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Chris Hall

Principal Technical Consultant

PolarCloudsUK Chris LinkedIn Github
Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Master - Multicloud Infrastructure 6 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2024 Nutanix Certified Professional - Cloud Integration Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Professional - Multicloud Infrastructure 6 Chris Hall Nutanix Certified Professional - Unified Storage 6 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2023 Chris Hall VMware vExpert 2022
Understandably, the free hypervisors (or Virtual Infrastructure Nodes - VINs - as we used to call them back in the old days) ESX 3i and 4i from VMWare have some limitations over their paid for brethren.

One of them is that access via SSH to the server is not available.  SCP is also not possible 'out of the box'.

This means that remote console or file transfer to the base Linux install via Secure FTP are not possible.

However, SSH and SCP can be enabled with this little hack / trick / workaround:
  1. At the console of the ESXi, hit ALT+F1 to view the console window
  2. Enter the word unsupported and press ENTER (nothing will show on the screen)
  3. A support warning will show if you typed in correctly.
  4. Enter root login password
  5. At the ~# prompt type vi /etc/inetd.conf to edit the configuration file
  6. Find the line #SSH and remove the # by placing the cursor on the sign, press ESC and press x
  7. Be sure that complete line moves to the left, so that there's no space before SSH
  8. Save the file by pressing ESC and :wq!
  9. Back at the ~# type ps aux |grep inetd make a note of the PID for inetd
  10. kill -HUP PID to restart the inetd process
  11. Now test if SSH is working with PuTTY (Can be downloaded here).
  12. If SSH is still not working, try rebooting the ESXi server
Use WinSCP for SCP.

Obviously this is not officially supported by VMware, although the functionality enabled by the above is used for troubleshooting by VMware support.

Funny what you miss when it's taken away...!

- Chris