Is it possible to use PuTTY as the UI for the Windows shell?

The only way you could achieve this is to install an SSH or Telnet server into Windows. Windows comes with a Telnet server in the Add/Remove Windows Components.

Then you can use PuTTY to connect to the local computer and log in.

However, you will still be running cmd.exe within PuTTY, so you won't really gain anything by this - in fact it will probably be worse.

If you want the full Bash experience you should look at installing Cygwin to give you a more Linux-like interface.

Also, you can use netcat:

nc -L -p 1234 -e cmd.exe

And then connect to localhost on port 1234 using PuTTY (RAW type connection). It is still not the best, but at least you don't have to install SSH or Telnet servers. (Also, Unix-like color codes seem to work for example:

grep --color=always ...

Using Windows grep seems to work properly.

Alternatively to Cygwin, you can get more minimalistic bash environment with MSys-Base.

  • get mingw-get
  • install msys-base using mingw-get install msys-base

For terminal use MinTTY which is very similar to PuTTY.