GNS3 + Xshell 5 = Win
For those of you that may not know (and most don’t), there is an excellent freely licensed (for home use) shell, ssh, telnet and serial terminal emulator for the Windows platform that I have been using (when not using my tried and true Secure CRT) for some time now call Xshell 5 by NetSarang. Xshell 5 is a fantastic piece of software that has some really cool features baked in that I truly enjoy. My most favorite feature is the tabbing feature called “Arrange Tiled”. This golden nugget feature allows me to easily fill up my screen real-estate with vty session windows (or whatever session you tend to use). Marry this emulator with GNS3 and you have a command line experience that’s hard to get elsewhere.
To get Xshell 5 to work in GNS3 simply navigate to Edit > Preferences. Under the General section click on the Console Applications tab on your right. Click on the ‘Edit’ button next to ‘Console application command for Telnet:’ and from the resulting menu that emerges simply use the drop-down menu to select Xshell 5 as GNS3 has built-in support for this. Now you can finally feel like a true Hollywood nerd. Happy hacking.