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Jul 17, 2011

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Putty Session Times Out Too Fast! Let's NEVER time out!

Amazon When I use Putty to run an SSH session it always times out too quickly. How do I make it so that the session never times out?

Putty is one of the most popular Windows based network connection clients. The protocols it supports include SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, Serial, Raw. Whenever I ssh into my ssh server and wait a bit the session times out! The reason is my SSH server sets a timeout value and when my inactivity exceeds that value the session times out. When it happens and when I type something the following dialog window pops up:

Putty Session Timeout Error Window

Isn't it annoying? How the hell do I tell the session to NEVER time out? One way is to configure your remote server to never time out. However it may be complicated and you may not have the permission to do so. Luckily there's a way for Putty to help you achieve this goal!

You can actually tell Putty to keep sending packets to the remote server so that the server thinks the session is alive and will not time out. Isn't that nice? Simply follow the following steps.

1. Create a session profile!
Fill in the session credentials of the session you regularly access by filling out the following fields: Host Name (or IP address), Port, Connection type. A sample screen shot looks like this:

Putty Session Configuration Window

2. Configure your session profile!
Go to Connection on the left tree and you should see the following screen shot:

Putty Connection Configuration Window

The red rectangle highlights what you need to change. The value of 'Seconds between keepalives (0 to turn off)' is the number of seconds between each two null packets sent to the destination server to keep the session alive. Simply change the value to something like 10. Keep in mind the value depends on how quickly your remote server times out your session when you are inactive. If you find that your session still times out set the value lower.

3. Save your session profile!
Click on Session on the left to go back to the session window which looks like:

Putty Session Configuration Window

Give it a name in the 'Saved Sessions' field. In the example the value of that field is 'daltrac'. Then click on Save button. Now you've saved this session profile. Whenever you want to access a session created by this profile simply click on it in the saved session list and click on Open button!

Now you should be able to run the session and keep the session indefinitely without it timing out. Again this is because Putty keeps sending packets to the remote server to make it think that the session is alive.

If you have any questions please let me know and I will do my best to help you!
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