How to Use Telnet in Windows

The Telnet utility enables you to connect to other computers over a local network or the Internet. Unlike a modern Web browser, Telnet uses only text commands to interact through the network. While this method is somewhat outdated, it is still employed by advanced users to test a network or perform system maintenance. Telnet is included with Windows 8, but is disabled by default. You can use Control Panel to enable Telnet, and then perform basic network commands with the application.

Working on his laptop
Telnet was much more widely used before the World Wide Web, but is still sometimes useful today.
credit: JumpStock/iStock/Getty Images

Enable Telnet

Step

Press "Windows-I" to reveal the Charms bar. Choose "Control Panel."

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Click "Category," then select "Programs." Click "Turn Windows Features On or Off."

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Scroll through the list of available features. Click the check box next to "Telnet Client," and click "OK." The Telnet program is installed onto your computer.

Connect With Telnet

Step

Press "Windows-S" to launch the search bar. Enter "Telnet" in the search area and click the search icon.

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Click "Telnet" from the list of results. The Telnet application opens.

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Type "open hostname portnumber" to connect to open a Telnet connection. Replace "hostname" and "portnumber" with the computer name and port number of the computer you want to connect to, such as "open headquarters 110" without quotation marks.

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Enter "display" to view the current Telnet parameters. The program returns a list of settings. This is useful for troubleshooting the application and verifying that it is set up to your liking.

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Use the "set" command to change a setting within Telnet. For example, enter "set localecho" to enable echoing, which provides confirmation of every command you type. Type "unset" to disable a setting, such as "unset localecho."

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Enter "close hostname portnumber" to close a Telnet connection. Again, replace "hostname" and "portnumber" with the correct entries for your connection, such as "close headquarters 110."