When comparing PuTTY vs VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator, the Slant community recommends PuTTY for most people. In the question“What are the best terminal emulators for Windows?” PuTTY is ranked 10th while VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator is ranked 29th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro De facto standard client for SSH, Telnet and Rlogin on Windows
PuTTY is one of the oldest and most popular clients. It has earned the trust of a great number of users over a long period by being reliable, offering useful features and helpful support. It got into the 15 Essential Open Source Tools for Windows Admins list by InfoWorld.
Pro Can be used on any Windows computer, even without admin rights
Pro Source code available
Full source available. Compile and modify it yourself.
Pro Lightweight and portable
Doesn't require much resources (memory and hard-disk). Can even be run on a system by just downloading without install.
Pro Runs Pre-configured virtual machines
Allows you to run your virtual machines pre-configured by you or others.
Virtual Box versions for:
-- Windows 7/8/10
-- All Linux installations
-- MAC OS x
-- Solaris 10/11
Virtual OSs include:
-- Oracle Linux 5/6/7.x (RHEL clones)
-- Occassionally a Windows Beta
Oracle itself provides many free VMs, pre-configured with various software stacks and hands-on lab materials for learning, geared toward. These have helped me earn three of my Oracle certifications:
-- Oracle Database development
-- Oracle DBA
-- MySQL development
-- Java Standard/Enterprise development
-- Big data
-- Webcenter portal & others
Pre-installed software in or more of the various stacks includes:
-- Oracle Database 11/12
-- Enterprise Mgr
-- Cloudera, etc.
Pro Supports modern shells
Whether you prefer zsh, bash, or fish, Linux will support it.
Pro Isolated from Windows
VirtualBox provides almost total isolation from Windows running underneath it, removing a lot of security issues.
Pro Free / Libre Software
While the OS underneath it is proprietary and does spy on you or actively violate your freedom, so to speak, you can still have a little piece of mind knowing that VirtualBox (your Linux distro and shell of choice) as well as Terminator are all FOSS.
Con Can not save passwords
Anyway, you can use "PuTTYgen" to generate a key pair, then use "Pageant" to do a password-less SSH remote login.
Con Lacks features
It is JUST an SSH client. There are many other options with built in X-servers, Multitabbing, etc.
Con Ugly design, too simple
Looks very dated. Does the basic functions very well, but not much more.
Con Only one session
Cannot open a second session in the same window.
Con No global settings
If you want to change a setting for all your connections, you'd have to do it individually.
Con Organizing sessions
Does not have features for organizing session connections (like folders). If you have 5-10 connections that's fine. But if there are 30-50 connections - that becomes a nightmare.
Con Tedious logging/tracing
Its tedious to set up logging and tracing (e.g. for serial connections).
Con No login scripting
Con Install a whole operating system for one program
You would need to install the entire Linux distribution just for one single program.
Con Slightly slower than just running Linux
The Windows + VirtualBox layer introduces some overhead that wouldn't be present if Linux were installed directly on the machine.