Working with Git on Windows  •  Beanstalk Guides

Checking your connection

Before trying to access your Beanstalk repository, check if the connection to your remote repository works. In order to do that, run Git Bash, and enter this command, replacing accountname with your account name:

Choosing a git distribution

There are two competing Git packages for Windows: a Cygwin-based Git and a version called msysGit. We will describe how to install the msysGit package. We recommend installing msysGit because we’ve found it’s easier to work with than the Cygwin based installation.

Generating a key pair

To do this you need to run Git Bash, which can be found in your Start menu. Run the command:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

How to create an ssh key

SSH keys are generated through a public key cryptographic algorithm, the most common being RSA or DSA. At a very high level SSH keys are generated through a mathematical formula that takes 2 prime numbers and a random seed variable to output the public and private key.

SSH keys are created using a key generation tool. The SSH command line tool suite includes a keygen tool. Most git hosting providers offer guides on how to create an SSH Key.

Installing git

Once you have downloaded the msysGit executable, double click on it to start the installation wizard. Leave the default directory options. When you get to the “Adjusting your Path environment” setting, select the “Run Git from the Windows Command Prompt” option.

Choosing this option will make it easy for you to run Git commands from the Windows Command Prompt (command line) if you choose. Command Prompt is a simple tool, where you can run commands, switch through folders, manage files and it can be ran by selecting Run… in Start menu, and executing cmd command.

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Git Bash

You will notice that for the rest of this article we will use Git Bash for running Git commands. The Git Bash tool works in the same way as the default Windows’ Command Prompt, but has some special features. With Git Bash you’ll be able to use a number of UNIX command line tools along with access to Git, and we recommend it since it’s often simpler to use than the Windows Command Prompt.

You can run it by right clicking your mouse on the desktop, and selecting from pop up window.

When you reach the step “Configuring the line ending conversions”, make sure to leave the option “Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings” selected. This option makes sure that Git converts LF to CRLF when checking out text files.

Important note: The most common problems when setting up Git on Windows are related to SSH keys. Git uses SSH keys to securely access your repositories, and in Windows SSH keys are often searched on the wrong path when you try to use Git.

If you use an older version of msysGit, you may encounter a step called “Choosing the SSH executables”. If you encounter that dialog, we recommend that you choose the “Use OpenSSH” option.

After you have successfully installed Git on Windows, you’ll need to provide secure communication with your Git repositories by creating and installing SSH keys.

Installing putty

You can download the PuTTY installation package and run it. The latest installation package at the moment of writing this article is putty-0.60-installer.exe which can be found under “A Windows installer for everything except PuTTYtel” heading.

Install PuTTY to the default recommended location, typically c:Program FilesPuTTY. Once installed, navigate to the installation folder where you will find:

You will also find some other files, but for this guide you only need to know about plink, puttygen, pageant and putty.

Now what?

Now that you have Git properly installed and configured, you can use a client of your choice. Whether you choose a terminal or a GUI, it is a good idea to learn the basic concepts and commands for versioning your files before. Here’s some recommended reading to get you started:


SSH keys are used to authenticate secure connections. Following this guide, you will be able to create and start using an SSH key. Git is capable of using SSH keys instead of traditional  password authentication when pushing or pulling to remote repositories. Modern hosted git solutions like Bitbucket support SSH key authentication.

Using openssh and generating ssh keys with ssh-keygen

To communicate with the remote Git repository in your Beanstalk account from your Windows computer, you will need to generate an SSH key pair for that computer. This process requires only a few steps, but you do first need to install msysGit using the full installer as described above.

Windows linux subsystem

Modern windows environments offer a windows linux subsystem. The windows linux subsystem offers a full linux shell within a traditional windows environment. If a linux subsystem is available the same steps previously discussed for Linux and Mac can be followed with in the windows linux subsystem.

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