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Change the Telnet Client Escape Character

Updated: March 24, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista

You can use this procedure to change the key combination that switches from Telnet session mode to Telnet command mode. This is not the same thing as the ESC key on your keyboard, but is a user-definable key combination. By default, the Telnet escape character is CTRL + ].

Any user account can be used to complete this procedure.

  1. If you wish to change the key used to enter command mode, first switch to command mode by pressing the current Escape character, which is CTRL + ] by default.

  2. At the Microsoft Telnet> prompt, type:

    set escape character

    character can be any key combination that can be represented by an ASCII code. This includes most SHIFT+ and CTRL+ key combinations. CTRL + ] is the default. Press the actual key combination, not the descriptive text for it.

  3. After entering the command, confirm that the computer accepted your choice by examining the output line:

    Escape Character is 'CTRL+]'

Additional considerations

  • Ensure that the key combination you choose is not one that you will have to send to the Telnet Host. For example, SHIFT + A would likely cause problems, since you would not be able to send a capital 'A' to your Telnet Server.

  • The Telnet Escape character is not saved between Telnet Client sessions. If you exit Telnet Client and restart it, the default Escape character of CTRL + ] will be reset.

See Also

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