If you run any of the myriad of devices that use any form of serial connection (ex. RS-232) or an application that is built against the HyperTerminal library, you likely need a console emulator like HyperTerminal or an alternative. A lot of devices that still use serial cables include networking devices (routers, switches, load balancers, etc), CRAC (Computer Room Air Coonditioner) units, Power distribution panels, bank vaults, and many others.
HyperTerminal is the classic serial console communication tool that was provided with Windows up until Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. In windows Vista and Windows 7, Hyperterminal still works, but you have to copy it from a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 machine (it is easy to just build a VM for this purpose and destroy it later). Don't have XP or Server 2003? Check out these alternatives! These two files need to be taken from the Windows XP/Server 2003 installation:
c:\Program Files\Windows NT\Hypertrm.exe
As long as the hypertrm.exe executable can find the hypertrm.dll library, you can install this anywhere on a new Windows 8 system, though it might be logical to place the files in c:\program files (x86)\HyperTerminal\ and create shortcuts or place them in c:\Windows\System32 (this is part of the default system path, so you can simply run hypertrm from the run command or the search menu).
If you don't have access to a Windows XP or Server 2003 installation, don't worry, there are a number of alternative serial emulators for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.