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How To Enable And Use Telnet On Windows 11 And 10

In this guide we will look at how to enable and use Telnet on Windows 11 and 10, one of the oldest network protocols still in use, offers users the ability for text connections to remote servers for system administration or troubleshooting.

How to Enable And Use Telnet On Windows 11

Table of Contents

What is Telnet?

Telnet, short for Teletype Network, is a network protocol that enables two-way communication based on TCP/IP, with which users can remotely log in and manage operating systems and applications without the need for graphical interactions. Originally designed to run on LANs, its use has expanded to the Internet, offering an easy way to execute commands remotely. Although more secure protocols such as SSH have largely replaced it for many applications, Telnet remains valuable for specific situations where compatibility or lightness are primary. For system administrators and developers, knowing Telnet and how to use it on modern systems such as Windows 11 is a critical skill. 

How Telnet Is Used

Telnet use ranges from access to centralized databases to server and network management. Despite its widespread use in the past for mainframe management and for accessing bibliographic databases or text game servers, its use today is more limited, largely because of concerns about the security of data transferred via this protocol. Telnet, in fact, transmits information in the clear, including usernames and passwords, making them vulnerable to interception. Nevertheless, in secure contexts or for specific purposes where encryption is not a priority, Telnet continues to be a practical solution for remote administration. Before using Telnet, we recommend that you create a Windows 11 backup and use software such as EaseUS Todo Backup to make a copy of your server or database. 

How to Enable Telnet on Windows 11 and Windows 10

Enabling Telnet on Windows 11 (but also on Windows 10) can be accomplished through three main methods: the Control Panel, the Command Prompt, and PowerShell. Each of these paths offers a way to integrate Telnet into the operating system, thus allowing its functionality to be exploited.

Method 1: Control Panel

The Control Panel remains one of the most intuitive tools for managing system settings. To enable Telnet:

  • Open the Control Panel.
  • Go to “Programs” and select “Enable or disable Windows features.”
  • In the list of features, search for and select “Telnet Client.”
  • Confirm the operation by clicking “OK” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Telnet Windows 11

Method 2: Command Prompt

If you prefer the command line, the Command Prompt offers a quick way to enable Telnet:

  • Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  • Type the command dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:TelnetClient and press enter.
  • Wait for the operation to complete, after which Telnet will be available on the system.
 how to add telnet to windows 11

Method 3: PowerShell

Similarly, PowerShell allows you to enable Telnet through a specific command:

  • Start PowerShell with administrator privileges.
  • Run the command Install-WindowsFeature -name Telnet-Client.
  • When finished, Telnet will be installed and ready to use.
how to install telnet in windows 11

How to use Telnet on Windows 11 and 10

Once enabled, Telnet can be used through the Command Prompt to establish remote connections. Opening the Command Prompt with administrator privileges is a necessary step to ensure that all Telnet commands can be executed smoothly. To start a Telnet session, simply type telnet followed by the IP address or domain name of the remote device, and the port on which to establish the connection.

Despite its apparent simplicity, Telnet opens the door to a world of possibilities for remote management, offering the ability to interact with other systems directly and immediately. However, it is important to remember the importance of security in remote communications and to consider using Telnet only in contexts where data protection is not a primary concern.

windows 11 telnet

How to Verify the Installation of Telnet

After completing the steps to enable Telnet on your Windows 11 device, it is important to verify that the installation was successful. This verification can be done quickly and easily through the Command Prompt with administrator rights. Here is how to proceed:

  1. Start by pressing the Windows key or clicking on the Start menu icon located in the lower left corner of the screen. In the search box, type “Command Prompt” or “cmd.” When the Command Prompt icon appears in the search results, right-click on it and select “Run as administrator.” This step ensures that you have the necessary rights to run commands that might affect system configurations.
  2. Once the Command Prompt window is open with administrator privileges, type the following command: telnet and press the Enter key. This command will attempt to start the Telnet interface.
  3. After running the command, carefully observe the messages displayed in the Command Prompt window. If the Telnet installation was completed successfully, you should see a message stating “Microsoft Telnet.” This confirms that Telnet is now installed and ready to be used on your system.
telnet windows 10

If, on the other hand, you receive a message indicating that the command is not recognized or that Telnet is not available, it is likely that the installation did not complete correctly. In this case, we recommend that you repeat the installation steps, making sure that you carefully follow all the instructions provided.

Pros and Cons of Using Telnet

The use of Telnet, a network protocol that allows remote access to computers through a simple command-line interface, brings with it a number of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these is essential in evaluating when and how to employ Telnet in operational contexts.

Pros of Telnet

  • Telnet offers a simple and straightforward user interface, making it accessible even for those who are not particularly tech-savvy. The ability to execute commands on a remote computer through a simple command-line interface is a feature valued for its immediacy.
  • As one of the oldest communication protocols, Telnet is compatible with a wide range of hardware devices and operating systems. This makes it a versatile tool for managing servers and devices in different environments.
  • In scenarios where security is not a critical concern, such as development or test environments, Telnet can be a quick and effective tool for remote diagnosis and management of systems.

Cons of Telnet

  • The main drawback of Telnet is its lack of security features. Communications via Telnet occur in clear text, making it easy for attackers to intercept and read transmitted data, including usernames and passwords.
  • Given its unencrypted nature, Telnet increases the risk of unauthorized access to systems and networks. Attackers can exploit Telnet vulnerabilities to gain control of critical devices and infrastructure.
  • With the advent and spread of more secure protocols such as SSH, Telnet is considered obsolete for most modern applications. SSH offers all the functionality of Telnet but with much higher levels of security, making it the preferred choice for remote management of servers and devices.
  • Telnet does not directly support modern features such as file transmission, port redirection, or advanced authentication, limiting its usefulness in complex network environments.

The ability to download, install and enable Telnet on Windows 11 provides access to a tool that, despite its security limitations, continues to be valuable for specific applications. Always remember to carefully consider the security implications when choosing to use Telnet, opting for more secure solutions such as SSH for tasks that require secure communication.

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