How do I launch an Amazon EC2 Windows instance that's covered under the AWS Free Tier?

Last updated: 2022-04-27

I want to launch an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Windows instance, and I want to make sure that all charges related to that instance are covered by the AWS Free Tier.


The AWS Free Tier covers 750 cumulative hours of usage and 30 GB-months of storage per month.

To launch a Windows EC2 instance that's covered by the AWS Free Tier, do the following:

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console.
  2. In the Launch Instance section, choose Launch Instance.
  3. In the navigation pane, select Free Tier only to limit the Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to Free Tier eligible AMIs (labeled "Free tier eligible").
  4. Choose Select next to a Windows AMI that's labeled Free tier eligible.
  5. Select an instance type that's labeled Free tier eligible.
  6. Choose Next: Configure Instance Details.
  7. On the Configure Instance Details page, be sure that Tenancy is set to Shared. Then, be sure that the Purchasing option for Request Spot instances isn't selected.
    All other settings don't affect whether the instance's usage is covered by the Free Tier. You can configure other settings on this page as needed.
  8. Choose Next: Add Storage.
  9. Choose up to 30 GB of storage. Under Volume Type, choose either General Purpose SSD (GP2) or Magnetic. Note: Currently, only 30 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) storage per account is covered under the Free Tier. Consider any storage that you allocated to other instances on your account when adding storage to your instance.
  10. Choose Next: Add Tags.
  11. Optionally, you can add a tag to your instance.
  12. Choose Next: Configure Security Group.
  13. Configure a security group that allows only trusted traffic in and out. For more information about configuring security groups, see Amazon EC2 security groups for Windows instances and Security group rules for different use cases.
  14. Choose Review and Launch.
  15. Review your configuration. If it matches your specifications, choose Launch.

The AWS Free Tier is available to you for 12 months starting with the date that you create your AWS account. It's a best practice to monitor and track your Free Tier usage. For more information, see Tracking your AWS Free Tier usage.

To avoid unnecessary charges by reducing or eliminating Amazon EC2 resources, see How do I delete or terminate my Amazon EC2 resources?