How to enable Telnet server in Windows 10

Telnet is the oldest computer protocol that allows two computers to communicate with each other over the Internet or a local area network. However, Microsoft decided to remove the Telnet server from Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 onwards. This is a good step considering that Telnet does not support encryption and data passes over the network in plain text. But what if I need Telnet for educational purposes? Or what if I don’t want to configure SSL since I am dealing with a public server.

So, here are some ways to enable Telnet client and Telnet server in Windows version 8, 8.1, 10 or Windows Server 2012 and above. Let’s start with the customer first.

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How to enable Telnet client in Windows 10

If you type telnet at the command prompt, you will get an error stating “Telnet is not recognized as an internal or external command.” This is because the telnet client is disabled in Windows 10 by default. To enable Telnet, go to the start menu and type “Turn Windows features on and off“.

Windows_Feature_Image

In the next pop-up window, look for Telnet client. Click the checkbox next to it and hit OK.

windows_features_telnet_client

Windows will take some time to install Telnet and once this is done, you can use the telnet command in CMD or you can activate the telnet utility from the search menu. To do that, press Win + S and type Telnet.

telnet_utiltiy_client

This will open the telnet client directly within CMD and the window should look like the following.

telnet_client_cmd

How to enable Telnet server for Windows 10

Telnet clients allow you to connect to other Telnet servers. You cannot connect to your own system and fire remote commands. For that you need a Telnet server and unfortunately there is no native way to enable it in Windows 10. You have to install third party applications to start serving Telnet on port 23.

My two favorite utilities for doing this are Telnet HK Server Y KpyM Telnet Server. They both serve a different audience.

If all you want is to allow the telnet server to trigger remote commands to your machine, I would suggest the Telnet HK server. It is quite easy to configure. Simply download the application and launch the application. It is more like a portable application than an exe. As soon as you start the application, you will get a floating window.

Hk_Telnet_Server

Here, you can enter the port number from where you want Telnet to accept connections. The user interface is quite simple with minimal options. You can set a user ID and password for the telnet login.

hk_telnet_page

The application does not offer an option to force SSL or encryption. If you want a larger solution with SSH as a custom login message and IP blocking, you need to go to the KpyM Telnet server. During the application installation, you will be asked to start the server on port 22 (SSH) or port 23 (telnet). In case you are going to telnet choose port 23 now because this is the only time you will see the GUI in this application.

kts_telnet_service

Once you are done installing it, you can continue configuring via the KTS daemon. Go to the Start menu and type “SSH Telnet kpyM server configuration“. This will open a black dialog where you can configure options like use SSL, port number, login_message, password, etc. The same daemon also provides the options to start or stop the telnet server.

kpym_daemon_configuration

Closing words

Security was a top concern as Telnet Server was removed from Windows. It is advisable not to use telnet when dealing with confidential data. However, in the case of public servers, it is fine if you do not want to configure SSL and encryption key certificates.

Express your queries in the comments and I will be happy to help you.

Also Read: Top 6 Android SSH Clients You Must Try

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