"Access Denied" error when using SSH to login to the appliance
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"Access Denied" error when using SSH to login to the appliance


Article ID: 327081


Updated On:


VMware vCenter Server


When logging in to vCenter Server through SSH fails with Access Denied error, set the default shell for the user to bash.

  • Using SSH to log in to vCenter Server Appliance fails
  • You see the error:

    Access Denied
Note: For additional symptoms and log entries, see the Additional Information section.


VMware vCenter Server 7.0.x
VMware vCenter Server 6.7.x
VMware vCenter Server 8.0
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0.x


This issue occurs when the default shell for a user is set to an invalid shell.


To confirm this issue is occurring:

First, shut down the VCSA and take a snapshot.

  1. Start the appliance up and press the space bar to freeze the GRUB menu then press e to enable edit mode.
  2. Locate the line that begins with the word Linux.
  3. Append rw init=/bin/bash to the end of the line.
  4. Press F10 to continue booting.
  5. Run the command: mount -o remount,rw /
  6. Run this command to see the shell settings for the users:
    cat /etc/passwd

    For example:

    postfix:x:51:51:Postfix Daemon:/var/spool/postfix:/bin/false
  7. The root entry should be root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/appliancesh. If this entry does not contain /root:/bin/appliancesh review the /root/.bash_history file to see if an invalid shell was set with this command:

    less /root/.bash_history

    For example:

    chsh -s "/bin/bosh" root

    Note: In the example above the root user was incorrectly set the shell to "/bin/bosh". The line above is the timestamp of this event in epoch format.

To resolve this issue, set the default shell for the user to bash:
  1. Set the default Shell to BASH by running this command:

    chsh -s /bin/bash root
  2. Restart the appliance with the command:


Additional Information

You experience these additional symptoms:
  • You are returned to the login screen.
  • Logging in to the VAMI (https://VC_IP:5480) using same credentials is successful.
  • Using the virtual machine console to log in fails with the error:

    Invalid Shell

    Note: This error is only displayed briefly.
  • In the /var/log/messages.log file, you see entries similar to:

    2016-07-15T10:49:51.021176+00:00 vc sshd[23037]: User root not allowed because shell /bin/bosh does not exist

More Information here:
Unable to log in to the vCenter Server Appliance shell using root account even after password reset

Read this article in different languages here:
SSH を使用してアプライアンスにログインする場合の「アクセスが拒否されました (Access Denied)」エラー