Migrate ssh keys to new computer

I need to use a set of ssh keys on a new machine. In general, it is best to generate new keys instead of copying old keys, but this is a temporary solution.

So, given that disclaimer, I copied the ~/.ssh folder from the old machine into a temp folder on the new machine. This avoids copying over anything in the new machine’s ~/.ssh folder. Copy all keyname, keyname.pub files to ~/.ssh. Also, copy the ~/.ssh/config (if you have one). Finally, the new computer needs to add the keys. Do this with command for each key:

$ ssh-add keyname

You will be prompted for the password for the key (if any). Now, try the keys out. You should be able to ssh to all of the machines covered by the added key(s).

Potential Problems

There can be a variety problems with the above process. The above worked for me without modification. However, I think that file ownership and permissions can be problematic. One solution for ssh permission problems is available just in case.

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