LKBEN11097: Howto access the (hidden) console in VMware ESXi server


On the free VMware ESXi server there is no commandline interface as in the full version ESX server


by design


Before trying this, consider the following:

ESXi server is not only free, it´s easy to use and pretty secure too. Usually every administrative task can be done with the Infrastructure client (VI client) or the remote command line interface (RCLI).

Except: editing files like your hosts-file or the inetd.conf for enabling ftp or ssh.

How to get to the console? It can only be done at the server console; first you see the configuration menu, press <ALT> <F1> to get to a kind of logging console. Pressing any keys will result in nothing. Now enter <unsupported> and <enter> (you might need to use the "real" enter key beside the numpad). 

A red warning appears about every of the following will not be supported from vmware in any case... - and a password prompt.

Here enter your root - password and you receive a fine linux prompt.

The ESXi server is a light linux system, so don´t expect neat tools like "man", "nano" or "more", but you´ll find the basic linux commands as ls, cp, cd, vi.


The information provided in this document is intended for your information only. Lubby makes no claims to the validity of this information. Use of this information is at own risk!

About the Author

Author: Wim Peeters - Keskon GmbH & Co. KG

Wim Peeters is electronics engineer with an additional master in IT and over 30 years of experience, including time spent in support, development, consulting, training and database administration. Wim has worked with SQL Server since version 6.5. He has developed in C/C++, Java and C# on Windows and Linux. He writes knowledge base articles to solve IT problems and publishes them on the Lubby Knowledge Platform.