Autostart putty's pagent

By now I am fairly used to introduce people with a non-programming background to putty when they have to access some of our IT infrastructure that requires public key authentication. Once people start getting comfortable with it I usually get asked whether it would be possible to prevent them having to manually start the pagent.exe every time they log into their system.

The answer is of course: yes. Like most operating systems, Windows provides a way to automatically start a service or launch a program upon booting and/or user login. As pagent.exe is a simple user space application, there’s not a whole lot to it. Simply follow the following proceddure:

  1. Hit Ctrl+R to bring up the Windows runner.
  2. Type shell:startup and hit enter. A Windows file explorer window will appear.
  3. Create a shortcut that points to your pagent.exe binary in there.

And that’s already it. Whenever your user logs into the system, Windows will automatically start pagent.exe.

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