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Supported Product

OpenText's HostExplorer is the University's supported and recommended Kerberos Telnet and TN 3270 client for Windows PCs with connections to PennNet. HostExplorer is also a supported product for VT100 terminal emulation.

This version of HostExplorer has been configured to include profiles for many of the University's text-based application servers. It contains the secure profiles necessary to connect to the University's mainframe applications (SRS, SRFS, PR) on

Important note: BEN Application users should refer to the BEN Desktop Standards Document for information about text-based network access clients that have been approved for use with BEN.


Windows compatibility

HostExplorer 15 and above function correctly in Windows 8 Update 1.


HostExplorer is site licensed at Penn and is available free of charge to members of the Penn community. HostExplorer is available for download using your PennKey and password.

Download HostExplorer (64-bit)
Download HostExplorer (32-bit)

Related resources


About HostExplorer: HostExplorer allows Windows computers to access remote services on the Internet using the Telnet protocol. This protocol allows your computer to interact with a remote host as if it were a terminal directly attached to that host. Using the Internet's Telnet utility, however, requires that you know which host you want to log onto. In most instances, you will probably obtain the name of the host or its IP address from an Internet resource, from a book, or from some other published source. (Each host has an IP address. IP addresses uniquely identify each computer on the network.)

HostExplorer allows you to save your Telnet connections as icons to your desktop. Then, each time you want to connect to a particular host, you can double-click its saved Telnet icon. This is a quick way to start a session with those remote hosts that you want to connect to regularly.

Check for secure Administrative mainframe sessions

Beginning February 3, 2015, encrypted (secure) connections to the Administrative mainframe are required. Follow the steps below to determine if your connection is secure.

  1. Establish a connection to the Administrative mainframe.
  2. Locate the yellow padlock at the lower left corner of the connection window (last line on the HostExplorer session window).
  3. If the padlock is closed, your session is encrypted and secure. No further action is required.
  4. If the padlock has a red “X” displayed over the padlock, your session is not secure. Select one of the options below (A) or (B) to ensure your Administrative mainframe session profiles are encrypted and secure.

(A) Install a recent HostExplorer version

Download and install a recent version of HostExplorer. It contains secure profiles for popular Administrative mainframe sessions (such as SRS, SFS, and PR). The software can be downloaded at:

(B) Reconfigure an existing profile to secure/encrypted

  1. Open the Hummingbird Connectivity program in Windows.
  2. Click on the HostExplorer option. The HostExplorer Open Session window opens.
  3. Right-click on the Profile Name of the session that needs to be changed (e.g.
  4. From the drop-down window, select Properties. A Session Profile window opens.
  5. From the Session Profile window, change the following:
        a) Security Category, General option, click on the SSL/TLS radio button.
        b) Click OK to save the Security change: this will close the pop-up window and return to the HostExplorer Open Session window .
  6. From the HostExplorer Open Session window change the TCP Port (bottom right) to 992.
  7. Click Connect to open the session.

Note: If the options were changed successfully, a locked padlock will appear at the bottom of the HostExplorer session (after connecting). If the padlock displays a red ‘X’, then the session parameters were not changed correctly and the session is still not secure/encrypted.