Telnet Server overview

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Telnet Server overview

Telnet Server is a gateway for Telnet clients. When Telnet Server is running on a computer, users can use Telnet clients to connect to it from remote computers. When a Telnet client connects to a computer running Telnet Server, the remote user is asked to enter a user name and password. By default, only user name and password combinations that are valid on the local server can be used to log on to that server.

Once logged on, a user is given a command prompt that can be used as if it had been opened in a command prompt window locally. By default, however, the user cannot use applications that interact with the desktop.

Telnet uses the Telnet protocol (part of the TCP/IP protocol suite) to connect to a remote computer over the network.

Members of the Administrators group can log on to Telnet Server. Access by other users is controlled by membership in the TelnetClients group. By default, this group contains no entries. If you want to allow users who are not members of the Administrators group to log on to Telnet Server, add the appropriate users or groups to the TelnetClients group.

Telnet licensing

With each installation of a member of the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 family, a license provides one installation of Telnet Server. However, several Telnet sessions can exist simultaneously.

By default, Telnet Server supports a maximum of two Telnet clients at a time. However, the administrator can change this value by using the tlntadmn command. For detailed information about using the tlntadmn command, see Telnet Command-line Reference for Telnet Server. The number of distinct devices that can connect to a computer running Telnet Server is limited by available resources like RAM, virtual memory, and the number of Client Access Licenses (CALs).


  • After you create a TelnetClients group, you must stop and start the Telnet Server service before users can log on.