SSH access to the console of an ESXi system is disabled by default as it is considered an ‘unsupported’ feature. To enable it, there are just a few simple steps:
- At the ESXi console, hit ALT-F1 to change to the console window
- Type in the word ‘unsupported’ and enter. You will not see anything echoed to the screen, so you just have to trust your typing skills.
- If you typed it correctly, you will be prompted with a Tech Support Mode warning and a password prompt. Enter the root password to log in.
- Edit /etc/inetd.conf, and uncomment (remove the leading #) the line for ssh (the line begins with #ssh). Save the file.
- Reload the inet process. This can be done by either rebooting the system or executing kill -HUP <pid>, where <pid> is the process id for inetd. This can be found via : ps -ef | grep inet