What is HyperTerminal?

John M. Edge

HyperTerminal is a computer networking assistance program for the Microsoft Windows operating system from version 3.1 to Vista. From Windows versions 3.1 to XP, HyperTerminal was included free. It was not included with Windows Vista and Windows 7, but was available to be purchased separately from another company. HyperTerminal was designed to remotely connect to other computers as well as to provide diagnostic tools to the local computer system.

HyperACCESS and HyperTerminal are useful tools for working with networked computers.
HyperACCESS and HyperTerminal are useful tools for working with networked computers.

HyperTerminal is a text-based program, as opposed to a graphical one. Thus, it uses text commands to perform functions. One of its most common functions is to connect to remote computers, including Telnet sites, online bulletin board services (BBSs), file transfer protocol (FTP) sites, online services, and other computers. These connections are made either through a modem or an Ethernet connection.

Connecting to remote computers is not the only use for HyperTerminal. It can also be used for modem diagnostics on the computer on which it is installed. By entering specific strings of text commands, HyperTerminal can "talk" to the modem, which will deliver messages back to the computer operator. HyperTerminal can also be used to dial out phone numbers on a dial-up modem. This is useful for diagnosing problems, connecting to an Internet service provider (ISP), or connecting to a BBS.

HyperTerminal was originally developed by a company called Hilgraeve and was originally called HyperACCESS. HyperACCESS is still produced by Hilgraeve and sold as a more robust and full-featured version of the "lighter" HyperTerminal. Hilgraeve also still produces versions of HyperTerminal for Windows 7 and Vista. They are called HyperTerminal Private Edition to distinguish them from the earlier editions that were included with Windows.

HyperACCESS can perform many tasks and has more features than HyperTerminal. HyperACCESS features more terminal emulation modes and can handle more FTPs than HyperTerminal. HyperACCESS 9.0 can record and automatically perform commands and steps to make certain tasks easier.

There are some problems that can occur when using HyperACCESS or HyperTerminal. One of the biggest problems is with encountering computer viruses. This is not a problem when using these programs for local computer diagnostics but, as with any remote-networking application, it becomes a serious issue when networking with other computers. The computer user must be careful when connecting to remote computers, especially when retrieving files from a FTP site.

HyperACCESS and HyperTerminal are useful tools for working with networked computers. Not only are they valuable for connecting with remote systems, but they also provide diagnostic services when connections are not working correctly. These types of services are likely to prove more and more necessary as computers and computer use become more interconnected.

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