NetBus was written in Delphi by Carl-Fredrik Neikter, a Swedish programmer in March 1998. It was in wide circulation before Back Orifice was released, in August 1998. The author claimed that the program was meant to be used for pranks, not for illegally breaking into computer systems. Translated from Swedish, the name means "NetPrank".

When started for the first time, the server would install itself on the host computer, including modifying the Windows registry so that it starts automatically on each system startup. The server is a faceless process listening for connections on port 12345 (in some versions, the port number can be adjusted). Port 12346 is used for some tasks, as well as port 20034.

The client was a separate program presenting a graphical user interface that allowed the user to perform a number of activities on the remote computer. Examples of its capabilities:
Keystroke logging
Keystroke injection
Screen captures
Program launching
File browsing
Shutting down the system
Opening / closing CD-tray
Tunneling protocol (NetBus connections through a number of systems.)

The NetBus client was designed to support the following operating system versions:
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT 4.0
Netbus client (v1.70) works fine in Windows 2000 and in Windows XP as well