How to Use Telnet

If you’re a Windows user, you can start using Telnet by trying out the client application that comes with the OS. However you can also download others from the Net.

Telnet Basic Operation

In simple terms, Telnet means you are logging into a remote computer. Even if you have the software, you’ve got to have a verified username and password to get on the remote computer. However, this won’t be necessary if you’re accessing some public services.

How to Connect

Get the IP address of the machine. You can also get the machine’s name. The name will be something like machine.site.network. Keep in mind that some computers affix their location to the name (i.e. machine.site.network.uk). To start using Telnet, type telnet followed by the name. For example, “telnet rtfm.mit.edu” minus the quotation marks.

Wait for the login prompt to appear. In some cases a warning will appear prior to the prompt. Enter your username. Press the Enter key. Type your password and press Enter again. You’re logged in. Log out when you’re finished.

Some Telnet applications store addresses so you don’t have to keep entering them repeatedly. If you use these programs, don’t keep the passwords. If you do other people who use your computer will be able to get onto the remote computer.

Testing POP3 Servers with Telnet

If you’re using Telnet with Windows, you can use it to verify a POP3 connection. Use the Dial-up Networking Connection to hook up with your ISP (Internet service provider). Click the Start button. Go to Programs and choose Command Prompt.

The MS-DOS window will open. Enter the following: telnet <POP server name or IP address> 110. Replace the server name or IP address with the one you’re going to use.

110 is the default of most ISPs. Check with your service provider if their port is different. Hit the Enter key. This will be followed by a welcome display message.

Other Settings

Sometimes when you’re using Telnet the Local Echo needs to be set. For Windows 95, 98, ME or NT 4, go to Preferences in the Terminal menu. Select the Local Echo.

For Windows 2000 and XP, click Start, Run. Type telnet.exe. Type the server (i.e., pop.name.com 110). Type ctrl +]. For Windows 2000, you have to next type in “set local_echo”. For XP type “set localecho”. Press the Enter key.

Setting up a Log

A log will keep a record of the entire session. This can be very useful in case something goes wrong. To start a Telnet log you have to do the following. For Windows 95, 98, ME and NT 4, click the Terminal menu. Choose Start Logging.

Go to the Open Log File. Enter a name. Click ok. You can end the log anytime with the Stop Logging command at the Terminal menu.

Some of the most basic commands in Telnet are user, pass (password), list and dele. Dele is used for removing messages on the server. Be careful when using this command.

Even if you aren’t a computer programmer, using Telnet will only take a few sessions to understand. After a few sessions, you’ll be able to use it comfortably.

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