Jun 17, 2023 4 min read

How To Install And Manage Desktop Apps On Windows With Ansible And Chocolatey Scripts

How to use Chocolatey and Ansible together to manage desktop apps on Windows operating systems.

How To Install And Manage Desktop Apps On Windows With Ansible And Chocolatey Scripts
Table of Contents

By this time most of the readers on this blog know I am an automation junkie and Ansible is my dealer. I started using Chocolatey about 2 years ago as it is an efficient open-source package manager for Windows operating systems similar to what brew is for Mac OS systems. In today's tutorial, I am going to cover how to use Chocolatey and Ansible together to manage desktop apps on Windows operating systems.

Prerequisite Initial Steps

The initial steps would be to have Ansible set up already and Chocolatey installed on your Windows machine. You can follow the tutorials below to set up Ansible and install Chocolatey:

How To Set Up Ansible Inside A Github Repository And Automate Your Workloads
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Installing Chocolatey
Chocolatey is software management automation for Windows that wraps installers, executables, zips, and scripts into compiled packages. Chocolatey integrates w/SCCM, Puppet, Chef, etc. Chocolatey is trusted by businesses to manage software deployments.

Script To Set Ansible Connection To Windows Host Locally Via WSL

WSL also known as Windows Subsystem For Linux is a lightweight virtual machine that you can enable to run Linux on your Windows computer. Ensure that you set up WSL by following these steps:

Install Ubuntu on WSL2 on Windows 10 | Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an open source software operating system that runs from the desktop, to the cloud, to all your internet connected things.

Once WSL is installed and Ansible and Chocolatey are set up. Copy the Powershell script below and name it windows-host-setup.ps1. Navigate to the directory and run this command to execute the setup that will allow you to access your Windows localhost through WSL - powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy ByPass -File "windows-host-setup.ps1"

$url = "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ansible/ansible/devel/examples/scripts/ConfigureRemotingForAnsible.ps1"
$file = "$env:temp\ConfigureRemotingForAnsible.ps1"
(New-Object -TypeName System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile($url, $file)
powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy ByPass -File $file

Set Up Inventory And Playbooks

Once the above script is executed successfully the next steps are to add your inventory file and playbook to manage your desktop apps on your Windows system. Create a directory called  choco and add localhost_inventory.yml and desktop_apps.yml and copy the scripts below:


  hosts: localhost
    ansible_user: user #add your windows username here
    ansible_connection: winrm
    ansible_winrm_server_cert_validation: ignore
- hosts: localhost
  connection: local
    - name: Install/Uninstall/Update Chromium
        - chromium
        state: absent

    - name: Install/Uninstall/Update Slack
        - slack
        state: present

    - name: Install/Uninstall/Update Telegram
        - telegram
        state: latest

The desktop_apps.yml script can be updated by looking at the chocolatey package website to see which packages are available to install. In this tutorial we are going to uninstall Chromium, ensure that Slack is installed else it will be installed, update Telegram to the latest version if installed, and if not install the latest version. This ansible module states work as follows:

  • absent - uninstall package/software
  • present - ensure the software is installed and if not install the latest version
  • latest - update software to the latest version and if it does not exist install the latest version

Once all the above steps are completed run the following command to execute this Ansible playbook - ansible-playbook choco/desktop_apps.yml -i choco/localhost_inventory.yml --ask-pass --verbose and you will be prompted to input your Windows password.

Ansible Playbook Chocolatey

Once successful you can search for the apps and should see that you have installed or updated your desktop apps to the latest version like in this example below.

Telegram Installed


In conclusion, Chocolatey is an awesome open-source package manager for Windows operating systems and has a large community behind it. If you enjoyed this article consider signing up for our newsletter and don't forget to share it with people that would find it useful. Leave a comment below with a tutorial you would like us to cover.

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