Microsoft Windows

Sensu on Microsoft Windows reference documentation

Install Sensu Core

IMPORTANT: Sensu Core reached end-of-life (EOL) on December 31, 2019, and we permanently removed the Sensu EOL repository on February 1, 2021.

This means the packages specified in the instructions below are no longer available. To migrate to Sensu Go, read the Sensu Core migration guide.

Sensu Core is installed on Microsoft Windows systems via a native system installer package (i.e. a .msi file).

Download and install Sensu using the Sensu MSI

NOTE: As of Sensu version 1.0, repository URLs have changed. To install or upgrade to the latest version of Sensu, please ensure you have updated existing configurations to follow the repository URL format specified below.

  1. Download the Sensu Microsoft Windows package.

  2. Double-click the sensu-1.4.1-1-x64.msi installer package to launch the installer, accept the Sensu Core MIT License and install Sensu using the default settings (e.g. install location, etc). WARNING: changing the default installation path from C:\opt is strongly discouraged.

  3. Configure the Sensu client. No “default” configuration is provided with Sensu, so the Sensu Client will not start without the corresponding configuration. Please refer to the “Configure Sensu” section (below) for more information on configuring Sensu. At minimum, the Sensu client will need a working transport definition and client definition.

Configure Sensu

WARNING: Many text editors on Windows, including Notepad, save text in a format that is not suitable for Sensu configuration. While we require UTF-8, there are similar-looking character sets that are not actually ‘UTF-8’, such as ‘UTF-8 BOM’. A more modern text editor, such as Atom or Notepad++, will allow you to do this easily, fortunately. For more about editor encodings, see this discussion on StackOverflow. If you’re automating JSON creation with e.g. PowerShell, make sure that you’re speaking UTF-8 in your shell, too! See here for more details.

By default, all of the Sensu services on Microsoft Windows systems will load configuration from the following locations:

  • C:\opt\sensu\config.json
  • C:\opt\sensu\conf.d\

WARNING: Ensure that the configure files you create have a .json file extension and not, for example, a .json.txt file extension. Sensu will only load files that have a .json file extension.

NOTE: in general, where references to configuration file locations found elsewhere in the Sensu documentation suggest paths beginning with /etc/sensu, these will correspond to C:\opt\sensu on Microsoft Windows systems. Additional or alternative configuration file and directory locations may be used by modifying Sensu’s service configuration XML and/or by starting the Sensu services with the corresponding CLI arguments. For more information, please consult the Sensu Configuration reference documentation.

The following Sensu configuration files are provided as examples. Please review the Sensu configuration reference documentation for additional information on how Sensu is configured.

Create the Sensu configuration directory

In some cases, the default Sensu configuration directory (i.e. C:\opt\sensu\conf.d\) is not created by the Sensu MSI installer, in which case it is necessary to create this directory manually.

mkdir C:\opt\sensu\conf.d\

Example client configuration

  1. Copy the following contents to a configuration file located at C:\opt\sensu\conf.d\client.json:
      "client": {
        "name": "windows-client",
        "address": "",
        "environment": "development",
        "subscriptions": [
        "socket": {
          "bind": "",
          "port": 3030

Example Transport Configuration

At minimum, the Sensu client process requires configuration to tell it how to connect to the configured Sensu Transport.

  1. Copy the following contents to a configuration file located at /etc/sensu/conf.d/transport.json:

      "transport": {
        "name": "rabbitmq",
        "reconnect_on_error": true
    NOTE: if you are using Redis as your transport, please use "name": "redis" for your transport configuration. For more information, please visit the transport definition specification.

  2. If the transport being used is running on a different host, additional configuration is required to tell the sensu client how to connect to the transport. Please see Redis or RabbitMQ reference documentation for examples.

Configure the Sensu client Windows service wrapper

The Sensu Core MSI package includes a Sensu client service wrapper, allowing Sensu to be registered as a Windows service. The Sensu client service wrapper uses an XML configuration file to configure the sensu-client run arguments (e.g. --log C:\opt\sensu\sensu-client.log).

To configure the Sensu client service wrapper, edit the service definition file at C:\opt\sensu\bin\sensu-client.xml with your favorite text editor. This XML configuration file allows you to set Sensu client CLI arguments. The following example configuration file sets the Sensu client primary configuration file path to C:\opt\sensu\config.json, the Sensu configuration directory to C:\opt\sensu\conf.d, and the log file path to C:\opt\sensu\sensu-client.log.

  Windows service definition for Sensu
  <name>Sensu Client</name>
  <description>This service runs a Sensu client</description>
  <arguments>C:\opt\sensu\embedded\bin\sensu-client -c C:\opt\sensu\config.json -d C:\opt\sensu\conf.d -l C:\opt\sensu\sensu-client.log</arguments>

Install the Sensu client Windows service

Open an Administrative Command Prompt and use the Windows SC utility to create the Windows service for the Sensu client:

sc create sensu-client start= delayed-auto binPath= c:\opt\sensu\bin\sensu-client.exe DisplayName= "Sensu Client"

NOTE: the space between the equals (=) and the values is required.

Operating Sensu

Managing the Sensu client Windows service

To manually start and stop the Sensu client Windows service, use the Services.msc utility, or via the Command Prompt.

  • Start or stop the Sensu client
sc start sensu-client
sc stop sensu-client