.NET Framework Detection in the Windows Registry

To determine which .NET framework is installed on the Windows computer check the values in the registry.

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full key contains two values you can check:

  • Release
  • Version

You can use InSpec, part of the Chef DK, to check the values:

describe registry_key('HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full') do
  it { should have_property 'Release' }
  it { should have_property_value('Release', :dword, 460805) } # For dword use the decimal value, no quotes

describe registry_key('HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full') do
  it { should have_property 'Version' }
  it { should have_property_value('Version', :string, '4.7.02053') }
.NET version Release hexadecimal Release decimal Version
4.6.2 60636 394806 4.6.01590
4.7 70805 460805 4.7.02053
4.7.1 709FE 461310 4.7.02558

For more information see



Chef exit codes

Chef uses the standard RFC 062 exit codes.

In your .kitchen.yml file, you can supply an array of exit codes in the “retry_on_exit_code” option to retry the operation in case the Chef script execution is interrupted. The usual values are

 retry_on_exit_code: # An array of exit codes that can indicate that kitchen should retry the converge command. Defaults to an empty array.
   - 35              # Reboot is scheduled
   - 20              # The Windows system cannot find the device specified.
   - 1               # Generic failure

Chef exit codes

  0: SUCCESS            - Successful run     - Any successful execution of a Chef utility should return this exit code
  1: GENERIC_FAILURE    - Failed execution   - Generic error during Chef execution.
  2: SIGINT_RECEIVED    - SIGINT received    - Received an interrupt signal
  3: SIGTERM_RECEIVED   - SIGTERM received   - Received an terminate signal
 35: REBOOT_SCHEDULED   - Reboot Scheduled   - Reboot has been scheduled in the run state
 37: REBOOT_NEEDED      - Reboot Needed      - Reboot needs to be completed
 41: REBOOT_FAILED      - Reboot Failed      - Initiated Reboot failed - due to permissions or any other reason
 42: AUDIT_MODE_FAILURE - Audit Mode Failure - Audit mode failed, but chef converged successfully.
213: CLIENT_UPGRADED    - Chef upgrade       - Chef has exited during a client upgrade

Relevant Windows exit codes

 20: ERROR_BAD_UNIT     - The system cannot find the device specified.

The list of all Windows error codes is located at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms681381(v=vs.85).aspx

The Linux exit codes for

FATAL: Chef::Exceptions::Reboot: Rebooting server at a recipe’s request.

When your Chef recipe requests a reboot using the “reboot” Chef resource, the output window shows an error message:

Chef Client finished, …/… resources updated in … seconds
[…] WARN: Rebooting server at a recipe’s request. Details: {:delay_mins=>1, :reason=>”…”, :timestamp=>…, :requested_by=>”…”}

Running handlers:
[…] ERROR: Running exception handlers
Running handlers complete
[…] ERROR: Exception handlers complete
Chef Client failed. … resources updated in … seconds
[…] FATAL: Stacktrace dumped to C:/Users/…/AppData/Local/Temp/kitchen/cache/chef-stacktrace.out
[…] FATAL: Please provide the contents of the stacktrace.out file if you file a bug report
[…] FATAL: Chef::Exceptions::Reboot: Rebooting server at a recipe’s request. Details: {:delay_mins=>1, :reason=>”…”, :timestamp=>…, :requested_by=>”…”}

Chef also saves the error message in the stacktrace.out file at C:/Users/…/AppData/Local/Temp/kitchen/cache

As coderanger wrote it, replying to a StackOverflow post, it is not an error, it is a necessity to be able to stop the Chef cookbook execution when a reboot is requested. See https://stackoverflow.com/questions/39057254/why-does-chef-throw-fatal-error-on-restart-request

“Because we want to avoid running anything further in the Chef converge and the easiest way to do that is to raise an exception.”

“It’s a weird special case because Ruby doesn’t have any other non-local code execution flow construct that would work well in this case. You’ll just have to add a filter for it. Such are the realities of building software in an imperfect world :) – coderanger Aug 21 ’16 at 5:24″



Unable to satisfy constraints on package

When you make a change to the version restrictions in the metadata.rb file and execute berks install in your Chef cookbook directory, you may get the error message:

Unable to satisfy constraints on package … due to solution constraint (…). Solution constraints that may result in a constraint on …: [(…)], [(…) -> (…)]
Demand that cannot be met: (…)
Artifacts for which there are conflicting dependencies: … = … -> [(…), (… ~> …)]Unable to find a solution for demands:…



berks update


  • find the latest allowed versions of all referenced cookbooks,
  • update the Berksfile.lock file and
  • download the missing cookbooks to the cookbook cache folder at ~/.berkshelf/cookbooks
  • This command executes berks install too behind the scenes.



could not find filename for attribute .DS_Store in cookbook

The Macintosh workstation saves application states in .DS_Store files. When you edit your Chef cookbooks the MacOS leaves these files in many folders.

When the Chef cookbook is executed, the Chef Client reads all files in the attributes folder and tries to extract values from them. If the .DS_Store file is uploaded with the rest of the cookbook to the Chef server, the Chef cookbook execution stops with the error message:

Recipe Compile Error in /var/chef/cache/cookbooks/…/attributes/.DS_Store

could not find filename for attribute .DS_Store in cookbook …

When you test your cookbook with Test Kitchen, there is no error, so you cannot detect the existence of the file until the Chef cookbook starts to run on the instance.

Even though the.DS_Store file cannot be seen in Finder, it still can be there. It is a hidden file, and even if you enable the display of hidden files, Finder does not show it.

$ cd attributes
$ ls -a
. .. .DS_Store default.rb

To remove the .DS_Store file from the cookbook

  1. Make sure the .DS_Store file is added to the chefignore file
  2. Delete the file from the folder on your workstation
    rm .DS_Store
  3. Increment the version of the cookbook in the metadata.rb file
  4. Upload the new version of the cookbook to the Chef server
    knife cookbook upload MY_COOKBOOK --freeze


Skip steps in an InSpec integration test based on Chef attribute values

To speed up the test of some complex recipes, I use an attribute to skip certain long-running installations when I only need to test the rest of the recipe.

We will pass Chef Attribute values into an InSpec test using environment variables.

Declare an attribute in the atrributes.rb file with a safe default value, to allow the execution of all steps if the value is not overridden

# Set this to true in the .kitchen.yml file to skip long-running tasks during local test
default['quick_launch_for_test'] = false

Set the value in the suites: section of the kitchen.yml file to true to skip the long-running installations

    quick_launch_for_test: true

Save the attribute value in an environment variable in the recipe to pass it to InSpec

# Store the value in an environment variable for the integration test
env 'quick_launch_for_test' do
  value "#{node['quick_launch_for_test']}"

Make a decision in the recipe based on the value of the attribute

if ( node['quick_launch_for_test'] != true )
  #Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2017 #

Read the value of the environment variable into a local variable in the InSpec test file. If the environment variable does not exist, or the value is not “true”, the value of the local_execution variable will be “false”.

local_execution = ( os_env('quick_launch_for_test').content() == 'true')

Use the if statement to make the decision in your InSpec test file

if !local_execution
  describe package('Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2017') do
    it { should be_installed }


Chef NoMethodError, undefined method

When you try to bootstrap a node to a Chef server, you may get the error message

Compiling Cookbooks…
Recipe Compile Error in c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/…/attributes/default.rb
undefined method `…=’ for #<Chef::Node::VividMash:0x0000000004ca3268>

Relevant File Content:
>> default. …

In my case, the cookbook compiler could not interpret the dot notation in the recipes.

There are multiple ways to declare and use the Chef attributes:





The last format, the dot notation is a legal form, but not accepted by the compiler that checks the cookbooks during bootstrapping. The same cookbook works perfectly in Test Kitchen, and in chef-client.

The solution is to change the dot notation to one of the other formats, preferably to the first in the list above.


Switching to a new Chef server

The administrator of the Chef organization

Download the validation key

Do this only once for the organization.

This step resets the validation key, so the existing server images will not be able to connect to the Chef organization.

  1. On the Administration tab on the left select Organizations > Reset validation Key
  2. Click the Reset Key button,
  3. This is the only time you are able to download the validator key. Click the Download button to save it on your workstation.

Every user

Download your personal key from the server and configure knife. See DevOps Engineering part 4. – Connect to the Chef server

Upload all cookbooks to the new Chef server

  1. Copy all cookbooks to the new chef directory
  2. Open a terminal in the cookbooks directory and start to upload all cookbooks
    knife cookbook upload --all --freeze --force
  3. When you get the message

    ERROR: Cookbook XXX depends on cookbooks which are not currently
    ERROR: being uploaded and cannot be found on the server.
    ERROR: The missing cookbook(s) are: ‘YYY’ version ‘>= 0.0.0’, ‘ZZZ’ version ‘>= 0.0.0’

    1. Change to that XXX cookbook directory and execute
      berks upload
  4. Repeat step 3 until all cookbooks have successfully uploaded to the server.

Upload the environment files

  1. Open a terminal in the environments directory.
knife environment from file qa.json uat.json prod.json

Upload the data bags

  1. Open a terminal window in the data-bags directory and upload the data bags.
knife data bag create MY_DATA_BAG
knife data bag from file MY_DATA_BAG MY_DATA_BAG/MY_ITEM1.json
knife data bag from file MY_DATA_BAG MY_DATA_BAG/MY_ITEM2.json
knife data bag from file MY_DATA_BAG MY_DATA_BAG/MY_ITEM3.json



Waiting for SSH service on …:22, retrying in 3 seconds

When you try to launch a new EC2 instance in AWS using Chef Test Kitchen and the process times out with the message:

  Waiting for SSH service on …:22, retrying in 3 seconds

$$$$$$ [SSH] connection failed, terminating (#<Net::SSH::AuthenticationFailed: Authentication failed for user …@…>)
>>>>>> ——Exception——-
>>>>>> Class: Kitchen::ActionFailed
>>>>>> Message: 1 actions failed.
>>>>>> Failed to complete #create action: [SSH session could not be established] on default-rhel7
>>>>>> ———————-
>>>>>> Please see .kitchen/logs/kitchen.log for more details
>>>>>> Also try running `kitchen diagnose –all` for configuration

Check the access to the “ssh_key” which is specified in the platforms: driver: transport: section of the .kitchen.yml file.

The .pem file should be accessible from the cookbook directory with the absolute or relative path.

Failed to complete #create action: [undefined method `version’ for nil:NilClass] on default…

When you execute kitchen converge to launch an EC2 instance in AWS with Chef Test Kitchen, you get the error message:

>>>>> ——Exception——-
>>>>>> Class: Kitchen::ActionFailed
>>>>>> Message: 1 actions failed.
>>>>>> Failed to complete #create action: [undefined method `version’ for nil:NilClass] on default-windows-2012r2
>>>>>> ———————-
>>>>>> Please see .kitchen/logs/kitchen.log for more details
>>>>>> Also try running `kitchen diagnose –all` for configuration

The kitchen-ec2 driver tries to read the operating system version from the name of the image, but it cannot find it.

When you create your own AMI (Amazon Machine Image), make sure the version of the operating system is in the name.

The Test Kitchen Git repository has the following at https://github.com/test-kitchen/kitchen-ec2

Note that the image_search method requires that the AMI image names be in a specific format. Some examples are:

  • Windows-2012
  • Windows-2012r2
  • Windows-2012r2sp1
  • RHEL-7.2

It is safest to use the same naming convention as used by the public images published by the OS vendors on the AWS marketplace.

An acceptable name is my_windows-2012r2_base-1