Configure the Command Interpreter Used by the Telnet Server

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 command interpreter program used by the Telnet server and presented to users in their Telnet sessions.

By default, the command interpreter is %systemroot%\system32\cmd.exe. You can change it to any command interpreter by changing the registry value.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure.


Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

To change the command interpreter used by Telnet Server

  1. Start the Registry Editor. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  3. Open the registry key:


  4. Double-click the Shell registry entry.

  5. In the Value data text box, type the full path and name of the command interpreter you want to use.

Additional considerations

  • Do not change the registry entry DefaultShell. Changing that value is not supported. Change only the value of the Shell registry entry.

See Also


Enable the Telnet Server Service
Grant Access to a Telnet Server
Configure Telnet Server Authentication
Configure Telnet Server to Allow Administrator Access by using Password Authentication
Configure the TCP Port Number Used by Telnet Server
Configure Idle Session Timeouts for Telnet Sessions
Configure the Number of Simultaneous Sessions Supported
Configure the Domain Used for User Name Authentication