First steps with Amazon EC2 – Windows

This howto describes the set-up of a virtual instance with a Windows Server 2008 AMI (Amazon Machine Image) based on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). This includes the entire setup of the instance an the following access via a remote desktop connection by a Windows 7 system.


  • Amazon Web Service Account
  • Amazon EC2 is already activated
  • RDP Client

Selection, Setup und Running the instance

First we go to the Amazon Web Services website and log in.

Afterwards we start the AWS Management Console for EC2.

We click on Launch Instance.

A new window opens. There you will find fully pre-configured Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) by Amazon. We choose the first AMI – Getting Started on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (AMI Id: ami-a4698bcd)

We choose the following configuration:

  • Number of Instances: 1
  • Availability Zone: No Preference
  • Instance Type: Small (m1.small 1.7 GB)

As an enhanced configuration we choose:

  • Kernel ID: Use Default
  • RAM Disk ID: Use Default
  • Monitoring: Nein

Afterwards we create a key pair. Here with the name clouduser_key and save it onto our lokal computer.

In the following steps we configure the firewall. Therefore we create a Security Group for the AMI. By default the external access on the ports 3389 (RDP), MS SQL Server (1433) and 80 (HTTP) is allowed. I removed the approval for the port 80 and 1433, because we do not need them in this case. We give the Security Group a name, in this case Security_Group_2, and write a description, here RDP_Only. We click continue.

Next we get a summary of our configuration. We can now run our instance using Launch.

Using Your instances are now launching we come back to the console.

There we see the just created active instance and could now connect to it. Therefore we note the name in the column Public DNS.

Connect to the instance

To connect to the instance we first open the file which includes our created Private Key and copy the entire content inclusive the comments —–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—– und —–END RSA PRIVATE KEY—–.

Now we go back to the AWS Management Console and click on the instance using the right mouse button and choose Get Windows Password

In the field Private Key* we insert the private key inclusive the comments —–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—– und —–END RSA PRIVATE KEY—–.

After clicking on Decrypt Password we will see the username and the password we need for connecting to the instance.

Now we open a Remote Desktop Connection and fill in the Public DNS name.

After clicking on connect we fill in the username and the password we got above.

The connection is established.

Now we just need to accept the certificate.

We are connected to our instance.

Terminate the instance

To terminate the instance we go back to the AWS Management Console. Using the right mouse button we click on the instance and choose Terminate.

After confirming the instance is terminated.

Looking at the AWS Management Console the yellow point shows us that the instance will be terminate. That will take some time.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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