How to use Telnet to test an Internet Mail connection

This article was previously published under Q187785
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This article describes how to use the Telnet terminal program to test aconnection to a POP3 server.

The following topics are covered in this article:

  • Establishing a Telnet session to the POP server
  • Using POP commands in a Telnet session

Establishing a Telnet Session to the POP Server

Telnet is a terminal emulation program supplied with Microsoft Windows.With Telnet, you can establish a host session to a server using one ofseveral emulation types.

To establish a Telnet session, follow these steps:
  1. Use your Dial-up Networking connection to connect to the Internetthrough your ISP.
  2. Click the Start button, point to Programs, and then click MS-DOS Prompt. In Microsoft Windows NT, this item is labeled Command Prompt.
  3. In the MS-DOS window, type the following:
    telnet <POP server name or IP address> 110							
  4. Press the ENTER key. The Telnet window appears and displays a welcomemessage. This message will be preceded by +OK and will vary depending on the software installed on the POP Server.
NOTE: The default port defined for communications to a POP server is110. Your ISP may have defined a different port for your server. If there is difficulty establishing a connection through the default port, consult the ISP for information about the server configuration.

Additionally, you may need to enable Local Echo to see characters as they are typed. To set local echo in a Telnet session, follow these steps:
  1. On the Terminal menu, click Preferences.
  2. In Terminal Preferences, click to place a check at Local Echo." Click OK.
If, when you type, each letter that you type appears twice, use the above procedure to deactivate Local Echo.

Using POP Commands in a Telnet Session

This section outlines some basic POP commands that you can use to verifythe connection and condition of your mail box on the POP server. Beforebeginning sending commands with Telnet, you may want to define a log fileto capture the text of the session. To capture a Telnet log, follow thesesteps:
  1. On the Terminal menu, click Start Logging.
  2. In Open Log File, type a file name for the current log. Note the folder location of the file. The default location is the Windows folder.
  3. Click OK.
Telnet will capture the current session as you enter commands. The log willclose when you quit Telnet. You may cancel the log at any time during aTelnet session by clicking Stop Logging on the Terminal menu.

NOTE: Telnet does not have a full-featured text editor. If you make a mistake and then backspace to correct the mistake, the command may not berecognized. In most cases you will receive a command error. Reentering thecommand is necessary in these cases. If you make a mistake when enteringthe password, however, most servers will terminate the session, and youmust establish a new session.

Telnet Commands

  • USER
This command identifies you as a registered account on the server. Afteryou see the server welcome message mentioned above, type USER <accountname> After entering the USER information, the server will return a line that reads, "+OK Password required for <account name>."
  • PASS
Type PASS <your password> If the password is accepted, the server will return a line similar to: "+OK <account name> has <n> message(s) (MMMMM)octets", where <n> is the number of messages stored in your mailbox on theserver and (MMMMM) is the total size of all messages.
  • LIST
Type LIST at the prompt. The server will return "+OK <n> messages <MMMMM> octets), a list of the messages including their numbers, and the individualmessage sizes.

  • RETR
This command will retrieve the text of a message. For example, if you wishto retrieve message number 4, type at the prompt, "RETR 4."

  • DELE
This command allows you to delete a message from the POP server. To deletea message enter DELE <n>, where <n> is the message number determined from the LIST command. For example, to delete message number 4, enter the command "DELE 4."

  • QUIT
This command permits you to quit the Telnet session.

IMPORTANT: The DELE command should be used with care and in extreme cases where a specific message is blocking mail delivery. It is strongly recommended that you retrieve the text of the message into a log file as described above before attempting to delete it.
For additional information on configuring a Dial-up Networking connection to theInternet in Windows 95, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
138789 How to connect to the Internet in Windows 95
For additional information on configuring a Dial-up Networking connection to theInternet in Windows NT, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
156569 How to connect to Internet service providers from Windows NT
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Article ID: 187785 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 08:48:03 - Revision: 1.2

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