How to enable telnet and SSH in ESX 4.0

By default telnet and SSH is disabled in ESX 4.0 you have to enable through ESX console.

  • At the console of the ESX host, press ALT-F1 to access the console window.
  • type unsupported in the console and then press Enter. You will not see the text while you typing.
  • If you typed unsupported correctly, you will see a password prompt. Enter root password. Now you are ~# prompt.
  • Type cd /etc in # prompt
  • Type vi /etc/inetd.conf to view inetd.conf file
  • Press insert key of your key board. Find the lines that begins with #ssh and and #telnet by moving your cursor down. delete the # from the beginning of lines using backspace. Now Press ESC button of your keyboard. Type :wq and hit enter. It will save edited inetd.conf file.
  • Now either restart Host or restart the inetd process. To restart inetd run ps | grep inetd to determine the process ID for the inetd process. The output of the command will be something like 1299 1299 busybox  inetd, and the process ID is 1299.
  • Type kill -HUP <process_id> (kill -HUP 1299 in this example)


  • To change the port for SSH, edit the file /etc/services and change the SSH port listed in the file. repeat steps as above
  • Enabling telnet is not recommended for security concern.
  • Putty can be used for either telnet or SSH
  • there are two lines for SSH with ESXi 4.0 – one for IPv4 and the other for IPv6. Do as appropriate for you.
  • It is recommended that you enable SSH just after installing ESX and setting up management IP. Restarting ESX in production environment might disrupt systems access.

About Raihan Al-Beruni

My Name is Raihan Al-Beruni. I am working as an Infrastructure Architect in Data Center Technologies in Perth, Western Australia. I have been working on Microsoft technologies for more than 15 years. Other than Microsoft technologies I also work on Citrix validated solution and VMware data center virtualization technologies. I have a Masters degree in E-Commerce. I am certified in Microsoft, VMware, ITIL and EMC. My core focus is on cloud technologies. In my blog I share my knowledge and experience to enrich information technology community as a whole. I hope my contribution through this blog will help someone who wants more information on data center technologies.
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3 Responses to How to enable telnet and SSH in ESX 4.0

  1. aUtollawl says:

    Delicate place keep up your good work.


  2. Raihan says:

    To SSH in ESX 4.0 Update1 Simply
    Log to ESX Host from console
    Type vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    Press insert Key and scroll down to PermitRootLogin no
    Now delete no and type yes
    Press ESC Key
    Type :wq
    Type esxcfg-firewall -e sshServer
    esxcfg-firewall -e sshClient
    Now use Putty to do SSH
    All Done. Cheers, Raihan


  3. vignesh says:

    thanks!! Great!! it worked


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