VanDyke Software



Using The Chat Window To Send Commands To Multiple SecureCRT® Sessions

Note: As of version 7.2, the chat window is called the command window.


If you manage many servers, switches, and routers, you probably often need to issue the same commands to multiple machines. SecureCRT can help make this time-consuming task easier by allowing you to group the sessions in one window and then broadcast commands to all the sessions at once using the chat window.

Sending commands to a set of sessions is a multi-step process.

  1. Organize and start sessions in groups.
  2. Start sessions in tabbed windows or drag several sessions into the same SecureCRT window.
  3. Use a special chat window setting to distribute one command to all the tabbed sessions in that window.

Below, we will walk you through each step of the process. If you have already organized your sessions into groups as outlined in Step 1, you can skip to Step 2.

1. Organize Sessions Into Groups

The first step is connecting the sessions that will take a common set of commands. The easiest way to connect a set of sessions all at once is to organize your sessions in folders and then connect using the Connect dialog. Simply select a folder and click on the Connect button to launch all the sessions in that folder.

2. Start Sessions in Tabbed Windows or Drag Sessions into a SecureCRT Window

An alternate method allows you to quickly group active sessions so that you can issue commands to them. If you have a subset of active sessions that you want to broadcast commands to, you can use SecureCRT draggable tabs to group them in one window.

First, choose a tab, right click on the tab and select Send to New Window. SecureCRT sends the tab to a separate window. Then you can drag as many SecureCRT session tabs as you need into the new window.

Drag tabs to place the sessions in one window

Or, if you already have a group of sessions in a tabbed SecureCRT window, you can drag the tabs you don't want to broadcast commands to into a separate window.

Another way to exclude sessions from receiving commands broadcast from the chat window is to lock them. Chat is not sent to locked sessions, which makes it possible to send chat text to a subset of the tabbed sessions. Sessions can be locked from the File menu or the tab menu.

3. Broadcast Commands Using Chat

Broadcasting commands uses the SecureCRT chat window, which appears underneath the session window. Chat allows you to type in commands that are only sent to the remote when you press the ENTER key (when not in the chat window, each character is sent to the remote as soon as you type it). You can prepare multiple lines of commands in the chat window by using the CTRL+ENTER key combination.

To open the chat window, select Chat window on the View menu. Once all your sessions are started as tabs, right-click in the chat window and choose Send Chat to All Sessions. With this option enabled, each command entered into the chat window is sent to every tab in the SecureCRT window.

You can save commands in the chat window by enabling the chat window history in the Global Options dialog. In the Terminal / Appearance category, enter into the Chat window history option the number of recently used chat window commands that you want SecureCRT to remember (to disable the chat window history, enter a zero (0) in this entry box). In your chat window, you can cycle through these commands using your UP and DOWN arrow keys.

SecureCRT with tabbed sessions and chat window "Send chat to all sessions" command

When you are done broadcasting commands, you may want to restore your session tabs or windows to their previous state. You can drag tabs between windows to do this. When the last tab is dragged into the target window, the second window disappears.

In SecureCRT version 7.0 and later, commands can also be broadcast to tiled sessions, which has the added benefit of being able to see the resulting output from the command in all the sessions at the same time.

SecureCRT with tiled sessions and chat window "Send chat to all sessions" command