The Ultimate Ansible Cheat Sheet for Windows Users

The Ultimate Ansible Cheat Sheet for Windows Users

In the ever-evolving landscape of IT automation, Ansible has emerged as a powerful tool for managing and orchestrating complex tasks. While traditionally associated with Unix-based systems, Ansible has made significant strides in extending its support to Windows environments. For Windows users venturing into the realm of Ansible, mastering the essential commands and workflows is crucial. This comprehensive cheat sheet is designed to be your go-to guide, providing step-by-step instructions, useful commands, and practical examples to help you harness the full potential of Ansible on Windows.

  1. Installation on Windows:

    Before diving into Ansible magic, ensure you have it installed on your Windows machine. Use the following commands to install Ansible using Python's package manager, pip:

    pip install ansible

    Verify the installation by running:

    ansible --version
  2. Configuring Ansible for Windows:

    Ansible uses configuration files to define settings and manage inventories. Create an ansible.cfg file and set the necessary configurations. A simple configuration might look like this:

    host_key_checking = False
    inventory = ./inventory.ini

    Save this file in the project directory.

  3. Inventory Management:

    The inventory file specifies the hosts on which Ansible will operate. Create an inventory.ini file and define your Windows hosts:


    Replace win_host1 and win_host2 with the actual hostnames or IP addresses of your Windows machines.

  4. Running Ad-Hoc Commands:

    Ansible allows you to run ad-hoc commands for quick tasks. Use the following syntax to execute a simple command on all Windows hosts:

    ansible windows -i inventory.ini -m win_shell -a "Get-Process"

    This command fetches information about running processes on all specified Windows hosts.

  5. Playbook Basics:

    Playbooks are at the core of Ansible automation. Create a YAML file, e.g., win_playbook.yml, and define a basic playbook structure:

    - hosts: windows
    - name: Ensure a directory exists
    path: C:\example_directory
    state: directory

    Run the playbook with:

    ansible-playbook -i inventory.ini win_playbook.yml

    This example creates a directory on all specified Windows hosts.

  6. Working with Variables:

    Leverage variables to make your playbooks more dynamic. Define variables in your playbook or use external files. For example:

    - hosts: windows
    message: "Hello, Windows!"
    - name: Display message
    win_shell: "Write-Host "

    This playbook displays a custom message on all Windows hosts.

More Examples:

  • Installing Software:

    - hosts: windows
    - name: Install Notepad++
    name: notepadplusplus
    state: present

    This playbook uses Chocolatey to install Notepad++ on Windows hosts.

  • Configuring Windows Features:

    - hosts: windows
    - name: Ensure Telnet is installed
    name: Telnet-Client
    state: present

    This playbook ensures that the Telnet client feature is installed on Windows hosts.

As you embark on your Ansible journey in a Windows environment, this cheat sheet serves as your compass, guiding you through installations, configurations, and automation tasks. The examples provided offer a glimpse into the vast possibilities that Ansible unlocks for Windows users. Mastering these commands and playbooks will empower you to streamline your IT operations and elevate your automation game.

Related Searches and Questions asked:

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