VMware ESXi enable remote ssh access (unsupported)

To enable VMware ESXi 4.0 SSH (Windows Putty) access:

  • At physical console press ALT+F1. VMware ESXi banner will appear.
  • There is no prompt on the screen, but type ‘unsupported’ and press Enter.
  • Now at password prompt type root password.
  • You are logged in Linux console. Type:

vi /etc/inetd.conf

  • Locate line with commented SSH – ‘#ssh tcp …’, and uncomment it – delete ‘#’. (Press Insert to go into edit mode, delete ‘#’, press Esc to go back, type ‘:wq’ to save and quit.
  • Now you can restart server, or restart services using:

/sbin/services.sh restart

Tested on VMware ESXi 4.0.