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Telnet BBS Guide
How To Access Telnet BBS Systems

If you are new to the process of Telnet and have never accessed a Telnet BBS system before, the following is a mini-tutiorial of how the Telnet process works and how to use a Telnet client.

Click here to see a list of Telnet client software 

Click here to see the Telnet BBS FAQ.

How do I access BBS systems on the Internet?

Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) have been around long before the Internet. Traditional BBS systems that were "dial-up" based were accessed by dialing them directly with your analog telephone modem. This meant you used a "terminal program" to access these BBS systems. There were many terminal program out there in the dial-up BBS heyday. Specific examples included Telix, Qmodem and ProComm.

But when BBSes moved to Telnet, this changed. This means you can now access these BBS progams via your computer on the Internet. Windows and Unix based operating systems (including Linux and Mac OS X) have built-in Telnet clients. This means you can access these BBS systems directly from your computer without any new software.

However, there are several FREE third-party Telnet applications you can use to access these systems. We'll talk about those in a moment.

Windows XP based Systems

If you run Windows XP, Telnet is a built-in application that in most cases is already turned on and ready to go. If you want, you can either go to a "command prompt" and run the following command syntax, or you can use the Start -> Run menu to run the following command syntax:

Command Line

Telnet bbsaddresshere (example: telnet


Telnet (ip address here) (example: telnet

There are some BBS systems that do not use the default port (port 23). In that case, you will need to type it in manually.

Telnet bbsaddresshere port (example: 24)

Accessing Telnet BBSes Via Your Web Browser

If you use the Telnet BBS Guide, you will notice we provide telnet links to each BBS we list on here. However with recent Windows upgrades, you will notice that these may no longer work. Here's how you can get them to work again.

Internet Explorer Users (IE 7 and higher): You will need to "Turn on" the ability to use Telnet. Download and unzip the Telnet Registry Tweak Utility to update your registry file to provide the ability to turn the ability for you to click on a Telnet link on our website. Unzip the "ie7_telnet.reg" file to the desktop. Double click on it. Click "Yes" to confirm. That will enable Telnet from Internet Explorer.

Google Chrome Users: Use the above Telnet Registry Tweak Utility. (Yes, the same tweak enables it in Chrome.)

Firefox Users: You will also need to run this Telnet Registry Tweak Utility in order to use Firefox's capability to run the internal Telnet application. Once you do so, within Firefox:

Go to Tools -> Options. Click on the Applications tab. Scroll down to "Telnet". Under the Action header, click on the tab that says "Always Ask. Then click on "Use Internet Shortcut Shell Extension".

As an alternative to using the Registry Tweak, you can download and install SyncTerm as a FREE third-party telnet client. Then you can tell Firefox to use SyncTerm as your Telnet application client within Firefox. That way when you click on a Telnet link on the Telnet BBS Guide, SyncTerm will start and will automatically connect you to the BBS you clicked on. Within Firefox: Go to Tools -> Options. Click on the Applications tab. Scroll down to "Telnet". Under the Action header, click on the tab that says "Always Ask. Then select Other. Then click on Browse. Find where you installed Syncterm.Exe (most likely under C:\Program files\Syncterm\Syncterm.exe). Then Firefox will use Syncterm as the default Telnet client application.

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1/10 Based Systems

By default, Windows Vista and Windows 7/8/8.1 do not install the Telnet client. You can install it by following these easy steps:

1. Click Start then select Control Panel. (For Windows 8, access the Control Panel directly since there is no Start menu.)

2. Select Programs and Features.

3. Select Turn Windows features on or off.

4. Select the Telnet Client option.

5. Click OK.

6. A dialog box will appear to confirm installation. The telnet command should now be available.

You can now use the Command Line commands as described above. In order to automatically run these from your browser, you may also need to run the Telnet Registry Tweak Utility as described above, or use the alternate SyncTerm Telnet Client method for Firefox.

Note: There are other telnet clients out there in addition to SyncTerm. These include mTelnet (Free), PuTTY (Free), NetTerm (Shareware) and ZOC (Shareware).

Mac OS X

Since I don't have a computer that runs Mac OS X, I'm not sure exactly how you could do it directly from your web browser. However, as with any Unix based system you can always use the command line and use the same Telnet command line as described above.

You can also install SyncTerm or ZOC as your third-party Telnet client. SyncTerm is free, ZOC is shareware.

If you have any questions - please visit the Telnet FAQ page. If you need further help you may contact us.

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