Spinning up Windows Minions

It is possible to use Salt Cloud to spin up Windows instances, and then install Salt on them. This functionality is available on all cloud providers that are supported by Salt Cloud. However, it may not necessarily be available on all Windows images.


Salt Cloud makes use of smbclient and winexe to set up the Windows Salt Minion installer. smbclient may be part of either the samba package, or its own smbclient package, depending on the distribution. winexe is less commonly available in distribution-specific repositories. However, it is currently being built for various distributions in 3rd party channels:

Additionally, a copy of the Salt Minion Windows installer must be present on the system on which Salt Cloud is running. This installer may be downloaded from saltstack.com:

Firewall Settings

Because Salt Cloud makes use of smbclient and winexe, port 445 must be open on the target image. This port is not generally open by default on a standard Windows distribution, and care must be taken to use an image in which this port is open, or the Windows firewall is disabled.


Configuration is set as usual, with some extra configuration settings. The location of the Windows installer on the machine that Salt Cloud is running on must be specified. This may be done in any of the regular configuration files (main, providers, profiles, maps). For example:

Setting the installer in /etc/salt/cloud.providers:

  provider: softlayer
  user: MYUSER1138
  apikey: 'e3b68aa711e6deadc62d5b76355674beef7cc3116062ddbacafe5f7e465bfdc9'
    master: saltmaster.example.com
  win_installer: /root/Salt-Minion-0.17.0-AMD64-Setup.exe
  win_username: Administrator
  win_password: letmein

The default Windows user is Administrator, and the default Windows password is blank.