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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Disabling SSH services on an ESXi host using the vSphere Client fails with the error: Cannot change the host configuration


  • Stopping SSH services on a ESXi host using the vSphere Client fails
  • Disabling SSH service on an ESXi 5.1 using the vSphere Client fails
  • You see the error:

    Cannot change the host configuration.
  • The SSH service continues to allow new login attempts despite the error
  • The error appears intermittently and you may be able to stop the services if you retry


This is a known issue, and is being reviewed by VMware.

To work around this issue:

Note: This workaround is provided with no warranty and is experimental. Ensure that you back up any files prior to making changes.

  1. SSH into the ESXi 5.1 host.
  2. Navigate to the service directory:

    cd etc/vmware/service/
  3. Back up the service.xml file prior to making changes:

    cp service.xml service.xml.backup
  4. Edit the service.xml file using a text editor. For more information, see Editing files on an ESX host using vi or nano (1020302).
  5. Locate the entry <ruleset>sshServer</ruleset>, and delete this line from the service.xml file.
  6. Save and close the file.
  7. Refresh the networking settings by running the command:

    esxcli network firewall refresh
  8. Exit the SSH session.
  9. In the vSphere Client, select the ESXi host, go to Configuration > Security Profile, and click Refresh in the Firewall section.

You should now able to disable SSH and the firewall rule should also be disabled.
Note: If your problem still exists after trying the steps in this article, file a support request with VMware Support and note this Knowledge Base article ID (2037544) in the problem description. For more information, see How to Submit a Support Request.