh-add "%USERPROFILE%\.ssh\id_rsa"

# Type password for your key

That's it. From that moment you can execute git push, git pull from TortoiseGit and MsysGit without prompting passphrase.

When ssh-agent is no longer required you can kill it through windows task manager.

None of the above answers worked for me.

I created this batch file to solve the problem.

CALL "C:\Program Files\Git\cmd\start-ssh-agent.cmd"

Run this once, and enter your passphrase.

Then you can use tortoisegit with openssh without having to enter your passphrase for every operation.

Make sure to launch your TortoiseGit in an environment where HOME is defined, and reference the parent directory of .ssh. This is important since, on Windows, HOME isn't defined by default.

See as an example: "Auth fails on Windows XP with git and tortoisegit". (Other possible sources: "How to I tell Git for Windows where to find my private RSA key?")

There seems to be a whole variety of options to solve this. As none of the above have worked for me, I tought I'd share what helped for me.

Screenshot: Network settings / Git SSH Client

In Settings... -> Network -> SSH -> SSH client, set the client to C:\Program Files\TortoiseGit\bin\TortoiseGitPlink.exe. Using Pageant, you're then automatically authenticated as expected, otherwise you are prompted for your private key passphrase. Make sure the "Autoload Putty Key" option is checked in the push dialog.

Since the explanations here are a bit outdated, I decided to post my solution.

I am using Git Bash and TortoiseGit 2.8.0 in Windows 10, which are common nowadays.

I set ssh.exe as SSH client in Settings->Network as explained in previous posts.

I created a script with the following commands, as explained in a previous comment. You might also want to set a HOME environment variable, in case your system does not do it automatically. Assuming your home is in drive H:\ you can add the following lines:

CALL "C:\Program Files\Git\cmd\start-ssh-agent.cmd"

I added the script using Win logo+R shell:startup to the startup folder. Alternatively, you can add the script to the registry to guarantee that it runs before other processes:


Make sure to type exit to close the console and allow for the variable to be set for future processes.

Need Your Help

How can I detect if Flash is installed and if not, display a hidden div that informs the user?

javascript jquery flash detection

How can I use javascript/jQuery/etc to detect if Flash is installed and if it isn't, display a div that contains information informing the user that they need to install flash?