ReleaseEngineering/How To/Self Provision a TaskCluster Windows Instance

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Template:Release Engineering

How does it work?

TaskCluster Windows instances can be borrowed for debugging at will. There is no need to raise a bug. The process is triggered by running a special task that tells the instance you intend to commandeer it.

When you trigger this task, a recurring scheduled job on the instance will:

  • perform a little cleanup, deleting data and configuration that is only pertinent for automation
  • change the instance credentials, so that only you will have access to the instance and so that the instance credentials can be shared with you
  • place encrypted credentials in the task artifacts for you
  • delete the generic-worker and associated user and configuration

How is it triggered?

Visit and create a new task that looks something like below.

 provisionerId: aws-provisioner-v1
 workerType: gecko-t-win7-32
 retries: 0
 created: '2017-05-24T12:05:16.556Z'
 deadline: '2017-05-24T13:05:16.556Z'
 expires: '2018-05-24T09:08:08.128Z'
 scopes: []
   maxRunTime: 300
     - path: ..\loan
       name: public/test_info
       type: directory
       expires: '2018-05-24T08:49:41.238Z'
   - >-
     c:\mozilla-build\python\python.exe -c "import os, json;
     json.dump({'requester': { 'email': os.environ['REQUESTER_EMAIL'],
     'publickeyurl': os.environ['REQUESTER_PUBLIC_KEY_URL'], 'taskid':
     os.environ['TASK_ID'], 'taskFolder': os.getcwd()}},
     open(r'z:\loan-request.json', 'wb'))"
   - >-
     c:\mozilla-build\python\python.exe -c "exec(\"import os.path, time\nwhile
     (not os.path.exists(r'z:\loan\credentials.txt.gpg')):\n  time.sleep(1)\"")
   name: Windows Loan Request
   description: Self service windows instance loan request
 tags: {}
 extra: {}
  • Change workerType to one of:
    • gecko-1-b-win2012: Windows Server 2012 r2 - Use for debugging Build issues
    • gecko-t-win10-64: Windows 10 Enterprise, x86_64 - Use for debugging Test issues
    • gecko-t-win10-64-gpu: Windows 10 Enterprise, x86_64 - Use for debugging Test issues where a GPU is required
    • gecko-t-win7-32: Windows 7 Enterprise, x86 - Use for debugging Test issues
    • gecko-t-win7-32-gpu: Windows 7 Enterprise, x86 - Use for debugging Test issues where a GPU is required
  • Change REQUESTER_EMAIL to the email address associated with your GPG public key
  • Change REQUESTER_PUBLIC_KEY_URL to a url that will return a plain text (raw) copy of you GPG public key.
  • Change owner to your own email address
  • Click the Update Timestamps button at the bottom
  • Click the Create Task button at the bottom
  • When the task completes, navigate to the artifacts tab (select run 0 first) and download the public/test_info/credentials.txt.gpg artifact to your computer.
  • Decrypt it with a command similar to:
 gpg2 --decrypt credentials.txt.gpg

How do I connect to my borrowed instance?

Remote Desktop is the only currently supported mechanism. Further, the processes that manage cleanup of abandoned or unused loaner instances check for RDP sessions to determine if the instance is actually in use or if it has been abandoned.

Connecting from Windows

  • GUI: Start > Remote Desktop Connection > enter the IP Address and credentials from the decrypted credentials.txt file and connect
  • Command line:
 mstsc /w:1024 /h:768 /v:<ip_address>

Connecting from Linux


 # install xfreerdp
 sudo dnf install -y xfreerdp
 # if you have an American English (en-US) keyboard:
 xfreerdp /u:$username /p:"$password" /kbd:409 /w:1024 /h:768 +clipboard /v:$ip_address
 # if you have a Queen's English (en-GB) keyboard:
 xfreerdp /u:$username /p:"$password" /kbd:809 /w:1024 /h:768 +clipboard /v:$ip_address

For other keyboard layouts, see:

Connecting from Mac OSX

Untested. Please edit this section if you know more.

   open rdp://$username:$password@$ip_address:3389?screendepth###24:screenWidth###1024:screenHeight###768

see also:

How do I return it when I'm done?

There's no need. Your loaned instance is an Amazon EC2 spot instance whose lifetime is finite. It can even die while it's in the middle of working for you. Think of it as a disposable minion whose survival depends on being busy and who will expire when exhausted or bored. If you don't create an RDP connection to your instance within 30 minutes of requesting it, it will die of boredom. If you disconnect your RDP session for more than 15 minutes, it will die of boredom. If you shut it down. It will die fulfilled.

How do I get help if it's not working?

  • raise a bug in the RelOps component. cc or assign
  • ping :grenade in #taskcluster on IRC (during normal working hours: 9 - 5 GMT+3)