Installing Windows Agents

A newer version is available; see the version menu above for details.

windows logo This chapter refers to Windows functionality. To install PE on *nix nodes, see Installing Puppet Enterprise.

For supported versions of Windows, see the System Requirements page.

Windows nodes in Puppet Enterprise:

  • Can fetch configurations from a puppet master and apply manifests locally
  • Can respond to live management or orchestration commands
  • Cannot serve as a puppet master, console, or database support server

See the main Puppet on Windows documentation for details on running Puppet on Windows and writing manifests for Windows.

In particular, note that puppet must be run with elevated privileges (a.k.a., “Run as administrator”), as explained in this section on Windows Security Context.

Installing Puppet

To install Puppet Enterprise on a Windows node, simply download and run the installer, which is a standard Windows .msi package and will run as a graphical wizard. Alternately, you can run the installer unattended; see “Automated Installation” below.

The installer must be run with elevated privileges. Installing Puppet does not require a system reboot.

The only information you need to specify during installation is the hostname of your puppet master server:

Puppet master hostname selection

After Installation

Once the installer finishes:

  • Puppet agent will be running as a Windows service, and will fetch and apply configurations every 30 minutes (by default). You can now assign classes to the node as normal; see “Puppet: Assigning Configurations to Nodes” for more details. After the first puppet run, the MCollective service will also be running and the node can now be controlled with live management and orchestration. The puppet agent service and the MCollective service can be started and stopped independently using either the service control manager GUI or the command line sc.exe utility; see Running Puppet on Windows for more details.
  • The Start Menu will contain a Puppet folder, with shortcuts for running puppet agent manually, running Facter, and opening a command prompt for use with the Puppet tools. See Running Puppet on Windows for more details.

    Start Menu icons

  • Puppet is automatically added to the machine’s PATH environment variable. This means you can open any command line and call puppet, facter and the few other batch files that are in the bin directory of the Puppet installation. This will also add necessary items for the Puppet environment to the shell, but only for the duration of execution of each of the particular commands.

Automated Installation

For automated deployments, Puppet can be installed unattended on the command line as follows:

msiexec /qn /norestart /i puppet.msi

You can also specify /l*v install.txt to log the progress of the installation to a file.

The following public MSI properties can also be specified:

MSI Property Puppet Setting Default Value
INSTALLDIR n/a Version-dependent; see below
PUPPET_AGENT_CERTNAME certname Value of facter fdqn (must be lowercase)
PUPPET_AGENT_ENVIRONMENT environment production
PUPPET_AGENT_STARTUP_MODE n/a Automatic; see startup mode
PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_USER n/a LocalSystem; see agent account
PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_PASSWORD n/a No Value; see agent account
PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_DOMAIN n/a .; see agent account

For example:

msiexec /qn /norestart /i puppet.msi

Note: If a value for the environment variable already exists in puppet.conf, specifying it during installation will NOT override that value.


Puppet can be upgraded by installing a new version of the MSI package. No extra steps are required, and the installer will handle stopping and re-starting the puppet agent service.

When upgrading, the installer will not replace any settings in the main puppet.conf configuration file, but it can add previously unspecified settings if they are provided on the command line.


Puppet can be uninstalled through the Windows standard Add or Remove Programs interface or from the command line.

To uninstall from the command line, you must have the original MSI file or know the ProductCode of the installed MSI:

msiexec /qn /norestart /x [puppet.msi|product-code]

Uninstalling will remove Puppet’s program directory, the puppet agent service, and all related registry keys. It will leave the data directory intact, including any SSL keys. To completely remove Puppet from the system, the data directory can be manually deleted.

Installation Details

What Gets Installed

In order to provide a self-contained installation, the Puppet installer includes all of Puppet’s dependencies, including Ruby, Gems, and Facter. (Puppet redistributes the 32-bit Ruby application from MCollective is also installed.

These prerequisites are used only for Puppet Enterprise components and do not interfere with other local copies of Ruby.

Program Directory

Unless overridden during installation, Puppet and its dependencies are installed into the standard Program Files directory for 32-bit applications and the Program Files(x86) directory for 64-bit applications.

Puppet Enterprise’s default installation path is:

OS type Default Install Path
32-bit C:\Program Files\Puppet Labs\Puppet Enterprise
64-bit C:\Program Files (x86)\Puppet Labs\Puppet Enterprise

The Program Files directory can be located using the PROGRAMFILES environment variable on 32-bit versions of Windows or the PROGRAMFILES(X86) variable on 64-bit versions.

Puppet’s program directory contains the following subdirectories:

Directory Description
bin scripts for running Puppet and Facter
facter Facter source
hiera Hiera source
mcollective MCollective source
mcollective_plugins plugins used by MCollective
misc resources
puppet Puppet source
service code to run puppet agent as a service
sys Ruby and other tools

Agent Startup Mode

The agent is set to Automatic startup by default, but allows for you to pass Manual or Disabled as well.

  • Automatic means that the Puppet agent will start with windows and be running all the time in the background. This is the what you would choose when you want to run Puppet with a master.
  • Manual means that the agent will start up only when it is started in the services console or through net start on the command line. Typically this used in advanced usages of Puppet.
  • Disabled means that the agent will be installed but disabled and will not be able to start in the services console (unless you change the start up type in the services console first). This is desirable when you want to install puppet but you only want to invoke it as you specify and not use it with a master.

Agent Account

By default, Puppet installs the agent with the built in SYSTEM account. This account does not have access to the network, therefore it is suggested that another account that has network access be specified. The account must be an existing account. In the case of a domain user, the account does not need to have accessed the box. If this account is not a local administrator and it is specified as part of the install, it will be added to the Administrators group on that particular node. The account will also be granted Logon as Service as part of the installation process. As an example, if you wanted to set the agent account to a domain user AbcCorp\bob you would call the installer from the command line appending the following items: PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_DOMAIN=AbcCorp PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_USER=bob PUPPET_AGENT_ACCOUNT_PASSWORD=password.

Data Directory

Puppet Enterprise and its components store settings (puppet.conf), manifests, and generated data (like logs and catalogs) in the data directory. Puppet’s data directory contains two subdirectories for the various components (facter, MCollective, etc.):

  • etc (the $confdir) contains configuration files, manifests, certificates, and other important files
  • var (the $vardir) contains generated data and logs

When run with elevated privileges — Puppet’s intended state — the data directory is located in the COMMON_APPDATA folder. This folder’s location varies by Windows version:

OS Version Path Default
2003 %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\PuppetLabs\puppet C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\PuppetLabs\
7, 2008, 2012 %PROGRAMDATA%\PuppetLabs\ C:\ProgramData\PuppetLabs\

Since the CommonAppData directory is a system folder, it is hidden by default. See for steps to show system and hidden files and folders.

If Puppet is run without elevated privileges, it will use a .puppet directory in the current user’s home folder as its data directory. This may result in Puppet having unexpected settings.


For more details about using Puppet on Windows, see:

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