The ESXi Shell is disabled by default. You can set an availability timeout for the ESXi Shell to increase security when you enable the shell.

The availability timeout setting is the amount of time that can elapse before you must log in after the ESXi Shell is enabled. After the timeout period, the service is disabled and users are not allowed to log in.


  1. Browse to the host in the vSphere Client inventory.
  2. Click Configure.
  3. Under System, select Advanced System Settings.
  4. Click Edit, and select UserVars.ESXiShellTimeOut.
  5. Enter the idle timeout setting.
    You must restart the SSH service and the ESXi Shell service for the timeout to take effect.
  6. Click OK.


If you are logged in when the timeout period elapses, your session will persist. However, after you log out or your session is terminated, users are not allowed to log in.