Updated Oct/08 I am using emacs with the tramp extension to edit files on a remote server using ssh. I had to pull in various hacks to get it to work so I hope these notes might help others.
  1. Install Emacs for Windows and Cygwin with OpenSSH
  2. Upgrade emacs Tramp to the latest version. This is best done using Cygwin bash and Cygwin make (in particular ensure that --with-lispdir and --infodir options are set correctly when running configure).
    • Handy tip -- leave the tramp build directory hanging around. When you next upgrade Emacs it's just make install (providing you use same directory names)
  3. Ensure that the Cygwin bin directory is on the Windows system path
  4. At the Cygwin bash prompt test ssh connection to your host
  5. Generate public/private keys and upload to the host
  6. Test ssh again to see if public authentication works (it did not for me because it had been disabled by the UNIX admin)
  7. Configure emacs to use tramp (require 'tramp) ;;(setq tramp-debug-buffer t) ;;(setq tramp-verbose 10) (setq tramp-auto-save-directory "c:\\tmp") (setq tramp-default-method "plink")
  8. Start emacs and test connection (C-x C-f) using cygwin ssh/scp/sftp. If it works skip to step 14. I had issues so I continued with step 9
  9. Install the Putty program suite
  10. Test the connection using putty
  11. Ensure the Putty install directory is on the system PATH
  12. In emacs visit the host (C-x C-f) using the method 'plink'. If that does not work you are on your own (but see troubleshooting below)
  13. If the public keys worked in ssh then import your OpenSSH keys into Putty
  14. Use emacs bookmarks to save your common host locations
Troubleshooting:
  1. Getting rid of the "Couldn't find exit status of `test -e ..." error message by deleting ~/emacs.d/tramp file. This clears cached settings as documented at http://www.nabble.com/Emacs-tramp-troubles-with-old-Sun-tt13607411.html.
  2. If Tramp and Emacs does not work for you try these alternatives:
    1. Vim has a netrw plugin
    2. Both FileZilla and WinSCP have options to edit a file from the remote file system which then invokes a local Windows editor of your choice.
    3. jEdit has an ftp plugin that supports sftp and bookmarks
YMMV With many thanks to all the folks on the web who documented their experiences and Michael Albinus on the tramp-devl mailing list.