Automating Windows Tasks with Ansible: A Beginner Tutorial

Automating Windows Tasks with Ansible: A Beginner Tutorial

In the ever-evolving landscape of IT, automation has become a cornerstone for efficiency and productivity. Ansible, an open-source automation tool, has gained immense popularity for its simplicity and versatility. This beginner tutorial will guide you through the process of automating Windows tasks using Ansible, providing you with a hands-on experience to streamline your workflow.

Setting up Ansible on Windows:

Before diving into automation, let's ensure Ansible is properly set up on your Windows machine. Follow these steps:

  1. Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL):

    • Open PowerShell as Administrator.
    • Run the command wsl --install to enable WSL.
  2. Install Ansible in WSL:

    • Open your WSL terminal.
    • Run the following commands:
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install ansible
  3. Configure Ansible:

    • Create an inventory file to specify the Windows hosts:
      echo "[windows]" >> /etc/ansible/hosts
      echo "your_windows_host ansible_connection=winrm ansible_user=your_username ansible_password=your_password" >> /etc/ansible/hosts

Ansible Commands for Windows:

Now that Ansible is set up, let's explore some basic commands for Windows automation.

  1. Testing Connection:

    • Verify Ansible can communicate with your Windows host:
      ansible windows -m win_ping
  2. Executing Commands:

    • Run a command on the Windows host:
      ansible windows -m win_shell -a "Get-Process"

Step-by-Step Instructions for a Simple Task:

Let's automate the creation of a folder on the Windows desktop using Ansible.

  1. Create a Playbook:

    • In your WSL terminal, create a new YAML file, e.g., create_folder.yml.
  2. Define the Playbook:

    • Edit the YAML file with the following content:
      - hosts: windows
      - name: Create Desktop Folder
      path: "C:\Users\your_username\Desktop\NewFolder"
      state: directory
  3. Execute the Playbook:

    • Run the playbook using the command:
      ansible-playbook create_folder.yml

More Examples:

Explore further possibilities with Ansible on Windows:

  1. Install Software:

    - name: Install Chrome
    name: googlechrome
    state: present
  2. Configure Windows Features:

    - name: Enable IIS
    name: Web-Server
    state: present
  3. Manage Windows Services:

    - name: Start Print Spooler Service
    name: spooler
    state: started

Congratulations! You've just scratched the surface of Windows automation with Ansible. As you delve deeper, you'll discover the power of automation in simplifying complex tasks and enhancing your overall IT experience. Stay curious, explore, and automate with confidence.

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