How to Setup a Free Amazon AWS Cloud Computer Instance

Updated for 2021





  1. Sign up for an Amazon account or Sign In using your existing Amazon account at
    Note: You will need to use a different account and credit card every year (11 months) in order to not get charged.

  2. Select Launch a virtual machine.

  3. Under Create Instance, press the Launch Instance button.

  4. In the next screen, you will need to "Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Check the "Free tier only" option on the left column and select an image.
    Note: I recommend Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Base due to the fact the free tiers are limited in memory and processing power.

  5. Press the Select button.

  6. Now you will be at the Choose an Instance Type screen. The free tier eligible option should already be selected, so press the Review and Launch button.

  7. You will now be at the Review Instance Launch screen. If you are familiar with firewalls, feel free to review the Security Group and be mindful that you will need to keep the RDP port (TCP 3389) open.

  8. Select Launch for your image to be built.

  9. In the upper left corner of the web page, select Services and then EC2


  10. Click Download Key Pair and save it to a safe location. You will need this file later to decrypt the password to your new cloud computer.

  11. After you have downloaded the Key Pair, Launch Instances will no longer be grayed out. Select Launch Instances.

  12. You will now be at the Launch Status screen. You can wait here for your cloud computer to be created and launched or you can select View Instances.

  13. Select View Instances.

  14. You will now be at the EC2 Dashboard. Note that your new instance (cloud computer) is Initializing. This will take a few minutes.

  15. When the instance is ready, the state will show as "running".

  16. Select your instance be checking the box on the left.

  17. On the upper right, press Connect.

  18. Select RDP client

  1. Click on "Download remote desktop file" and save the .rdp file. This is a shortcut to your cloud computer.

  2. Select "Get Password".

  3. The Key Name at step 10 will be shown. Select "Choose File" and browse to the file that was downloaded in step 10. It should be a file labeled as the Key Name.

  4. Once you select the key pair, the Key Pair should be populated. Click "Decrypt Password".

  5. Your cloud computer's User name and Password will be shown..

  6. Double click the rdp file that was saved in step 16. Check "Don't ask me again for connections to this computer" and click Connect.

  7. At the next prompt, "The identity of the remote computer cannot be verified. Do you want to connect anyway?" Check "Don't ask me again for connections to this computer" and select Yes.

  8. You will be remoted into your cloud computer and prompted to enter a password. Use the password from step 20 to login.

  9. You will now be on your new desktop. I recommend changing your password by pressing CTRL+Alt+End and selecting Change Password.

  10. You can easily copy+paste or drag and drop files onto your cloud computer's desktop. Now go play some Pirates!