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Prior to installing vCenter, I had been using vSphere (local thick client) and was able to authenticate to the ESXi host and click "Open Console" to control guest VMs.

After installing a vCenter appliance server, I'm unable to view the console on some guest VMs, either from vSphere local client or the vSphere web client hosted on the vCenter server.

Attempting to use either console view I receive the following error:

Unable to connect to the MKS

Since I was able to remote console through the vSphere local client prior to installing vCenter, I suspect that vCenter somehow alters the way the vSphere local client/ESXi host would remote console to guest VMs.

I am certain there have been no changes to the VMs I am unable to access.

tl;dr; How does installation of vCenter alter ESXi Host console access to guest VMs?

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  • This is a bug I've run into before, though I can't recall what the resolution was. Contact VMware support and they'll get it sorted out. – EEAA Feb 9 '16 at 14:09
  • I'm pretty sure I've run into this as well but also don't remember what the issue was. Not for nothing but this was the first Google result when Googling that message - kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/… – joeqwerty Feb 9 '16 at 15:39
  • @joeqwerty: thanks for the link, I've seen that one. The issue is in my home lab so I'll look into it later tonight. The really frustrating part is that AFAIK the vCenter install altered the way the host connects to guests but I'm unable to find any documentation for this. – DonBecker Feb 9 '16 at 16:17
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I was able to successfully "open console" (view console) on my VMs after completely reinstalling ESXi, and re-adding the VMs on the datastore.

This doesn't completely answer the question of what vCenter installation does to an existing ESXi installation that prevents console access, but does provide a workaround.

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