This is a cool thing I’ve found out: You can see the ESXi Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) via SSH! Normally you can see this yellow/gray console via  monitor into your physical ESXi host, connect via IPMI/iDRAC/iLO, or via console when running a nested ESXi VM. There is not much real practical use out of this if you are running this in a production environment since you should have some sort of remote management. Maybe if you are in too much of a rush to configure DNS via esxcli, open vSphere (C# client or web client),  or for training purposes.

Here is how to do it:

1. Enable SSH and ESXi Shell

You can do this two ways: physically or via vSphere client.


  • Connect your monitor and keyboard
  • Go to Troubleshooting Options>Enable SSH

vSphere client (Windows C#):

  • Connect to your ESXi host and navigate over to: Configuration>Software>Security Profile>Services>Profiles
  • Select SSH and click “Options”
  • Select “Start and stop with host” under Startup Policy and Start.
  • Same steps for ESXi Shell
vSphere Security Profile


SSH service



SSH started.


2.  Connect to your ESXi host via SSH.

Open a terminal (or putty for you Windows users) and SSH to your host.

One you are logged in, run “dcui”


ESXi DCUI configuration screen
ESXi DCUI configuration screen
ESXi DCUI console login
ESXi DCUI console login
Run "dcui"
Run “dcui”

And there you have it: That familiar ESXi console screen! Have fun and impress your coworkers. To get out of dcui, just do a ctrl+c and that should drop you back to the esxcli.

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