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I use a Yubikey to store a GPG key pair and I like to use this key pair as my SSH key too. GPG on Windows exposes a Pageant style SSH agent and I wanted a way to use this key within WSL. I have rewritten this in Go as it means the release is a single simple binary, and I like Go.

How to use with WSL

  1. On the Windows side start Pageant (or compatible agent such as gpg4win).

  2. Run wsl-ssh-pageant.exe --wsl C:\wsl-ssh-pageant\ssh-agent.sock (or any other path, max ~100 characters)

  3. In WSL export the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable to point at the socket, for example, if you have ssh-agent.sock in C:\wsl-ssh-pageant

$ export SSH_AUTH_SOCK=/mnt/c/wsl-ssh-pageant/ssh-agent.sock
  1. The SSH keys from Pageant should now be usable by ssh

How to use with Windows 10 native OpenSSH client

  1. On the Windows side start Pageant (or compatible agent such as gpg4win).

  2. Run wsl-ssh-pageant.exe --winssh ssh-pageant (or any other name)

  3. In cmd export the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable or define it in your Environment Variables on Windows. Use the name you gave the pipe, for example:

$ set SSH_AUTH_SOCK=\\.\pipe\ssh-pageant
  1. The SSH keys from Pageant should now be usable by the native Windows SSH client, try using ssh in cmd.exe

Systray Integration

To add an icon to the systray run wsl-ssh-pageant.exe --systray --winssh ssh-pageant (or using --wsl).


You can use both --winssh and --wsl parameters at the same time with the same process to proxy for both

Frequently asked questions

How do I download it?

Grab the latest release on the releases page.

How do I build this?

For WSL support you will need Go 1.12 or later,. Go 1.12 added support for AF_UNIX sockets on Windows.

To create the assets.go run:

go generate

To create a build without a console window:

go build -ldflags -H=windowsgui

What version of Windows do I need?

You need Windows 10 1803 or later for WSL support as it is the first version supporting AF_UNIX sockets. You can still use this with the native Windows SSH client on earlier builds.

The -gui.exe binary doesn't have a GUI? (immediately closes)

The difference between the gui.exe binary and the regular binaries is the subsystem as set in the PE header. The gui.exe binary is set with the Win32 subsystem so that it doesn't spawn a command line, allowing it to be launched on startup. The regular binary has the console subsystem so it does launch a command line if double clicked, and will block the command line as expected. Note: You may launch either binary with the -systray flag to have a systray icon whilst the tool is running, this only provides a way to quit the application.

You didn't answer my question!

Please open an issue, I do try and keep on top of them, promise.


  • Thanks to John Starks for npiperelay for an example of a more secure way to create a stream between WSL and Linux before AF_UNIX sockets were available.
  • Thanks for Mark Dietzer for several contributions to the old .NET implementation.