How to create a virtual machine (VM) on Amazon Web Service
Windows only


In this guide, we will walk through the process of setting up a virtual machine using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

To start, you will need to confirm your AWS subscription. If you are new to AWS, you can get started with Amazon EC2 using the AWS Free Tier.

If you created your AWS account less than 12 months ago, and have not already exceeded the free tier benefits for Amazon EC2, it will not cost you anything to complete this tutorial. Otherwise, you’ll incur the standard Amazon EC2 usage fees from the time that you launch the instance until you terminate the instance, even if it remains idle.


  1. Create an account for AWS

  2. Create a key pair. Note: We recommend saving the private key file as a .pem format with RSA encryption.

  3. Create a security group. Note, we recommend adding a rule for HTTP, HTTPS, RDP, and All ICMP - IPv4.

Launch the instance

To create a new virtual machine instance on AWS, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console.

  2. From the EC2 console dashboard, select Launch Instance.

  3. The Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) page displays a list of basic machine configurations (AMIs) to choose from. Select the AMI for Windows Server 2019 Base or later. Note that these AMIs are marked Free tier eligible. /images/AWS_Setup_01.png

  4. On the Choose an Instance Type page, select the t2.micro instance type (default). Note: the t2.micro instance type is elegible for the free tier. In regions where t2.micro is unavailable, you can use a t3.micro* instance under the free tier. /images/AWS_Setup_02.png

  5. On the Choose an Instance Type page, select Review and Launch to let the wizard complete the other configuration settings for you.

  6. On the Review Instance Launch page, under Security Groups, you’ll see that the wizard created and selected a security group for you. We will need to specify the security group that was created in step 3 of the Prerequisites section.

    • Choose Edit security groups.
    • On the Configure Security Group page, choose Select an existing security group.
    • In the table, select the security group from the list of existing security groups.
    • Choose Review and Launch.
  7. On the Review Instance Launch page, select Launch to create the new virtual machine.

  8. When prompted for a key pair, select Choose an existing key pair. Then select the key pair that you created in step 2 of the Prerequisites section

  9. Select the acknowledgement checkbox and then choose Launch Instances.

  10. A confirmation page lets you know that your instance is launching. Select View Instances to close the confirmation page and return to the console.

  11. On the Instances screen, you can view the status of the launch. In the Name column, select the Edit icon. In the popup dialog, type RhinoComputeVM to assign a namge to this instance. /images/AWS_Setup_04.png

  12. Once the Instance State column says that the VM is Running, you can then try to connect to it via RDP.

  13. With the instance row selected, click the Connect button in the top menu.

  14. On the Connect to instance page, select the RDP client tab. Select the Download remote desktop file and save the .rdp file somewhere on your local computer.

  15. Next, select the Get password button.

  16. Choose Browse and navigate to the private key (.pem) file that you created when you launched the instance.

  17. Choose Decrypt Password. The console displays the default administrator password for the instance under Password, replacing the Get password link shown previously. Save this password in a safe place. This passord is required to connect to the instance.

  18. Select Download remote desktop file to save the .rdp file to your local computer. You will need this file when you connect to your instance using the Remote Desktop Connect app.

Congratulations! In this tutorial, you successfully launched a virtual machine on AWS and downloaded the RDP file which can be used to connect to that instance.