Enabling Telnet Client in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista


Telnet Client allows a computer to connect to a remote Telnet server and run applications on that server. Once logged on, a user is given a command prompt that can be used as if it had been opened locally on the Telnet server’s console. Commands that you type at the Telnet client command prompt are sent to the Telnet Server and executed there, as though you were locally logged on to a command prompt session at the server. Output from the commands that you run are sent back to the Telnet client where they are displayed for you to view.

The Telnet client is a feature included with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, however, it is not enabled by default. The nice part about Telnet is that it can be used across computers that use different operating systems, such as Linux, Unix, or Windows. However, unless you need it for specific text-based commands on those remote machines, and if you are only using computers running the Windows operating system, you might find it easier to use the Windows Remote Desktop feature. On Windows Server 2008 machines you can also use the Remote Shell feature (winrs) which is considered to be more secure than Telnet.
As noted above, the Telnet client is considered to be a “Feature” on both operating systems, and can be easily installed:
On Windows Server 2008, you can install Telnet client by using the Add Features Wizard in Server Manager. On Windows Vista, you install the Telnet client through the Turn Windows Features On or Off link in Control Panel.
Unless you first install it, when you first try to run a telnet command, Windows will inform you that telnet is not recognized as a command.
To install the Telnet client on Windows Server 2008 follow this procedure:

    1. Open Server Manager by clicking Start > Server Manager, or by using the My Computer context menu.
    2. From the left panel in Server Manager, click on Features.
    3. Click on Add Features.


    1. From the available list of features, scroll down and select Telnet Client, then click Next.


    1. On the Confirmation page, click on Install.


  1. Installation of the selected feature will be initialized and started. Once installation is completed, click on Close.

BTW, this can easily be done also by typing the following command in the command prompt:

Servermanagercmd –I Telnet-Client

Now open Command Prompt, and run the telnet command. For some examples of using Telnet see my Related Articles section below.
As you can see, Telnet is now recognized by Windows Server 2008 and you can start using it to connect to your telnet servers.
To install the Telnet client on Windows Vista follow this procedure:

    1. Click the Start button > Control Panel > Programs, and then click Turn Windows features on or off.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.


    1. In the Windows Features dialog box, select the Telnet Client check box.


    1. Click OK. The installation process might take several minutes and when it completes you can begin using the Telnet client.

Some of the commands available in Telnet include:
Open or o – Establish a Telnet connection with a host computer or remote server. You can use the full command, open, or abbreviate it to just o. For example, o mail.kuku.co.il 25 will connect your computer to a computer named mail.kuku.co.il using port 25.
Close or c – Close an existing Telnet connection. It can be combined with a host name and port number.
Set – Set the terminal type for the connection, turn on local echo, set authentication to NTLM, set the escape character, and set up logging.
To see which commands are available, type a question mark (?) and then press Enter.


In this article, you have learned how to install the Telnet client on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista. This will allow you to enter commands used to access programs and services on a remote computer, whether that machine runs the Linux, Unix, or Windows operating system.
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