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Install Chef Infra Client on Windows Nodes

Installation Methods

There are several methods available to install Chef Infra Client depending on the needs of your organization.

Chef Infra Client can be installed on machines running Windows in the following ways:

  • By bootstrapping Chef Infra Client using knife bootstrap from a local workstation using WinRM
  • By downloading Chef Infra Client to the target node, and then running the Microsoft Installer Package (MSI) locally
  • By using an existing process already in place for managing Microsoft Windows machines, such as System Center

Use knife CLI

The knife windows subcommand is used to interact with Windows systems managed by Chef Infra. Nodes are configured using WinRM, which allows external applications to call native objects like batch scripts, Windows PowerShell scripts, or scripting library variables. The knife windows subcommand supports NTLM and Kerberos methods of authentication.

Necessary Ports

WinRM requires that a target node be accessible using the ports configured to support access using HTTP or HTTPS.

Use MSI Installer

A Microsoft Installer Package (MSI) is available for installing Chef Infra Client on a Windows machine at Chef Downloads.

Msiexec.exe is used to install Chef Infra Client on a node as part of a bootstrap operation. The actual command that is run by the default bootstrap script is:


where /qn is used to set the user interface level to “No UI”, /i is used to define the location in which Chef Infra Client is installed, and "%LOCAL_DESTINATION_MSI_PATH%" is a variable defined in the default windows-chef-client-msi.erb bootstrap template. See for more information about the options available to Msiexec.exe.


The ADDLOCAL parameter adds two setup options specific to Chef Infra Client. These options can be passed along with an Msiexec.exe command:

ChefClientFeatureUse to install Chef Infra Client.
ChefSchTaskFeatureUse to configure Chef Infra Client as a scheduled task in Windows.
ChefPSModuleFeatureUsed to install the chef PowerShell module. This will enable chef command line utilities within PowerShell.

First install Chef Infra Client, and then enable it to run as a scheduled task. For example:

msiexec /qn /i C:\inst\chef-client-15.3.14-1-x64.msi ADDLOCAL="ChefClientFeature,ChefSchTaskFeature,ChefPSModuleFeature"

Running as a Scheduled Task

On Windows, run Chef Infra Client periodically as a scheduled task. Scheduled tasks provides visibility, configurability, and reliability around log rotation and permissions. You can configure the Chef Infra Client to run as a scheduled task using the chef_client_scheduled_task resource.

Scheduled Task Options

To run Chef Infra Client at periodic intervals (so that it can check in with Chef Infra Server automatically), configure Chef Infra Client to run as a scheduled task. This can be done using the MSI, by selecting the Chef Unattended Execution Options –> Chef Infra Client Scheduled Task option on the Custom Setup page or by running the following command after Chef Infra Client is installed:

For example:

SCHTASKS.EXE /CREATE /TN ChefClientSchTask /SC MINUTE /MO 30 /F /RU "System" /RP /RL HIGHEST /TR "cmd /c \"C:\opscode\chef\embedded\bin\ruby.exe C:\opscode\chef\bin\chef-client -L C:\chef\chef-client.log -c C:\chef\client.rb\""

Refer to the Schtasks documentation for more details.

After Chef Infra Client is configured to run as a scheduled task, the default file path is: c:\chef\chef-client.log.

Use an Existing Process

Many organizations already have processes in place for managing the applications and settings on various Windows machines. For example, System Center. Chef Infra Client can be installed using this method.

PATH System Variable

On Windows, Chef Infra Client must have two entries added to the PATH environment variable:

  • C:\opscode\chef\bin
  • C:\opscode\chef\embedded\bin

This is typically done during the installation of Chef Infra Client automatically. If these values (for any reason) are not in the PATH environment variable, Chef Infra Client will not run properly.


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