win_shell - Execute shell commands on target hosts.

New in version 2.2.


  • The win_shell module takes the command name followed by a list of space-delimited arguments. It is similar to the win_command module, but runs the command via a shell (defaults to PowerShell) on the target host.


parameter required default choices comments
set the specified path as the current working directory before executing a command
a path or path filter pattern; when the referenced path exists on the target host, the task will be skipped.
change the shell used to execute the command (eg, cmd). The target shell must accept a /c parameter followed by the raw command line to be executed.
the win_shell module takes a free form command to run. There is no parameter actually named 'free form'. See the examples!
a path or path filter pattern; when the referenced path does not exist on the target host, the task will be skipped.


# Execute a command in the remote shell; stdout goes to the specified
# file on the remote.
- win_shell: C:\somescript.ps1 >> c:\somelog.txt

# Change the working directory to somedir/ before executing the command.
- win_shell: C:\somescript.ps1 >> c:\somelog.txt chdir=c:\somedir

# You can also use the 'args' form to provide the options. This command
# will change the working directory to somedir/ and will only run when
# somedir/somelog.txt doesn't exist.
- win_shell: C:\somescript.ps1 >> c:\somelog.txt
    chdir: c:\somedir
    creates: c:\somelog.txt

# Run a command under a non-Powershell interpreter (cmd in this case)
- win_shell: echo %HOMEDIR%
    executable: cmd
  register: homedir_out

Return Values

Common return values are documented here Return Values, the following are the fields unique to this module:

name description returned type sample
end The command execution end time always string 2016-02-25 09:18:26.755339
stdout The command standard output always string Clustering node [email protected] with [email protected] ...
cmd The command executed by the task always string rabbitmqctl join_cluster [email protected]
start The command execution start time always string 2016-02-25 09:18:26.429568
delta The command execution delta time always string 0:00:00.325771
stderr The command standard error always string ls: cannot access foo: No such file or directory
rc The command return code (0 means success) always int 0
msg changed always boolean True
stdout_lines The command standard output split in lines always list of strings ["u'Clustering node [email protected] with [email protected] ...'"]



  • If you want to run an executable securely and predictably, it may be better to use the win_command module instead. Best practices when writing playbooks will follow the trend of using win_command unless win_shell is explicitly required. When running ad-hoc commands, use your best judgement.
  • WinRM will not return from a command execution until all child processes created have exited. Thus, it is not possible to use win_shell to spawn long-running child or background processes. Consider creating a Windows service for managing background processes.


This module is flagged as preview which means that it is not guaranteed to have a backwards compatible interface.


This module is maintained by those with core commit privileges

For more information on what this means please read Module Support

For help in developing on modules, should you be so inclined, please read Community Information & Contributing, Helping Testing PRs and Developing Modules.