Telnet: what it is and how to activate it in Windows 10

We are going to explain what exactly Telnet is and how one of the oldest remote access protocols to computers works. We will also tell you how you can activate it in Windows 10, although it is not recommended to use it as it is a protocol that does not have encrypted data, which makes it extremely insecure.

We are going to start by talking about what exactly Telnet is and how it works internally. Later, we will explain how you can activate your client in Windows 10 to start using it, and even the commands you have to type to establish the connection.

What is Telnet and how does it work

Telnet is one of several protocols that exist to access other computers remotely. It is one of the oldest there is, and it was developed in 1969 when communications security was not taken into account as much as it is today. It is considered an insecure protocol as it does not have encrypted connections, and that is why its use is not recommended.

You have to think that at the time this remote access technology was created, there were no graphical environments in operating systems like the one we have in Windows, GNU / Linux or macOS with their desktops and menus.

There were also no browsers like those of today, everything had to be done in a somewhat more rudimentary way. Through commands.

It works on the TCP protocol, usually on port 23, where the server waits for connections from clients to allow them access. It is used through the command console of the computer and allows to transmit plain text in both directions, which gives it great versatility that allows offering various services on it.

Most commonly it is used as an assistance method to troubleshoot one computer from another. It can also be used to offer interactive sessions on the server, as well as to offer access to BBS (Bulletin Board System) or MUD, or for online games.

To use Telnet, the two computers that are going to communicate must have the protocol enabled. On this basis, one of the computers sends an access request to the other. The other, who is the host, will respond by requesting a username and password.

By entering them correctly, you will give us access to your system. Of course, access will also take place in the command console, that is, you will have to master this environment to know how to navigate the folders of the computer to which you connect, and be able to find and solve possible errors in it. Remember that their main function was assistance.

How to activate and use in Windows 10

To enable Telnet in Windows 10, open the start menu and search for the term features. In the results, click on Enable or disable Windows features, which is one of the options that you can find in the old control panel inherited from previous versions of Windows.

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A window will open directly in which you can activate advanced Windows features that are usually hidden. In it, activate the Telnet Client option and click on the OK button.

Windows will take a few seconds to search for the necessary files, and when finished, the function will be activated on the computer. This you have to do both on the computer you want to connect to and the one from which you will connect.

Next, you just have to open one of the native Windows consoles, either the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell. There, simply type the commands to execute the functions you want to perform through Telnet.

You can also do open port checks on any computer or web with the command telnet <domain or IP>, and it will return an error if the port is closed. You also have other commands like the display to see the connection settings, mode to change the transfer mode, or set to change the connection settings.

We remind you that the connections are not encrypted, which opens the door to various types of computer attacks or the interception of data. Therefore, even if the use of this technology is not intended for home users, it is generally not recommended to use it anywhere.

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