The Terminal Over A Network (telnet) connection allows you to connect to a remote computer using the command line. You can then run scripts and programs on the remote PC. The system administrators may already be familiar with this feature.
If you are new to this, then this article is for you. Before you can remotely access another computer, the telnet feature needs to be enabled on all Windows versions. Here, we show you 3 different methods to enable telnet, which is the first step toward remote access.
Note: The methods discussed in this post are to enable Telnet Client, which is enabled on the computer from where you want to access another PC on the network. Telnet Server will need to be enabled on the remote PC to connect to it.
Table of contents
What is Telnet
Telnet is a network protocol that is used to log into a remote computer on the same network.
To establish remote sessions, it adheres to a user command Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networking protocol. Using this, they can sign in as a regular user with the permissions they have been allowed to the particular programs and data on that computer.
Telnet uses a client-server relationship to establish a connection. It is a text-based communication mechanism between a client machine and a server where an individual can run commands on a remote computer while being logged in as a local user.
Telnet can be used to perform any number of functions, like editing files, running applications, etc.
If telnet is not enabled and you try to connect to a remote computer using this protocol, you will see the following error message:
'telnet' is not recognized as an internal or extenral command, operable program or batch file.
Now that we understand how telnet works and what it can do, let us show you how to enable it.
Enable Telnet from Optional Features
The files for the optional features on a Windows PC are always there, but the feature is not installed. Since telnet is an optional feature, here is how you can enable it:
Open the Optional Features window.
Type in optionalfeatures in the Run Command box.
Enable Telnet Client.
Check the box next to Telnet Client and click Ok. The feature will then install.
Close the wizard.
Telnet will now be enabled and you may continue to see the command line to connect to a remote computer.
To disable telnet, simply uncheck the box next to “Telnet Client” in the Optional Features window.
Enable Telnet from Command Prompt
You can also enable the telnet client directly from the Command Prompt. This method can come in handy if you are already inside the Command Prompt and trying to connect remotely using telnet.
Ensure you are running Command Prompt with elevated privileges.
Run this cmdlet:
If prompted with a UAC, click Yes.
The command will run silently and install telnet in the background. You can then begin connecting to a remote computer.
To disable telnet from the Command Prompt, run the following cmdlet using Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM):
dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:TelnetClient
Enable Telnet using Windows PowerShell
If you are using PowerShell, then here is how you can enable telnet:
Ensure you are running PowerShell with elevated privileges.
Run this cmdlet:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName TelnetClient
Telnet will now be enabled. You may now continue to access a remote PC using telnet directly from PowerShell.
In case you wish to disable the feature in the future, run this cmdlet in Windows PowerShell:
Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName TelnetClient
In comparison, the Remote Desktop Connection can also be used to access a PC on the same network remotely. It offers a GUI interface, and you can log into a local account, and run apps and cmdlets, just like telnet.
However, if you prefer using the Command Line Interface instead, then telnet is the right tool for you. It is quick to connect and gives you more control over the remote PC.