»Windows Shell Provisioner

Type: windows-shell

The windows-shell Packer provisioner runs commands on a Windows machine using cmd. It assumes it is running over WinRM.

»Basic Example

The example below is fully functional.

provisioner "windows-shell" {
  inline = ["dir c:\\"]
provisioner "windows-shell" {  inline = ["dir c:\\"]}

»Configuration Reference

The reference of available configuration options is listed below. The only required element is either "inline" or "script". Every other option is optional.

Exactly one of the following is required:

  • inline (array of strings) - This is an array of commands to execute. The commands are concatenated by newlines and turned into a single file, so they are all executed within the same context. This allows you to change directories in one command and use something in the directory in the next and so on. Inline scripts are the easiest way to pull off simple tasks within the machine.

  • script (string) - The path to a script to upload and execute in the machine. This path can be absolute or relative. If it is relative, it is relative to the working directory when Packer is executed.

  • scripts (array of strings) - An array of scripts to execute. The scripts will be uploaded and executed in the order specified. Each script is executed in isolation, so state such as variables from one script won't carry on to the next.

Optional parameters:

  • binary (boolean) - If true, specifies that the script(s) are binary files, and Packer should therefore not convert Windows line endings to Unix line endings (if there are any). By default this is false.

  • valid_exit_codes (list of ints) - Valid exit codes for the script. By default this is just 0.

  • environment_vars (array of strings) - An array of key/value pairs to inject prior to the execute_command. The format should be key=value. Packer injects some environmental variables by default into the environment, as well, which are covered in the section below.

  • execute_command (string) - The command to use to execute the script. By default this is {{ .Vars }}"{{ .Path }}". The value of this is treated as template engine. This is a template engine. Therefore, you may use user variables and template functions in this field. In addition, there are two available extra variables:

    • Path is the path to the script to run
    • Vars is the list of environment_vars, if configured.
  • remote_path (string) - The path where the script will be uploaded to in the machine. This defaults to "c:/Windows/Temp/script.bat". This value must be a writable location and any parent directories must already exist.

  • start_retry_timeout (string) - The amount of time to attempt to start the remote process. By default this is "5m" or 5 minutes. This setting exists in order to deal with times when SSH may restart, such as a system reboot. Set this to a higher value if reboots take a longer amount of time.

Parameters common to all provisioners:

  • pause_before (duration) - Sleep for duration before execution.

  • max_retries (int) - Max times the provisioner will retry in case of failure. Defaults to zero (0). Zero means an error will not be retried.

  • only (array of string) - Only run the provisioner for listed builder(s) by name.

  • override (object) - Override the builder with different settings for a specific builder, eg :

    In HCL2:

    source "null" "example1" {
      communicator = "none"
    source "null" "example2" {
      communicator = "none"
    build {
      sources = ["source.null.example1", "source.null.example2"]
      provisioner "shell-local" {
        inline = ["echo not overridden"]
        override = {
          example1 = {
            inline = ["echo yes overridden"]
    source "null" "example1" {  communicator = "none"}
    source "null" "example2" {  communicator = "none"}
    build {  sources = ["source.null.example1", "source.null.example2"]  provisioner "shell-local" {    inline = ["echo not overridden"]    override = {      example1 = {        inline = ["echo yes overridden"]      }    }  }}

    In JSON:

      "builders": [
          "type": "null",
          "name": "example1",
          "communicator": "none"
          "type": "null",
          "name": "example2",
          "communicator": "none"
      "provisioners": [
          "type": "shell-local",
          "inline": ["echo not overridden"],
          "override": {
            "example1": {
              "inline": ["echo yes overridden"]
    {  "builders": [    {      "type": "null",      "name": "example1",      "communicator": "none"    },    {      "type": "null",      "name": "example2",      "communicator": "none"    }  ],  "provisioners": [    {      "type": "shell-local",      "inline": ["echo not overridden"],      "override": {        "example1": {          "inline": ["echo yes overridden"]        }      }    }  ]}
  • timeout (duration) - If the provisioner takes more than for example 1h10m1s or 10m to finish, the provisioner will timeout and fail.

»Default Environmental Variables

In addition to being able to specify custom environmental variables using the environment_vars configuration, the provisioner automatically defines certain commonly useful environmental variables:

  • PACKER_BUILD_NAME is set to the name of the build that Packer is running. This is most useful when Packer is making multiple builds and you want to distinguish them slightly from a common provisioning script.

  • PACKER_BUILDER_TYPE is the type of the builder that was used to create the machine that the script is running on. This is useful if you want to run only certain parts of the script on systems built with certain builders.

  • PACKER_HTTP_ADDR If using a builder that provides an HTTP server for file transfer (such as hyperv, parallels, qemu, virtualbox, and vmware), this will be set to the address. You can use this address in your provisioner to download large files over HTTP. This may be useful if you're experiencing slower speeds using the default file provisioner. A file provisioner using the winrm communicator may experience these types of difficulties.