Today we are going to learn how to enable SSH and the ESXi shell on VMware vSphere 5.1 and 5.x in very simple steps. We are going to do this using the ESXi/vSpher Hypervisor console window. This post hopefully will help those that are starting out with VMware vSphere or those that already run their own lab and needed a memory reminder.

To gain access to your ESXi host’s console window is a process that is not straight forward, this is due to the physical restrictions when you are in the production environment, but, in your lab environment,  if you have a keyboard and a monitor  connected to the host, you can enable SSH and the ESXi shell through the console window in just some few basic steps.

First step, log into the ESXi console, bring up the logon box by pressing the <F2> button.

Under the “Authentication required” logon window enter your login username and password, and then press the <Enter> key to continue.

From the “System Customization” screen scroll down to “Troubleshooting Options” and press the <Enter> key.

Then you will see four options under the “Troubleshooting Mode Options” menu, from there you toggle between enabling and disabling the “ESXi Shell” and/or “SSH”.  By selecting the relevant option and pressing the <Enter> key you can toggle between enabling and disabling that part particular option. After that if you are given the option to” Enable” it means that the setting is currently disabled.

If you want to enable SSH on the ESXi 5.x host you need to highlight the relevant line “Enable SSH” and then press <Enable> key. After setting the options simply exit back out of the console window.

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