Windows : Inserting Git Credentials Ahead Of Time

Problem: Git for Windows hangs on Jenkins when attempting to use the “store” credential helper.

Solution: Pre-populate the Windows Credential Manager with the required credentials


The latest Git for Windows uses the Windows Credential Manager which means the “store” Git credential helper is not available. We were using the “store” credential manager so that Jenkins knew what the Git credentials were when cloning repositories.

This meant that Git clone operations were just hanging since there was a user name and password box popping up.

The fix involves

  • Install the GCM DLLs and prep them for use
  • Write a powershell script to interface with those DLLs
  • Run said script to insert credentials into the Windows Credential Manager

I’m in the process of automating this via a Chef cookbook but I’d prefer to just explain the essence of it here so that you can adapt it to any automation you may be using.

Install GCM

Download and Extract

I ended up installing the GCM Zip file alongside the regular GCM in Program Files as I could not get the DLLs in Program Files to work. So download the latest Zip file and extract it somewhere. For this example I put it in c:\gcm-v1.4.0.

Unblock the DLLs

You need to unblock the DLLs by right clicking on them, selecting properties and clicking “Unblock” (near the bottom).

PowerShell Script

I used a variation of the following script to load the credentials into the Windows Credential Manager via GCM

# insert_jenkins_credentials.ps1
Add-Type -Path 'c:\path\to\gcm-v1.4.0\Microsoft.Alm.Authentication.dll'

$credentials = New-Object -TypeName Microsoft.Alm.Authentication.Credential('someuser', 'secret')
$targetUri = New-Object -TypeName Microsoft.Alm.Authentication.TargetUri('')
$secretStore = New-Object -TypeName Microsoft.Alm.Authentication.SecretStore("git", $null, $null, $null)

$foundCredentials = $null
$secretStore.ReadCredentials($targetUri, [ref] $foundCredentials)
if ($foundCredentials -ne $null) {
    echo "Credentials already found, not inserting"
} else {
    echo "Inserting stored credentials"
    $secretStore.WriteCredentials($targetUri, $credentials)

If you’re not sure of the namespace then manually allow Git for Windows to Launch the GCM, input the credentials, and check what is saved.

Run PowerShell Script

The above script needs to be run to ByPass various security checks due to a) the GCM DLLs are unsigned and the script itself is unsigned. That is less than ideal and I’ve asked the GCM project if they can sign their DLLs and I’ll look into signing the script itself.

Run as Current User

So the command line to actually execute the script is (replacing the path with where you chose to save the script)

powershell -NoLogo -NonInteractive -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -InputFormat None -File c:\temp\insert_jenkins_credentials.ps1

You can then open the Windows Credential Manager to check the credentials have been added

Run as SYSTEM Account

If you’re running a service as Local SYSTEM then the above command will insert the credentials into the credentials store as whatever you run that command as instead of the SYSTEM account meaning the creds will not be available to the service. For example, a Jenkins slave agent might need some credentials for cloning Git repos.

To work around that we can use the (PsExec.exe)[] command in the following way to execute the above Powershell invocation

psexec.exe -i -s powershell -NoLogo -NonInteractive -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -InputFormat None -File c:\temp\insert_jenkins_credentials.ps1

The above will insert the credentials for the SYSTEM account.


These posts were very helpful in finding out how to load and use an external library from within PowerShell