How to Use HyperTerminal with Cisco Routers & Switches

Most Cisco devices do not have a graphical Web-based interface by default.  You must configure them from the command line using the serial-based console port on the switch or router.  While there are a variety of serial terminal emulation programs available, most people use HyperTerminal to do this because it is included free with Windows.  This article will show you how to configure HyperTerminal to talk to a new Cisco device.

What is HyperTerminal?

HyperTerminal is a terminal emulator program that runs in Windows. What this means is that it offers you a text-based command prompt on a remote device. That device could be either a serial device, like a Cisco router, connected directly to your PC’s serial port OR a network device.  HyperTerminal can either use the local serial interface for communications or the network.  In the case of the network, HyperTerminal is simply using the telnet protocol.

Connecting to your Cisco device with HyperTerminal

Run HyperTerminal in Windows by going to Start > Programs > Accessories > Communications > HyperTerminal.

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After clicking on the HyperTerminal icon, you will see this window:

HyperTerminal prompts you to create a new connection. Note that this is not required but let’s go ahead and do it.


Type in the word cisco for the connection name and click OK.

Connect your Cisco device to your PC’s COM1 port but don’t turn it on yet. On the next window that appears, make sure that the “Connect Using” field says COM1 and click OK.

On the next window, change the Baud rate to 9600 and click OK.

Now, turn on your Cisco device. In the HyperTerminal window, you should see the boot up process for your device, like this:

You have successfully configured HyperTerminal and connected to your Cisco device.

When you are done and try to close out HyperTerminal, you will be asked if you want to save this connection. I suggest saving it with the name you gave it, cisco, so that you don’t have to configure it again next time.

HyperTerminal Features

HyperTerminal can also be used to telnet to your Cisco network devices once they are configured with an IP address and are on the network. Thus, you don’t have to stop using HyperTerminal once you have configured your device.

HyperTerminal can be used to paste Cisco commands into your device so that you can more quickly configure devices. For example, you can do a show running-config, copy the output to the Windows clipboard, paste it into notepad, edit parts of it, and paste it back into your router’s configuration.

HyperTerminal can also log anything that scrolls by on the window to a log file, for record keeping or analysis.

Article Summary

Here is what we have learned:

  • That HyperTerminal is a serial and network terminal emulation program included with Windows.

  • To talk to a Cisco device, HyperTerminal must be configured on the right COM port and at 9600 baud

  • HyperTerminal can be used to telnet to devices, over the network, once they are configured.

  • Other features offered by HyperTerminal are cut/copy/paste of configurations and logging of sessions.

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