Launch a Windows Virtual Machine

in Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail is the easiest way to get started on AWS. It offers virtual servers, storage, databases and networking, plus a cost-effective, monthly plan.

In this tutorial, you create a Windows Server 2016 instance in Amazon Lightsail in seconds. After the instance is up and running, you connect to it via RDP within the Lightsail console using the browser-based RDP client.

Get started with Amzon Lightsail for free. 

About this Tutorial
Time 10 minutes                                           
Cost Free Tier Eligible
Use Case Compute
Products Amazon Lightsail
Audience Developer
Level Beginner
Last Updated September 11, 2020

1. Create an Amazon Lightsail account

This tutorial is free tier eligible. 

Already have an account? Sign-in

2. Create a Windows Server 2016 instance in Amazon Lightsail

a. Choose Create instance in the Instances tab of the Lightsail home page.


3. Configure the instance

a. An AWS Region and Availability Zone is selected for you. Choose Change Region and Availability Zone to create your instance in another location.


b. Choose the Microsoft Windows platform option, and choose OS only to view the operating system-only instance images available in Lightsail.

To learn more about Lightsail instance images, see Choose an Amazon Lightsail instance image.


c. Choose the Windows Server 2016 image.

d. (Optional) Choose Add launch script to add a PowerShell script that will run on your instance when it launches.


e. Choose your instance plan.

You can try the $8 USD Lightsail plan free for one month (up to 750 hours). We'll credit one free month to your account.

Learn more on our Lightsail pricing page.


f. Enter a name for your instance.


g. (Optional) Choose one of the following options to add tags to your instance:

  • (Optional) Add key-only tags— Enter your new tag into the tag key text box, and press Enter. Choose Save when you’re done entering your tags to add them, or choose Cancel to not add them.
  • (Optional) Create a key-value tag— Enter a key into the Key text box, and a value into the Value text box. Choose Save when you’re done entering your tags, or choose Cancel to not add them.
Key-value tags can only be added one at a time before saving. To add more than one key-value tag, repeat the previous steps.
For more information about key-only and key-value tags, see Tags in Amazon Lightsail.

h. Chose Create instance. 


Within minutes, your Windows Server 2016 instance is ready, and you can connect to it using the browser-based RDP client in the Lightsail console.

4. Connect to your instance using the browser-based RDP client in Lightsail

a. In the Instances tab of the Lightsail home page, choose the RDP icon, or the ellipsis (⋮) icon next to the Windows Server 2016 instance you just created.

The browser-based RDP client window appears. You can use, and manage your instance without configuring a third-party RDP client.


b. To get the administrator password for your Windows Server 2016 instance, choose the name of the Windows Server 2016 instance in the Instances tab of the Lightsail home page.
Choose the Connect tab, scroll down to the Default login credentials section of the page, and choose Show default password.


Important: If you changed the administrator password after signing in to your Windows Server 2016 instance, then the administrator password displayed in the Lightsail console is no longer valid.


5. Next steps

Now that you can connect to your instance, what you do next depends on how you plan to use it. For example, you can:


You used Amazon Lightsail to easily spin up and configure a Windows instance.

Amazon Lightsail is great for developers, WebPros, and anyone looking to get started on AWS in a quick and cheap way. You can launch instances, databases, SSD-based storage, transfer data, monitor your resources, and so much more in a managed way.

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