If you work on Windows, one of the common errors you might encounter is when the WinRM client cannot process a request. Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is a Windows built-in remote management protocol that helps exchange information between different systems. For instance, you can spot it being used in Exchange, WSUS, and Microsoft Teams, especially when you're running PowerShell scripts and other third-party tools.
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This is an example of an error you might encounter:

Connecting to remote server xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx failed with the following error message: The WinRM client cannot process the request. Default authentication may be used with an IP address under the following conditions: the transport is HTTPS or the destination is in the TrustedHosts list, and explicit credentials are provided. Use winrm.cmd to configure TrustedHosts. Note that computers in the TrustedHosts list might not be authenticated. For more information on how to set TrustedHosts run the following command: winrm help config. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic.

This article describes five potential solutions that can help to fix it.

Check whether the WinRM service is running

WinRM is a Windows service, and you need to ensure that it is running. To do so, open Services (you can search for it by typing services.msc in the Windows search bar), then locate Windows Remote Management (WS-Management), and start the service.

Start the WinRM service

Start the WinRM service

If you want to keep it running all the time, double-click the service, and select Startup type > Automatic (Delayed Start).

Configure WinRM startup type

Configure WinRM startup type

Check firewall settings

WinRM uses ports 5985 (HTTP) and 5986 (HTTPS), so you first need to be sure that ports are not blocked on the Windows or firewall and that the WinRM rule is enabled.

  1. Open Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security. You can search for it in the Windows search bar.
  2. Expand Inbound Rules and navigate to Windows Remote Management.
  3. Right-click it and select Enable rule.

    Enable WinRM rule

    Enable WinRM rule

  4. Repeat the process for the outbound rules.

Check user account

Ensure that the user account you are using to query WinRm has enough permission. The user account should be a member of Remote Management Users. Navigate to your user account, open its properties, and then, under Member Of, add Remote Management Users.

Configure user account permissions

Configure user account permissions

Configure WinRM

It is possible that WinRM is running and enabled with open ports but is not properly configured. If this is the case, it could result in the WinRM cannot process the request error. You can use either CMD or PowerShell to configure it.

Open PowerShell and enter winrm quickconfig to configure WinRM settings:

Configure WinRM

Configure WinRM

After entering the command, type "Y" and press Enter to confirm the change.

Note: To successfully start WinRM, your Windows network connection must be either Domain or Private. WinRM will not function with a Public connection type.

Configure TrustedHost list

One potential solution is to add the IP address to the TrustedHost list. You can achieve this by running the following PowerShell command as an Administrator on the affected Windows machine:

Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value 'TheRemoteHostsIpAddress' -Concatenate
Configure TrustedHost list

Configure TrustedHost list

This command modifies the TrustedHosts list for the WinRM client. After entering the command, type "Y" and press Enter to confirm the change.

Wrap up

WinRM, the Windows Remote Management tool, is integrated into Windows and Windows Servers. It serves the purpose of remote management, including executing PowerShell scripts. One of the common errors you might come across is the "WinRM client cannot process the request" issue.

Fortunately, there are several ways to resolve this problem. In this article, we have listed five methods to address this issue.

Did any of these methods work in your case? Have you discovered any new methods that you would like to see included in this article?


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