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Setting Up Windows Server 2016 on Amazon EC2

  • September 29, 2017
  • By Deepak Vohra
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Windows Server 2016 is a server operating system (OS), in contrast to a PC OS such as Windows 10. Windows Server 2016 is designed for the Cloud and is available on some of the Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 and Microsoft Azure. Accessing Windows 2016 from a local machine requires a remote desktop (RDP) client. In this tutorial, we shall discuss starting a Windows Server 2016 instance on AWS EC2 and accessing the instance with Chrome RDP.

This tutorial has the following sections:

Launching a Windows Server 2016 Instance on EC2

Several EC2 AMIs based on the Windows Server 2016 are available. We have selected Microsoft Windows Server 2016 with SQL Server 2016 Express AMI; these are shown in Figure 1.

Selecting a Microsoft Windows Server 2016 AMI
Figure 1: Selecting a Microsoft Windows Server 2016 AMI

Select the t2.micro instance. In Configure Security Group, add a rule to allow all traffic for all protocols for supported port range from any source IP address. Create a new key pair or select an existing key pair (windows), as shown in Figure 2.

Launch instances
Figure 2: Launch Instances

An EC2 instance running Windows Server 2016 gets launched, as shown in Figure 3.

Windows Server 2016 Instance
Figure 3: Windows Server 2016 Instance

The Windows Server 2016 instance should allow all inbound traffic, as shown in the Inbound rules in Figure 4.

Inbound Rules allow All Traffic
Figure 4: Inbound Rules allow All Traffic

Similarly, Outbound Rules should allow all traffic.

Installing Chrome RDP

To connect to the remote EC2 instance from a local machine, install a remote desktop extension such as the Chrome RDP. Search for Chrome RDP on the Google Webstore in a Chrome browser and click Add To Chrome, as shown in Figure 5.

Chrome RDP>Add To Chrome
Figure 5: Chrome RDP>Add To Chrome

In Add "Chrome RDP"? click Add app, as shown in Figure 6.

Adding the Chrome RDP app
Figure 6: Adding the Chrome RDP App

The Chrome RDP App gets installed (see Figure 7).

Chrome RDP App
Figure 7: Chrome RDP App

Select More tools>Extensions in the Google toolbar. The Chrome RDP extension should be listed, as shown in Figure 8.

Chrome RDP Extension
Figure 8: Chrome RDP Extension

Connecting to Windows Server 2016

To connect to the Windows Server 2016 running on EC2 from a local machine using the Chrome RDP, we need to find the connection parameters Public DNS, User name, and Password. To find the connection parameters, click Connect, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Connect

In the Connect To Your Instance dialog the Public DNS and User name (Administrator) are listed as shown in Figure 10. Click on Get Password to get the password.

Connect To Your Instance
Figure 10: Connect To Your Instance

In the Connect To Your Instance>Get Password dialog, click Choose File for the Key Pair Path to upload the key pair, as shown in Figure 11.

Connect To Your Instance>Get Password
Figure 11: Connect To Your Instance>Get Password

The key pair gets uploaded. Click on Decrypt Password to decrypt the password (see Figure 12).

Decrypt Password
Figure 12: Decrypt Password

Copy the Password that gets listed, as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13: Password

Launch the Chrome RDP Console and, in the field provided, specify the Public DNS of the EC2 instance. Then, click Connect, as shown in Figure 14.

Chrome RDP>Connect
Figure 14: Chrome RDP>Connect

Specify the Username and Password and click OK, as shown in Figure 15.

Specifying Username and Password
Figure 15: Specifying Username and Password

The Windows Server 2016 Desktop gets launched, as shown in Figure 16.

Windows Server 2016 Desktop
Figure 16: Windows Server 2016 Desktop


In this tutorial, we discussed connecting to a Windows Server 2016 instance running on AWS EC2 from a local machine using the Chrome RDP client application.

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