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Make sure you have an ssh daemon (sshd) running on the Linux machine and ssh to it from the Windows machine using PuTTY. Read the PuTTY manual for a more detailed explanation, although its UI is pretty straightforward.
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian, Various using VMWare
I am not sure if this works with Putty as well, but here are instructions on how to use ssh with no password prompt (At the bottom of the page). Basically, it is using a private / public key pair to do the authentication instead of a password.