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Machine runner installation on Windows

1 month ago5 min read
Server v4.x
Server v3.x
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This page describes how to install CircleCI’s machine runner on Windows. This has been tested for Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016, both in Datacenter Edition. Other Server SKUs with Desktop Experience and Remote Desktop Services should also work.

The page below walks you through installing a machine runner and its dependencies (for example, Chocolatey, Git, and Gzip) on your Windows Server.

Since this setup creates a new local administrator user that runs CircleCI jobs, your Windows Server needs to be capable of creating local users and accepting remote logons for them.

The Windows Server needs to be a domain member when you set this up in domain environments. The self-hosted runner instance cannot run on a Windows Server operating as a domain controller.


To install machine runners and run jobs, you will need to have root access, and have the following utilities and tools installed on your system:

Self-hosted runner terms agreement

1. Create namespace and resource class

2. Set launch agent version (server only)

  • For server v3.1.0 and up, use the table below to find the compatible machine runner launch-agent version for the version of server you are running:

    Server versionLaunch agent version


    Runner not supported













    Substitute <launch-agent-version> with your launch-agent version for server and run the following:

    $Env:agentVer = "<launch-agent-version>"

3. Machine runner installation on Windows

  1. Download the Install-CircleCIRunner.ps1 script from GitHub to an easily accessible location.

  2. Open PowerShell as an administrator and navigate to the directory where you placed the script file.

  3. Run the following in your PowerShell:

    Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072;

    The installation will be output into your PowerShell interface.

  4. As part of the installation, the configuration file for the machine runner (launch-agent-config.yaml) will open in Notepad. Please fill the file out with the requested information (see Self-hosted Runner Configuration Reference). The configuration file is located in the installation directory, C:\Program Files\CircleCI, by default.

After setup completes, the machine runner starts automatically and begins looking for jobs to process.

Machine runner configuration example

The fields you must set for a specific job to run using your machine runners are:

  • machine: true

  • resource_class: <namespace>/<resource-class>

Simple example of how you could set up a job:

version: 2.1

      - runner
    machine: true
    resource_class: <namespace>/<resource-class>
      - run: echo "Hi I'm on Runners!"

Uninstall / reinstall steps

Uninstalling machine runners will prepare the system for installation again.

  1. Download the Uninstall-CircleCIRunner.ps1 script from GitHub to an easily accessible location.

  2. Open PowerShell as an administrator and navigate to the directory where you placed the script file.

  3. Run the following in your PowerShell:


Continuous mode vs. single task mode for Windows self-hosted runners

By default, Windows machine runners run in single task mode in order to ensure high reliablity of the underlying technology that the self-hosted runner uses to execute jobs. This is the recommended mode for Windows machine runners.

A Windows machine runner can be run in continuous mode, however, doing so eliminates the guarantee of a clean job environment. This may translate into jobs not executing as expected and failing.


Refer to the Troubleshoot Machine Runner section of the Troubleshoot Self-hosted Runner guide if you encounter issues installing or running machine runner on Windows.

Help make this document better

This guide, as well as the rest of our docs, are open source and available on GitHub. We welcome your contributions.

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