How to SSH onto a Drobo 5N from Microsoft Windows

A recent comment on this blog asked me if I could explain the steps to SSH onto a Drobo 5N.

This post aims to outline the steps to install the SSH server and the client software to install on your Windows machine.



Install Dropbear

Dropbear is quick and easy to install:
  • download the zipfile from the Drobo App page
  • open the zipfile, then drag "dropbear.tgz" file from Dropbear folder onto the mounted DroboApp share
  • restart the device
  • once the device has completed starting up you should be able to ssh onto it using 'root' as both the username and password; please change this immediately using 'passwd root'.

Install PuTTY

PuTTY is an excellent, free SSH client for MS Windows systems. I've been happily using it for years if I'm ever using a Windows PC and need to SSH somewhere.
  • download the putty-X.XX-installer.exe from the Putty Download Page
  • double click the downloaded executable; follow the instructions to install the binaries

Connect to your Drobo

You can quickly connect to your Drobo:
  • look up the IP address of your Drobo device using Drobo Dashboard
    You can find the Network Information under the Status section of the dashboard for your device.

  • open PuTTY
  • enter the connection details "root@<ip-address>"

  • when prompted use the password "root" to authenticate
You should now be logged-in and the PuTTY window should look like this:


Change the default password

It's good practice to change publicly known default passwords as soon as possible. Sure, it's unlikely that anyone will connect to your network, stumble across your Drobo, connect, and do Evil Things™ but why take the risk.

It's also a good way to give an example of using the SSH session.

Simply type 'passwd', press Enter and follow the prompts. You won't see any output when you're typing your new password; you don't know how many spycams have been installed while you were at work during the day.


You'll need some basic unix knowledge if you want to explore on your own. Or you can just follow online tutorials; for example, my post on setting up MySQL.

Saving an SSH session

If you have configured your home router to assign a fixed IP address to your Drobo you might want to save the session in PuTTY so that you don't need to type the username and destination every time you want to reconnect.

Open the menu by clicking on the icon in the top left of the PuTTY window, and choose New Session.
  • enter the connection details as before ( "root@<ip-address>")
  • in the text input field for Saved Sessions enter a name to call the session ('MyDrobo')
  • click 'Save'

You should now be able to connect to your Drobo by double-clicking on the name of the saved session.