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Install Chef Workstation

Start your infrastructure automation with Chef Workstation. Chef Workstation gives you everything you need to get started with Chef - ad hoc remote execution, remote scanning, configuration tasks, cookbook creation tools as well as robust dependency and testing software - all in one easy-to-install package.

Chef Workstation includes:

  • Chef Infra Client
  • Chef InSpec
  • Chef Habitat
  • chef and knife command line tools
  • Testing tools such as Test Kitchen and Cookstyle
  • Everything else needed to author cookbooks and upload them to the Chef Infra Server

Supported Platforms

Supported Host Operating Systems:

Amazon Linux2
Apple macOS10.15, 11, 12
Windows10, 11, Server 2012, Server 2012 R2, Server 2016, Server 2019, Server 2022
Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS7.x, 8.x, 9.x
Ubuntu18.04, 20.04, 22.04
Debian10, 11

System Requirements

Minimum system requirements:

  • RAM: 4GB
  • Disk: 8GB
  • Additional memory and storage space may be necessary to take advantage of Chef Workstation tools such as Test Kitchen which creates and manages virtualized test environments.

Additional Chef Workstation App Requirements:

  • On Linux you must have a graphical window manager running with support for system tray icons. For some distributions you may also need to install additional libraries. After you install the Chef Workstation package from the terminal, the post-install message will tell you which, if any, additional libraries are required to run the Chef Workstation App.


The Chef Workstation installer must run as a privileged user.

Chef Workstation installs to /opt/chef-workstation/ on macOS / Linux and C:\opscode\chef-workstation\ on Windows. These file locations help avoid interference between these components and other applications that may be running on the target machine.

macOS Install

  1. Visit the Chef Workstation downloads page and select the appropriate package for your macOS version. Select on the Download button.
  2. Follow the steps to accept the license and install Chef Workstation.

Alternately, install Chef Workstation using the Homebrew package manager:

brew install --cask chef-workstation

Windows Install

  1. Visit the Chef Workstation downloads page and select the appropriate package for your Windows version. Click on the Download button.
  2. Follow the steps to accept the license and install Chef Workstation. You will have the option to change your install location; by default the installer uses the C:\opscode\chef-workstation\ directory.
  3. Optional: Set the default shell. On Windows it is strongly recommended to use Windows PowerShell instead of cmd.exe.

Alternately, install Chef Workstation using the Chocolatey package manager:

choco install chef-workstation

Headless Unattended Install

“Headless” systems are configured to operate without a monitor (the “head”) keyboard, and mouse. They are usually administered remotely using protocols such as SSH or WinRM.

Chef Workstation can be installed on a headless system using the msiexec command and flags to skip the installation of the Chef Workstation Application, which requires a GUI. Run the following command in Windows PowerShell or cmd.exe, replacing MsiPath with the path of the downloaded Chef Workstation installer.

msiexec /q /i MsiPath ADDLOCAL=ALL REMOVE=ChefWSApp

Spaces and Directories

Directories that are used by Chef products on Windows cannot have spaces. For example, C:\Users\User Name will not work, but C:\Users\UserName will. Chef commands may fail if used against a directory with a space in its name.

Top-level Directory Names

Windows will throw errors when path name lengths are too long. For this reason, it is often helpful to use a short top-level directory, much like what is done in UNIX and Linux. For example, Chef uses /opt/ to install Chef Workstation on macOS. A similar approach can be done on Windows, by creating a top-level directory with a short name. For example: C:\chef.


  1. Visit the Chef Workstation downloads page and download the appropriate package for your distribution:

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux

    • Debian/Ubuntu

  2. Use your distribution’s package manager to install Chef Workstation:

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

      yum localinstall chef-workstation-21.10.640-1.el8.x86_64.rpm
    • Debian/Ubuntu:

      dpkg -i chef-workstation_21.10.640-1_amd64.deb

Verify the Installation

To verify the installation, run:

chef -v

Which returns the versions of all installed Chef tools:

Chef Workstation version: 21.10.640
Chef Infra Client version: 17.6.18
Chef InSpec version: 4.46.13
Chef CLI version: 5.4.2
Chef Habitat version: 1.6.351
Test Kitchen version: 3.1.0
Cookstyle version: 7.25.6


To upgrade from ChefDK or an earlier release of Chef Workstation, follow the instructions provided under Installing.


Mac Uninstall

Run uninstall_chef_workstation in your terminal.

Windows Uninstall

Use Add / Remove Programs to remove Chef Workstation.

Linux Uninstall

Ubuntu, Debian, and related:

sudo dpkg -P chef-workstation

Red Hat, CentOS, and related:

sudo yum remove chef-workstation

Next Steps

Now that you’ve installed Chef Workstation, proceed to the Setup guide to configure your Chef Workstation installation.

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