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Session mode and command mode

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Session mode and command mode

There are two modes of operation in Telnet Client: Telnet command mode and Telnet session mode. Telnet command mode allows the Telnet terminal to open a connection to a remote host, close a connection to a remote host, display operating parameters, set terminal options, print the status, and quit the program.

For information about how to set Telnet options and to learn how to send Telnet commands, see Telnet Command-line Reference for Telnet Server.

Once connected to a remote host, Telnet Client is in Telnet session mode. This mode is the most common. After logging on, users are given a Command Prompt window. Users are then able to use character-based applications on any remote Telnet server, as if they were logged on to the system directly.

Once connected to a host, you can return from session mode to command mode to change terminal settings. You can change from a Telnet session mode to a Telnet command mode by pressing CTRL + ]; press ENTER to return to the Telnet session mode. For more information about switching modes, see Telnet commands.


  • Use a TrueType font in the Command Prompt window when using Telnet with any of the four supported Asian languages

    Telnet supports the following four Asian languages: Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Traditional Chinese. You must use a TrueType font in the Command Prompt window to properly display the characters used in Asian languages. By default, the Command Prompt window displays characters using raster fonts.

    Because each Telnet session creates a new Command Prompt window, you need to permanently set the properties of the Command Prompt window to use the TrueType fonts if you use Telnet with Asian languages on a regular basis.

    1. To set the Command Prompt window font, right-click in the title bar of the Command Prompt window, and then click Properties.

    2. Select a TrueType font, and then click OK.

    3. To always use the TrueType font you selected, in the Apply Properties to Shortcut dialog box, click Modify shortcut that started this window.

  • This can also be done using the Save properties for all future windows with the same title option. If this option is not set, DBCS (Double Byte Character Set) characters will not be displayed properly in the Telnet session.


  • Although authentication might be encrypted, the actual data being transferred can be read by anyone on the network. Because Telnet session traffic is not secure, ensure that no sensitive data is sent or received during a Telnet session.

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