Windows Installation Guide

Last modified on August 26, 2022

Overview

This guide describes how to install strongDM on Windows. The primary download package includes the strongDM Desktop application and a command-line interface (CLI). You can optionally download the CLI independently from the Admin UI.

Download strongDM

Use the following steps to install strongDM Desktop and the CLI utility on Windows. To bypass the desktop application, you can download the CLI independently.

  1. Open the invitation email you received for your strongDM account.

  2. Click the link included in the email to set your password.

  3. Log in to strongDM and go to the Download & Install page in the Admin UI.

  4. Click Download strongDM for Windows to get the strongDM Desktop application and CLI. Once the download is successful, the file name appears as SDM-<VERSION_NUMBER>.exe.

  5. Optionally, check that the downloaded binary is legitimate and verify the checksum using PowerShell:

    Get-FileHash SDM-15.57.0.exe | Format-List
    
    Algorithm : SHA256
    Hash      : F68C6AEB471E2E85F59011ACF400A823FCB19953802917DC97DB55B366B678BA
    Path      : C:\Users\Steli Vassileva\Downloads\SDM-15.57.0.exe
    

    The checksum should match the value in the SHA256 Checksum section of the Admin UI.

    strongDM SHA256 Checksums
    strongDM SHA256 Checksums
  6. To continue with the installation, double-click the downloaded EXE file and run its installation.

Launch strongDM

Use these steps to launch strongDM Desktop on Windows. When you launch the application, all authentications and resource access get routed through strongDM.

  1. Open the Start menu and search for SDM or navigate to the Downloads folder. Click to launch the SDM application.

  2. Click the sdm icon in the taskbar.

    strongDM in the Taskbar
    strongDM in the Taskbar
  3. Enter the email and password created during the email invitation step. You may also be redirected to your single sign-on (SSO) provider.

  4. After logging in, a list of resources you have permission to access appears in strongDM Desktop.

    strongDM Resources
    strongDM Resources
  5. Click one of these resources to enable a connection and gain access. A green lightning bolt icon appears next to the connected resource.

  6. You can now connect to the resource on your machine using your preferred tool. When prompted for connection information, you can usually use localhost for the hostname/IP, leave the username and password blank, and specify the port listed next to the resource in strongDM Desktop. If the connection fails using these defaults, check the Connect to Resources documentation for more information.

Run strongDM at startup

By default, strongDM requires a manual launch whenever your Windows machine is started or restarted. With the following steps, you can optionally configure strongDM to automatically run at startup.

  1. Open the Windows search and type run. Launch the Run application. You can also use the shortcut Windows logo button + R.
  2. Type shell:common startup and click OK. The Startup folder opens.
  3. Copy the SDM shortcut from the app menu (for example, C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\strongDM) and paste it in the Startup folder. When you restart your computer, the StrongDM Desktop app appears in the taskbar. Depending on your network settings, you may have to allow access for the sdm32.exe file.

Set up the strongDM CLI

To set up the CLI utility that is included with the desktop app on Windows, you can use the following steps.

  1. Find the sdm32 executable in the following location in your File Explorer: C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\SDM\app-[ver]\resources\sdm32.exe.
  2. Copy this file to a directory in your PATH parameter. The suggested location is C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\sdm.exe, but any location specified in PATH is acceptable.
  3. Name the copied file sdm rather than sdm32 so that you can call it via sdm commands. This change is consistent with CLI usage throughout the strongDM documentation.
  4. Test the utility is installed correctly by running sdm --version in the command line. If correctly installed, the version displays.

SSH with Windows 10/11

Windows 10 and 11 come with OpenSSH installed, but the executable is not where strongDM looks for it by default. In order to use sdm ssh commands, copy ssh.exe from C:\Windows\System32\OpenSSH\ssh.exe to C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\ssh.exe

Download the strongDM CLI

On Windows, you can bypass the desktop application and download the CLI independently. Use the following steps to install the CLI only.

  1. Open the invitation email you received for your strongDM account.
  2. Click the link included in the email to set your password.
  3. Log in to strongDM and go to the Download & Install page in the Admin UI.
  4. Click Download strongDM for Windows. When you click to show all download options, go to the Download the strongDM CLI section.
  5. Download the strongDM CLI for your architecture. The files are downloaded to a zipped folder on your computer. This depends on your architecutre, but the folder name appears as sdmcli_<VERSION_NUMBER>_windows_amd64, with a file similar to sdm.amd64.exe inside. Unzip the files.
  6. Take the unzipped sdm.amd64.exe file and copy it to a directory in your PATH parameter. The suggested location is C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\sdm.exe, but any location specified in PATH is acceptable.
  7. Name the copied file sdm rather than sdm.amd64 so that you can call it via sdm commands. This change is consistent with CLI usage throughout the strongDM documentation.
  8. Test the utility is installed correctly by running sdm --version in the command line. If correctly installed, the version displays.

If any errors occur or if the installation fails in any way, please contact support@strongdm.com for assistance.

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