Telnet and Modern Windows Systems

I have tried to set up port forwarding on my home router for ssh.  I am having some trouble connecting through the usual port 22 and wanted to test if anything could communicate across port 22.  Thus I issued the following command at the Windows 7 command prompt: telnet [home IP address] 22.

This yielded an interesting result:

‘telnet’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

Excuse me?

Oh, apparently beginning with Vista Windows is shipped with telnet disabled.  Didn’t you get the memo?

To enable telnet is several mouse clicks easily performed:

  1. Open your Control Panel
  2. Under Programs click Turn Windows features on or off (and you may have to do that twice because Windows is so Windowy—look for it on the left the second time)
  3. Scroll down to T for Telnet Client and check that box
  4. Follow these same steps to disable it when you are finished (adding un to step 3)

This article speculates that the reason Windows now ships this way is “More than likely this was an attempt to make Windows more secure by default, as Telnet is very insecure and whenever you have the choice you should always use SSH”.  The only problem with this theory is that if you try to run ssh instead:

‘ssh’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

That’s why I always install Cygwin on my Windows machines; it gives me a real BASh prompt and oh so many other Unix and Unix-like goodies.

Have fun with that.


2 thoughts on “Telnet and Modern Windows Systems

  1. Never said that SSH would be installed in place of Telnet ;) As much as I wish it was, Windows doesn’t have any sort of native support for it, OpenSSH’s BSD license won’t allow for that. Cygwin is certainly an option but I’ve never been a fan of it, I’d recommend BitVise Tunnelier in it’s place or of course there’s always PuTTY.

    Thanks for the trackback :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I was disappointed that they disable telnet and offer nothing, sure. I am curious what you don’t like about Cygwin though. Seems a pretty fine (and seemingly never ending) bundle of Unix fluff. I’ve never used BitVise. I’ll check it out. I’ll have to look into how the ssh license would prevent a MS distribution as well.

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