The Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) allows you to interact with the host locally using text-based menus. Evaluate carefully whether the security requirements of your environment support enabling the Direct Console User Interface.

You can use the Direct Console User Interface to enable local and remote access to the ESXi Shell. You access the Direct Console User Interface from the physical console attached to the host.
Note: Changes made to the host using the Direct Console User Interface, the vSphere Client, the vSphere Web Client, ESXCLI, or other administrative tools are committed to permanent storage every hour or upon graceful shutdown. Changes might be lost if the host fails before they are committed.

Procedure

  1. From the Direct Console User Interface, press F2 to access the System Customization menu.
  2. Select Troubleshooting Options and press Enter.
  3. From the Troubleshooting Mode Options menu, select a service to enable.
    • Enable ESXi Shell
    • Enable SSH
  4. Press Enter to enable the service.
  5. Press Esc until you return to the main menu of the Direct Console User Interface.

What to do next

Set the availability and idle timeouts for the ESXi Shell. See Set Availability Timeout or Idle Timeout for the ESXi Shell.