2 April 2002

Ever since Windows 95 came out, the* newsgroups have been flooded with requests for a "Telnet server" or "Telnet daemon" for Windows 95 (and later, Windows 98, etc). Why? People who own Windows 9x systems want to be able to grant access to their friends, relatives, co-workers, customers, or clients -- and to themselves -- at other locations even when those coming into the Windows 9x system do not have Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, or Windows Anything, or even a PC. In situations like this, "remote access" solutions like pcAnywhere can not be used.

Meanwhile, others want their friends, customers, etc, to be able to dial in (not Telnet) to their Windows PCs, because one party or both are not on the Internet, or simply because directly dialed connections are more secure than Internet ones.

A second reason why people instinctively ask for a Telnet server is that when you Telnet to a host, you have to log in. That is, the server provides some form of authentication and access control -- not just a wide-open DOS prompt.

                   Welcome to K-95 Host Mode

                   Current directory: E:/K95/PUBLIC
                   Protocol: Kermit, Transfer mode: binary


                    1 - Change protocol
                    2 - Change transfer mode
                    3 - Change directory
                    4 - List files
                    5 - Download files
                    6 - Upload files
                    7 - View a file
                    8 - Delete files
                    9 - Read messages
                   10 - Leave a message
                   11 - Change password
                   12 - Help
                   13 - Logout
                   14 - Execute a DOS command

                   Enter choice: _

Beginning with version 1.1.3, released in February 1996, Kermit 95 includes a "host mode". It functions like a little menu-driven text BBS. Depending on your PC's configuration and how you set up host mode, it can support one or multiple concurrent host sessions. Users log in, they get their own restricted set of directories, where they can upload and download files using various protocols, view directory listings, manage files, and so on, but can not access other directories, and so therefore they can't access your private files, or delete or write over essential system files.

They can send messages to you, and you can send messages to them, singly or as a group. They can do only what is listed on the menu -- there are no trap doors. In addition, provision is made for a privileged class of users who have unrestricted directory access and permission to execute "DOS" (Windows Command Shell) commands (normally you would grant this privilege only to yourself). At your discretion (since it's your PC), all of their actions are logged so you can find out who did what, and when.


Kermit 95's host mode works on incoming TCP/IP connections as well as on dialup connections, where Kermit 95 waits for a phone call to come in. The client software can be any communications program on any kind of computer, as long as it supports the appropriate connection method (dialup or Telnet), includes ANSI or VT100 (or higher) emulation, and has Kermit or ZMODEM file-transfer capability.


K95 host mode is easy to set up, easy to manage, and easy to use. It comes with a management program, custom configurations, a user ID system with password encryption, and lots more. It is entirely self contained and does not mess with the Windows Registry or other sensitive items in any way. It runs on Windows 95/98/ME and Windows NT/2000/XP, as well as OS/2. It runs on NT Client as well as NT server (but it does not run as an NT or XP Service; if you are looking for that, please read about the Windows Internet Kermit Service).

Kermit 95 host mode is not an actual BBS, it doesn't have "chat rooms" or games or zippy graphics. Nor is it a Windows-specific "remote access" product. It does give you reliable two-way file access and messaging without dedicating your machine to it, and without requiring you to spend big bucks or devote a lot of time to setting up a BBS, and without your users having to learn anything since it's all menu driven.

And perhaps best of all, it is written 100% in Kermit script language, which means you can change it any way you want: you have the source code and the language interpreter.

Also see: Windows Internet Kermit Service.

Kermit 95 Host Mode / Columbia University / / 2 April 2002 (updated April 2005)