Whenever I type the command "telnet" in Windows XP command prompt, I get the output as:

'Telnet' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file

I've already enabled the telnet client by clicking on Start option from 'Administrative Tools\Component Services\Services (local)'.

Why then is it not working?

6 Answers 6


If you type telnet on the command prompt and get this error I'm convinced that you're XP has been explicitly changed in this way. The option you enabled is the telnet SERVICE (Which is a BAD idea!). That is opposite of what you tried in the first place which is the telnet CLIENT.


As far as I recall telnet client (or server) is not installed by default, for security reasons. You have to install it yourself by starting "Add/Remove Programs" in the control panel.

  • 1
    Telnet client is on by default in XP. It was taken out and only included as an optional extra in Vista / 7. I believe (but not 100% sure off by heart) that Telnet Server is included in Windows XP and up (maybe just Professional / Business editions) but set to disabled by default. Dec 8, 2009 at 20:22
  • That's for Vista++
    – John T
    Dec 8, 2009 at 20:22
  • Sorry, it was a century ago I used XP. ;)
    – TFM
    Dec 8, 2009 at 21:46

That's odd, XP should have it included. If you have a Windows XP CD lying around, pop it in and run this from the run box (Win + R):

sfc /scannow

This will start the Windows File Protection service and begin to scan all protected files and verify them. It will replacing any files which are missing or have problems.

  1. Right-click on the My Computer icon
  2. Go into Properties
  3. Go into Advanced tab
  4. Click on Environment variables.
  5. Find out the PATH variable in "System Variables"
  6. Double-click on it
  7. Edit the path at the end of the line to add C:\windows\system32

I am assuming you have Windows installed on the C: drive.


Doing what you said enables "Telnet Server" on your machine. It allows anyone with telnet to connect in to your machine via it's IP and get a "command prompt" like interface.

You want telnet client. That is a weird error you are getting - it is possible that your path / session variables have been lost.

Try typing this (in this order, if you have default locations):

cd \ 
cd windows
cd system32

If you still get the error, go to another machine with it and copy, or alternatively, look at using PUTTY which is a free multi protocol program that supports Telnet.


The telnet client is installed with XP at C:\WINDOWS\system32\telnet.exe.

Check that you have this executable file, and if it was deleted by any chance, copy it from another XP computer.

Please note that you also need these files:

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