What is HyperTerminal?

HyperTerminal is a communications and terminal emulation program that came with the Windows 98 and Windows XP operating systems.

How HyperTerminal works and where it came from

IT professionals and users can work with HyperTerminal to set up a dial-up connection to another computer through the internal modem using Telnet or to access a bulletin board system in another computer. They can use HyperTerminal to set up a connection for data transfers between two computers, such as a desktop computer and a portable computer, using the serial ports. HyperTerminal also enables users to take serial port control of external devices or systems, such as scientific instruments, robots or radio communication stations.

In addition, IT professionals can use HyperTerminal to troubleshoot any issues when setting up and using a modem. Users can send commands through HyperTerminal to make sure the modem is properly connected.

Developed by Hilgraeve from a more comprehensive communications program called HyperAccess, HyperTerminal has features similar to the Linux program Minicom. In Windows XP, users can locate HyperTerminal in the Start menu: Start > Programs > Accessories > Communications > HyperTerminal.

HyperTerminal and later versions of Windows

Microsoft phased out HyperTerminal and has not included it in a Windows operating system since Windows XP. HyperTerminal is not a part of Windows 10 or later, but organizations working with Windows 10 or 11 can download HyperTerminal separately, and it does work with both operating systems. The download does not come from Microsoft itself, however.

Even though HyperTerminal is not a part of Windows 10 or 11, both operating systems provide Telnet support. It is not enabled by default, but admins can enable Telnet support by opening the Control Panel and clicking on Programs, then Turn Windows features on or off. Upon doing so, Windows will display a list of operating system features. Select the Telnet Client checkbox and click OK.

Unlike HyperTerminal, the Telnet utility in Windows 10 and 11 is command-line only and does not support any of the non-Telnet-related features found in HyperTerminal. Users can launch the Telnet client by opening a command prompt window and running telnet.exe.

This was last updated in June 2023

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