How to test machine configuration package artifacts

The PowerShell module GuestConfiguration includes tools to automate testing a configuration package outside of Azure. Use these tools to find issues and iterate quickly before moving on to test in an Azure or Arc connected environment.

Before you can begin testing, you need to set up your authoring environment and create a custom machine configuration package artifact.


Custom packages that audit the state of an environment and apply configurations are in Generally Available (GA) support status. However, the following limitations apply:

To use machine configuration packages that apply configurations, Azure VM guest configuration extension version 1.26.24 or later, or Arc agent 1.10.0 or later, is required.

The GuestConfiguration module is only available on Ubuntu 18 and later. However, the package and policies produced by the module can be used on any Linux distro/version supported in Azure or Arc.

Testing packages on macOS isn't available.

You can test the package from your workstation or continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) environment. The GuestConfiguration module includes the same agent for your development environment as is used inside Azure or Arc enabled machines. The agent includes a stand-alone instance of PowerShell 7.1.3 for Windows and 7.2.0-preview.7 for Linux. The stand-alone instance ensures the script environment where the package is tested is consistent with machines you manage using machine configuration.

The agent service in Azure and Arc-enabled machines is running as the LocalSystem account in Windows and Root in Linux. Run the commands in this article in a privileged security context for best results.

To run PowerShell as LocalSystem in Windows, use the SysInternals tool PSExec.

To run PowerShell as Root in Linux, use the sudo command.

Validate the configuration package meets requirements

First test that the configuration package meets basic requirements using Get-GuestConfigurationPackageComplianceStatus. The command verifies the following package requirements.

  • MOF is present and valid, at the right location
  • Required Modules/dependencies are present with the right version, without duplicates
  • Validate the package is signed (optional)
  • Test that Test and Get return information about the compliance status

Parameters of the Get-GuestConfigurationPackageComplianceStatus cmdlet:

  • Path: File path or URI of the machine configuration package.
  • Parameter: Policy parameters provided as a hash table.

When this command is run for the first time, the machine configuration agent gets installed on the test machine at the path C:\ProgramData\GuestConfig\bin on Windows and /var/lib/GuestConfig/bin on Linux. This path isn't accessible to a user account so the command requires elevation.

Run the following command to test the package:

In Windows, from an elevated PowerShell 7 session.

# Get the current compliance results for the local machine
Get-GuestConfigurationPackageComplianceStatus -Path ./

In Linux, by running PowerShell using sudo.

# Get the current compliance results for the local machine
sudo pwsh -command 'Get-GuestConfigurationPackageComplianceStatus -Path ./'

The command outputs an object containing the compliance status and details per resource.

  complianceStatus  resources
  ----------------  ---------
  True              @{BuiltInAccount=localSystem; ConfigurationName=MyConfig; …

Test the configuration package can apply a configuration

Finally, if the configuration package mode is AuditandSet you can test that the Set method can apply settings to a local machine using the command Start-GuestConfigurationPackageRemediation.


This command attempts to make changes in the local environment where it's run.

Parameters of the Start-GuestConfigurationPackageRemediation cmdlet:

  • Path: Full path of the machine configuration package.

In Windows, from an elevated PowerShell 7 session.

# Test applying the configuration to local machine
Start-GuestConfigurationPackageRemediation -Path ./

In Linux, by running PowerShell using sudo.

# Test applying the configuration to local machine
sudo pwsh -command 'Start-GuestConfigurationPackageRemediation -Path ./'

The command only returns output when errors occur. To troubleshoot details about events occurring during Set, use the -verbose parameter.

After running the command Start-GuestConfigurationPackageRemediation, you can run the command Get-GuestConfigurationComplianceStatus again to confirm the machine is now in the correct state.

Next step