VMWare ESXi 3.x secret console and enable SSH access

VMWare ESXi 3.x is a free version and lightweight version of the VMWares ESX platform. It supports most of the key features that ESX has but comes in appliance like package which doesn’t let you configure anything more than just the basic hostname/IP settings. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Infact, ESXi is built from a similar linux variant as the ESX. This is a hidden secret feature.

To reach this secret console go through the following steps.
1) Get to the ESXi console (TUI – Text User interface)
2) Press Alt – F1
3) Enter “unsupported” and hit enter (You will not see any typed)
4) Login in with your root password
5) Congratulations! you have unlocked the secret console!

With this console you can enable ssh with the following steps
1) Login with the above steps
2) Edit the /etc/inetd.conf file
3) Uncomment the SSH session and save the file
4) ps |grep inetd (to get the PID)
5) kill -HUP (to reload the inetd process)
6) Login with your favourite ssh client!

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About the Author

Alfred Tong
Author and owner of this blog. A Networking enthusiast, full time networking and systems Engineer. Generally curious about all things IT. Certifications: GIAC GSEC, CCNP-S, CCNP, CCSP, CCDP, CCNA, RHCE, JNCIA - FWV