Enable shell access for VMware ESXi 5.x

Enabling VMware ESXi shell access with the vSphere Client

Use the vSphere Client to enable local and remote access to the ESXi Shell:

  1. Log in to a vCenter Server system using the vSphere Client.
  2. Select the host in the inventory panel.
  3. Click the Configuration tab and click Security Profile.
  4. In the Services section, click Properties.
  5. Select ESXi Shell from this list:
    ESXi Shell
    Direct Console UI
  6. Click Options and select Start and stop manually.Note: When you select Start and stop manually, the service does not start when you reboot the host. If you want the service to start when you reboot the host, select Start and stop with host.
  7. Select Start to enable the service.
  8. Click OK.

Enabling VMware ESXi shell access with the Direct Console User Interface

Use the direct console user interface to enable the ESXi Shell:

  1. From the direct console user interface, press F2 to access the System Customization menu.
  2. Select Troubleshooting Options and press Enter.
  3. From this Troubleshooting Mode Options menu, select Enable ESXi Shell.
    Enable ESXi Shell
    Enable SSH
  4. Press Enter to enable the service.

Note: This process has been tested on a Dell PowerEdge R320 using the VMware ESXi 5.1.0 custom installer available here.