We are going to discuss how to enable root SSH login on the ESX 4.0 server. Root user is disabled by default so all we have to do is get to our ESX console and enable it.
As you know, you log in on the ESX server with the user that you created in the installation process and switch to the root user is made by a little linux command “su” (switch user). Enabled root SSH login is a security issue, someone could get easier access to it and that someone may not have best intentions, but there are situations where you need root access, like testing, folder/file control..etc.
Login as root user to your ESX console.
Enter “cd /etc/ssh” to go to the /ssh directory. Then enter “ls -l” to get the list of the files in the containing directory.
Now we are going to use nano (text editor) to edit the sshd_config file by entering “nano sshd_config”. Now find this line “PermitRootLogin” and change it to yes like shown in the picture.
To exit pres CTRL+X and choose Y to save the file.
Now you have to restart the sshd service to apply all the changes you’ve made. That is done with the command “service sshd restart” or /etc/init.d/sshd restart.