How to install Jenkins on Windows

Windows Jenkins install

There are numerous ways to install Jenkins on Windows. Here are three options:

  1. Use a preconfigured Bitnami Jenkins image.
  2. Run the Jenkins war file from the command line.
  3. Download and run the Jenkins installer.

Preconfigured Jenkins images

The laziest approach is to simply install VMWare and run a Bitnami Jenkins image. It comes pre-configured with all of the Jenkins software already installed, so you pretty much just download the image and then it’s plug and play.

Jenkins Installer

The Jenkins installer for Windows helps to simplify the install and config process.

Furthermore, if you like the preconfigured Jenkins image, you can bring it into the cloud — you can use the exact same VM to run Jenkins on AWS.

Install Jenkins via the WAR file

For more low-level control of Jenkins you can simply run the Jenkins WAR file at the command line. Download the Jenkins WAR file and issue the following command to run Jenkins from the command line:

java -jar jenkins.war

In fact, if your Windows machine already runs Tomcat, you could just drop the Jenkins WAR file in the webapps folder and Jenkins will install automatically. But there is an easier install option, so read on.

How to use the Jenkins Installer

By far the easiest way to perform a Jenkins installation on Windows, especially if you already have installed Java, is to use the Jenkins installer.

Compared to running the Jenkins WAR file or deploying Jenkins to Tomcat, there are definitely benefits to using the Jenkins installer, including the following:

  1. Easy-to-use installation wizard.
  2. Jenkins registration with Windows services.
  3. An uninstaller in Windows Programs Management.

Jenkins Home on Windows

One annoyance with the Jenkins installer is that is buries the Jenkins Home location under the Windows root. When you run the Jenkins WAR, it’s normally found in a folder named .jenkins under the user’s home directory:


My assumption is that this Jenkins home location will work for all users, as opposed to putting it in a user’s home folder where other accounts can’t access it. Nevertheless, it is pretty deeply buried.

If you would like to set the home folder to somewhere more accessible, you can set the JENKINS_HOME environment variable after the Jenkins installer for Windows is finished.

Initial Jenkins Windows setup

After the Jenkins installer completes, there are still a few initial install steps to complete. You must provide the secret token hidden in the Jenkins home folder to prove you have access to the machine on which Jenkins was just installed. You’ll also need to select the Jenkins plugins you wish to install, and finally add an administrative user.

Install Jenkins Ubuntu 20

One of the configuration steps to perform after the Jenkins installer runs is to provide a hex key to prove your identity.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to create as many build jobs, shared Jenkins libraries and declarative pipelines as you like.


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