SSH into vmware ESXi boxes…

It’s possible to enable ssh on ESXi boxes. It’ll break your warranty, but since you almost definitely don’t pay for ESXi or, indeed, have much of a warranty, you probably don’t care.

You have to hook up a keyboard and monitor to the physical machine when it’s up and running, do alt-f1 to bring up a virtual console. Then type: unsupported

There’ll be no feedback as you type it. Oh, press return afterwards. Now you can login as root with your root password.

Once you’re in, edit the /etc/inetd.conf file to enable ssh. (Remove the hash sign – “pound sign” to americans – from the beginning of the line.) You can use vi to edit the file, use j to move down a line (k to move back up), and x to delete a character. Delete the hash.

Then restart inetd (send it a HUP signal)

~ # ps auxw | grep inetd
1567 1567 busybox              inetd
~ # kill -HUP 1567
~ # ps auxw | grep inetd
1567 1567 busybox              inetd
~ #

Now you should be able to ssh into your ESXi box.

(There’s not a lot you can do there, mind, but at least you can explore the filesystem. And it seems that you can copy vmdk files around.)

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