Kermit 95 Tutorial

Most recent update: 24 October 2002

This document describes Kermit 95 version 2.1, 32-bit communications software for Microsoft Windows.



Kermit 95 (K95) is a multipurpose communication software package for Windows. It can make serial-port connections, modem connections, and Internet and other types of network connections, all in a uniform manner. K95's Internet protocols include Telnet, Rlogin, SSH (Windows only), FTP, and HTTP. As of version 2.0, K95 comes in two versions: Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Console. The new GUI version, called K95G, has several features lacking in the Console version, such as menu, toolbar, scroll bar, and font selection. The features of the GUI version are described HERE.

Kermit 95 offers:

See the K95 home page for a more complete list of features.

Kermit 95 comes in two pieces: a graphical Dialer, which sets up and launches connections, and K95 itself, the communications and scripting engine that actually makes and uses them.

The Dialer

The Dialer lets you make connections without having to type any commands. You don't have to use the Dialer at all if you don't want to, as explained in the next section. But if you would rather not learn or deal with commands, you should use the Dialer.

You can invoke the Dialer in two ways: from the desktop and from the Dial button (or, equivalently, File→Connections on the menu) on the K95G Toolbar.

The K95 Dialer is not just for dialing. It is a graphical user interface (GUI) for setting up and launching connections of all kinds: direct serial, dialed, Telnet, Rlogin, SSH, or FTP, simply by checking boxes, pushing buttons, selecting from lists, and filling out forms. You can launch one, two, three, four, or more simultaneous connections from a single copy of the Dialer.

The easiest way to define a new connection is to Right-Click one of the Templates (such as "Linux-SSH", "AIX-Telnet", or "Dialup-VT100"), choose Clone, give the connection a name, and then fill in the connection details -- usually just host name or address, or telephone number.

If you want more control over the many possible settings and customizations, choose Connections on the menu bar, and then Add. This results in a series of Settings pages -- forms for you to fill out, similar to a Windows "wizard". On the first page, give a name to the connection, choose the connection type, and give the details (phone number or network address). Then fill out, check, or change the information on each of the subsequent pages. When you click [Save/Next] on the bottom of the first page, the new entry is added to the database and the Dialer moves to the next page. When you click [Cancel] on the first page, the entry is not added. For subsequent pages, [Save/Next] saves the current page and goes to the next; [Cancel] cancels the current page, but the entry remains. (If this seems a bit awkward, it's due to resources limitations in Windows 9x.)

The Connections menu and the Right-Click popup menu also let you remove entries, edit them, generate desktop shortcuts for them, and so on.

The other Toolbar buttons do the expected things: CONNECT makes a connection to the highlighted entry; Hangup closes the connection (if any) associated with the highlighted entry; Quick lets you make a connection for which there is no entry; and Shortcut creates a desktop shortcut for the highlighted entry.

Make a connection by highlighting the desired entry and then clicking the CONNECT button. Or double-click on the desired entry. You can use the Dialer to start and control as many simultaneous connections as you wish.

The Graphical User Interface

As of version 2.0, the graphical version of Kermit 95, K95G, has a menu bar, toolbar, operational title-bar controls, a scrollbar, font selections, and can be resized with the mouse. The features of the new graphical user interface are described in detail HERE. The K95G menu, toolbar, and other graphical screen elements, give you point-and-click access to many of K95's important settings and functions.

The Command Interface

The purpose of the command interface is to give you fine-grained, precise, realtime control over every aspect of Kermit 95's operation and, perhaps more importantly, to allow you to automate complex or repetitive tasks by writing programs consisting of Kermit commands. If this does not interest you, you can stick with the Dialer.

The program that actually makes the connection and then lets you use it is K95.EXE. When you launch a connection with the Dialer, it starts K95.EXE for you, feeding it the appropriate commands. Each copy of K95.EXE can have one connection open at a time. To have multiple simultaneous connections, run multiple copies of K95.EXE.

You can start K95.EXE directly, without using the Dialer, by double clicking on the "Kermit 95" desktop icon created by the InstallShield process. Another way is from the Start -> Programs menu, if you elected to list Kermit 95 there when you installed it. Another way is in the Start -> Run dialog. Another way is from a Command window.

When K95.EXE starts, it automatically reads and executes commands from its standard initialization file, K95.INI, and also from your Kermit 95 customization file, K95CUSTOM.INI. These are plain-text files that can be edited with Notepad or other plain-text editor. Add or change anything you like in K95CUSTOM.INI but we recommend you leave K95.INI alone. See the README for the locations of these and other files.

K95.EXE has a text-mode prompt-and-command interface. If you haven't used Kermit software before, this might seem old fashioned to you, but in fact it's far more powerful, flexible, and easy to use than a GUI program of equal complexity once you learn it:

And perhaps contrary to first impressions, it is friendly. It gives you a "menu" whenever you ask for one (by typing a question mark anywhere within a command) and it has loads of built-in help text.

When Kermit 95 is ready for a command, it prints its prompt on the screen. Kermit 95's prompt looks like this:

  [C:\Program Files\Kermit 95\] K-95> _

The current directory is shown within brackets. If you don't know what to do, type "help" (the letters h, e, l, p, and then press the Enter key). Type "intro" for a brief introduction to K95's commands. To get help about a specific command, type "help" and then the command name, for example "help directory".

You can use the Up-Arrow and Down-Arrow keys in the Command screen only to scroll back and forth through the command history, e.g. to recall a previous command so you don't have to type it again. (In the Terminal screen, arrow keys do whatever the emulated terminal's arrow keys do.)

Let's look at the common ways to make a connection. Let's do Telnet first because it's so easy. In our examples, what you type is underlined, and must be terminated by pressing the Enter key.

  K-95> telnet  

(Substitute the IP hostname or address of the host you actually want to Telnet to.) That's all there is to it. Up pops the "blue screen" and the host's login prompt. (Note: we refer to the Terminal screen as the "blue screen" because it is blue by default, but you can choose any color scheme you want for any screen.)

SSH works approximately the same way as Telnet:

  K-95> ssh  

Except that if your username on the target computer is not the same as your Windows username, you have to include it as part of the SSH command:

  K-95> ssh /user:olga

Now let's do a dialed connection. In this case, you have to give some additional details (as you would to any other modem program):

  K-95> set port tapi
  K-95> set speed 57600
  K-95> dial 7654321

The "set port tapi" command tells K95 to access the modem through Microsoft's Telephony Application Program Interface (TAPI). This way, any modem that is listed in the Windows Control Panel Modems folder can be dialed by K95. Substitute the actual phone number for 7654321. If the connection is made successfully, the "blue screen" pops up and you can log in or whatever else is expected by the computer or service on the other end of the call. If the call failed, you get an informative error message such as NO ANSWER or BUSY.

Instead of "set port tapi", of course you can also try the traditional DOS-like method, but whether it works depends on your PC hardware and Windows configurations:

  K-95> set modem type usrobotics
  K-95> set port com1
  K-95> set speed 57600
  K-95> dial 7654321

Of course there many more options and a great many troubleshooting techniques, but this is only a tutorial. For a summary of Kermit commands, see the C-Kermit Manual Page and Tutorial. If you have questions, send them to

Terminal Sessions

When the Terminal screen is showing, your keyboard and screen are connected to the remote computer. K95G users should read the GUI Features Document to find out how to use GUI controls to customize the size, shape, and colors of the Terminal screen.

You can get back to the command prompt with Alt-X (hold down the Alt and Shift keys and press the X key). You can get back to the Terminal screen (as long there is a connection) by using Alt-X again. In other words, Alt-X goes back and forth between the terminal screen and the command screen. In K95G, you can also use the second Toolbar button (the one with two arrows) for this.

Kermit's Alt-Shift-key combinations are available in all emulations (except in PCTERM keyboard mode). In most emulations (including VTxxx), you don't have to use the Shift key, but in others (QNX, SCOANSI, HFT, etc) you must use the Shift key because unshifted Alt-key combinations are used in those emulations. In short: If Alt-X and Alt-H don't work, try again with the Shift key held down.

An alternative method of getting back to the prompt is to type Ctrl-] (hold down the Ctrl key and press the right-bracket key), and then press the C key. This should work no matter what terminal is being emulated.

Alt-H in the terminal screen (or any other screen) pops up a context-sensitive menu of some of the many "hot keys" that are available, and what they do. Press the Space bar to make the menu go away. The Alt-H screen reveals several other important keys:

Page Up
Scrolls the current screen (Terminal or Command) back one screen.

Page Down
Scrolls the current screen down one screen (if not already at the bottom).

Scrolls the current screen to the top of the scrollback buffer.

Scrolls the current screen to the bottom of the scrollback buffer.

Ctrl-Page Up
(Hold down the Ctrl key and press the Page Up key) Scrolls the current screen (Terminal or Command) back one line.

Ctrl-Page Down
Scrolls the current screen down one line (if not already at the bottom).

Sends the contents of the current screen to the printer.

You can copy and paste with the mouse, but Kermit 95 uses its own built-in mouse handling for this. To copy, simply sweep the mouse across the desired text with the left button held down. The text to be copied is highlighted. When you let go of the mouse, the text is copied to the clipboard.

You can paste into the Terminal screen with Shift-Insert. This sends the text from the clipboard to the host. You can also copy and paste simultaneously within the Terminal screen, thus transmitting some existing text on the Terminal screen back to the host; to do this, hold down the Ctrl key and drag the desired text with left mouse button depressed. When you let go of the button, the text is transmitted. Of course there are many other mouse options; see the third Alt-h screen for a list.

You can change key mappings with SET KEY or SET TERMINAL KEY, and display with SHOW KEY.

File Transfer

This is another big topic, so we'll just look at the easiest way. Let's assume you are connected to a UNIX host (UNIX includes Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, FreeBSD, etc etc) which has C-Kermit or G-Kermit installed. Kermit 95 is in its Terminal screen and the host's shell prompt indicates it is ready for you to type a shell command. Then:

To download a file (send it from the host to your PC), type the following command at the host's shell prompt:

  kermit -s filename

where filename is the name of the file or files you want to download and "-s" means "send". Kermit 95 takes care of the rest automatically.

To upload a file (get it from your PC to the host computer), type the following command at the host's shell prompt:

  kermit -g filename

where filename is the name of the file or files you want to upload. If the filename contains wildcards (like "*") you'll have to enclose the filename in doublequotes. "-g" means "get". Kermit 95 sends the desired files automatically.

If C-Kermit is not installed on the host, try G-Kermit (substitute "gkermit" for "kermit" in the commands). If neither is installed, you can install them yourself (see links below). Or else try Zmodem ("sz filename" to download but for uploading it's a bit more complicated).


Kermit 95 includes optional secure authentication and strong encryption features for use in organizations with centrally managed security. Secure connections in Kermit 95 require (a) a special secure version of Kermit 95; (b) access to a host that supports Kerberos IV, Kerberos V, SSL/TSL, or SRP security; and (c) configuration of Kermit 95 to use the appropriate security method on the host and to provide the host with any required information. This is not generally something that an end user would do; rather, it would be done centrally, e.g. at a university that had site-licensed Kermit 95, or at a company with bulk license. Setup and use of K95's security options are thoroughly documented HERE; this document is intended mainly for system and/or network administrators.

As of version 1.1.21 (April 2002) Kermit 95 includes full SSH v1 and v2 capability. CLICK HERE for complete details.

Remote Access

Kermit 95 comes with a "host mode" script that allows you to set up text-mode menu-driven access for others to access your Windows PC, either by dialing it up or by making a Telnet connection to it. CLICK HERE for an overview. Plain-text documentation is available as follows:
The K95 host-mode administrator manual.
Host-mode user manual.

Now there is also a new remote access server, the Windows Kermit Internet Service Daemon (WIKSD), available only for Windows NT, 2000, and XP, and usable only from the Internet (not direct dialup). Here's the information:


Kermit 95 documentation consists of:

The Kermit 95 Manual
In your K95 DOCS\MANUAL directory in HTML format, included with all copies of Kermit 95. When you install Kermit 95, desktop shortcuts and/or Start Menu items are created (if you wish), and you can also access it from the Dialer's Help menu or K95G's Help menu. This manual concentrates on the Windows-specific aspects of Kermit 95: the Dialer, terminal emulation, key mapping, mouse usage, printing, and so on.

Using C-Kermit
The C-Kermit manual explains the command language, the scripting language, making and using connections, file transfer, character sets, and troubleshooting: areas that are common to C-Kermit and Kermit 95. This manual is available in printed book form, and is also included with the shrinkwrapped retail Kermit 95 package on the CDROM as a PDF file. It is current as of C-Kermit 6.0, which is concurrent with Kermit 95 1.1.8.

The C-Kermit 7.0 Supplement
Thorough documentation of the new features of C-Kermit 7.0, which is approximately concurrent with K95 1.1.20. Online at the Kermit Website as:

The C-Kermit 8.0 Supplement
Thorough documentation of the new features of C-Kermit 8.0, concurrent with K95 2.0. Online at the Kermit Website as:

Web Links

Kermit 95 / Columbia University / / 24 October 2002