In my Mac I already have a personal RSA key pair under ~/.ssh
I would like to create a couple of RSA keys in my Mac but for another computer. So I don't want to run some ssh command and replace my existing keys somehow.
Just create some key pairs for users A and B in a custom dir so that I can copy them where I need to and be sure that nothing of my personal SSH settings is replaced/broken.
How can I do this safely?


Use the -f flag


% ssh-keygen -f /tmp/foobar
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in /tmp/foobar.
Your public key has been saved in /tmp/foobar.pub.

Simply use ssh-keygen and when asked for a name for the keypair, use something other than the default path (and optionally filename). You can then find the generated keypair in the location you specify.

  • I would be more comfortable if I avoided the ~/.ssh to be honest. – Jim Aug 24 '17 at 21:48
  • When you run ssh-keygen, literally the first thing it asks is for the file into which to save the key. Including the path. – DopeGhoti Aug 24 '17 at 21:49
  • So ~/.ssh is the default and only used if nothing else is provided? I was concerned that ~/.ssh is somehow modified/updated regardless – Jim Aug 24 '17 at 21:50
  • Only if you use the default for the key file into which to write; if you specifiy another path, your .ssh directory is left untouched. It does not, for example, add the generated public key to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys. – DopeGhoti Aug 24 '17 at 21:51
  • @Jim man ssh-keygen will show you the manual which describes the process (Normally this program generates the key and asks for a file in which to store the private key). – drewbenn Aug 24 '17 at 21:54

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