How to enable Telnet on Windows Server 2016/2019

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Hello, Today we are going to talk about Telnet. This is a network protocol that allows us to access another machine to operate it remotely as if we were sitting in front of it. It´s also the name of the computer program that the client implements. Its name comes from the acronym Telecommunication Network. In addition, it is used on MSDOS and Windows systems. And also compatible with UNIX-based systems, such as Mac and Linux, and FreeBSD. On the other hand, this protocol and this command are only implemented through commands. However, Telnet has a serious security problem. Indeed, information from one terminal to another travels without any type of encryption, only in plain text. For this reason, safer tools such as SSH are currently preferred. Although it is still useful in internal networks with protection from external traffic. That’s why we’ll see how to enable Telnet in Windows Server.

Enabling Telnet on Windows Server 2016/2019. Using PowerShell

To be able to use Telnet correctly we have to open a session in the destination machine. This session has to be opened with a user with access. As mentioned above, this protocol presents an important security gap. For this reason, it is disabled by default in Windows Server. It is possible to check this by running the telnet command at a command prompt:

Telnet is not recognized as a valid command
Telnet is not recognized as a valid command

To enable it, please open a PowerShell with administrative privileges and add the following command and press Enter:

 Install-WindowsFeature -name Telnet-Client 

Immediately start the installation:

Enabling Telnet via PowerShell
Enabling Telnet via PowerShell

At the end of the process we will see the following window:

Telnet finally enabled.
Telnet finally enabled.

Another way to enable this function is to open a CMD with administrative privileges and run the following command:

dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:TelnetClient 

Enabling Telnet graphical mode.

It is also possible to enable Telnet from the Windows Server 2016/2019 Dashboard. With this in mind, you have to enter the section Add roles and features.

Add roles and features
Add roles and features

Then press Next to continue.

Click Next to continue
Click Next to continue

In the next window, click on Role-based or feature-based installation:

Select Role-based or feature-based installation
Select Role-based or feature-based installation

Next, select the server you are going to add to Telnet.

Select the server.
Select the server.

Now, just press Next and skip the roles on this screen. Press Next to continue the installation.

Click Next to continue the installation.
Click Next to continue the installation.

Then scroll down and select the Telnet checkbox. You will see a brief description of the feature.

Adding Telnet feature
Adding Telnet feature

On the next screen, press Install to start the process.

Press Install.
Press Install.

Just wait a few seconds until Telnet is finally installed.

Telnet installed by Server Dashboard
Telnet installed by Server Dashboard

Testing Telnet.

After the process is finished, you just need to open any CMD and run the next command:

telnet

If everything is correct, you will see the next window:

Running Telnet
Running Telnet

To view the available subcommands, run the following command:

telnet /h
Telnet help
Telnet help

In the final analysis, we have seen how to install Telnet in Windows 2016/2019. Despite its security limitations, it is still a good option for communicating computers on private networks. That’s all for now, before saying goodbye I invite you to see our post about OrientDB in Windows 10. See you later!

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