VMWare ESX4i comes with a built-in (but hidden) shell console that is extremely useful to move around vm files and hard disks. Accessing it is easy:
- Press ALT-F1 to switch terminal to the unsupported console.
- Type “unsupported” (there will be no feedback on the screen), press enter.
- It will ask for “Password:” so type in your root password, press enter.
You’re now in the shell. It’s quite limited (mostly BusyBox tools), but very useful nonetheless.
Then, you can enable SSH so that you can access this shell remotely:
- Type: vi /etc/inetd.conf
- Use the down arrow to reach the first like that starts with #ssh
- Type the letter i to enable editing.
- Use the right arrow to move the cursor to the letter s
- Press backspace to erase the # symbol.
- Press escape to exit editing mode.
- Type :wq to write the file and quit.
Now this is the part that other posts on the web about this subject did not include, so I’m adding it in case it helps out anyone.
To enable the SSH server immediately, without rebooting, and without restarting all the services (thus disconnecting all open consoles):
- Type ps | grep inetd and note the first number
- Type kill -HUP (number)
~ # ps | grep inetd 5080 5080 busybox inetd ~ # kill -HUP 5080