It is possible to open the DCUI (Direct Console User Interface) via SSH – using putty for example:

Open a putty to your ESXi Host (it is necessary to enable SSH – you can find a “how-to” below) and run the command “dcui”:

… now you can use the good old shell:

If you want the known yellow/grey skin just run the following command before starting the dcui:

export TERM=linux

How to enable SSH on your ESXi Host:

1. open Virtual Center – select the ESXi Host and “Configuration” Tab
2. select “Security Profile”
3. now doubleclick SSH in the “Services Properties” window
4. start the SSH service