Launching a Windows Instance

1. Preparation

In preparation for launching a Windows instance, you will need to create a Volume which will be used as the target for the Windows OS installation.

Firstly, ensure you have sufficient volume quota available in your project. Confirm current quota by selecting Compute -> Overview

Suggested volume size of 100GB per instance, plus any additional space needed for your software. If your allocation does not include sufficient volume storage, you can request resources in the Allocations menu in the sidebar.

  1. To create a Volume, go to Volumes > Volumes on the dashboard and click Create Volume.

  2. Fill in the details, making the Volume large enough to install Windows and your applications (e.g. 100GB), ensure Volume Source shows No source, empty volume and then select Create Volume

  3. Select Edit Volume for your newly created volume and ensure the Bootable checkbox is ticked and then Submit

2. Create a Windows instance

Head to the Compute -> Instances item in menu on the left and navigate to Launch Instance

Provide a name for the instance, then select Source.
Under Select Boot Source select Image.
Then search for UoM-Cloud and select the required Windows OS install ISO.

  • Windows 10:
    UoM-Cloud-Windows_10_ENT_1607.1_64Bit_virtio_0_1_126.iso

  • Windows Server 2016:
    UoM-Cloud-Windows_Svr_Std_and_DataCtr_2016_64Bit_virtio_0_1_126.iso

Complete the rest of the Launch Instance options including Flavor, Security Groups, Key Pair, Networks etc.

Important: If you do not require a public IP address for your instance it is strongly encouraged to deselect Classic Provider and select qh2-uom-internal under Networks.

When ready, select Launch Instance.

Your Windows machine will now start, booting from the install image (this is like booting from an install DVD or USB drive).

When the instance's status is Active, in the Actions column select the dropdown-menu and choose Attach Volume

Select the volume you created in the Preparation steps earlier and Attach Volume

After the volume is attached, reboot your instance by selecting the Actions dropdown-menu again and choose Hard Reboot Instance

When the instance shows status Active, select Console from the Actions dropdown-menu.

Work through the install steps.

If installing Windows Server, Windows Server 2016 Standard (Desktop Experience) is suitable for most purposes.

Select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) install option.

Your attached Volume should appear as an option in the Where do you want to install Windows? screen. If not, reboot your instance.

Complete the install steps and set a strong password for your user account.

Important notes

  • Make sure you have a strong password, and that guest access is disabled.
  • Make sure automatic updates are enabled, and periodically check that security updates are being applied.
  • If you have sensitive data, consider encrypting it (e.g. using the BitLocker tool built into Windows).
  • If possible, keep your Windows instance shut down when you're not using it, or at least remove the RDP security group so that remote access is disabled.

3. Activating Windows

Windows activation requires the date/time to be set correctly on your instance.

  1. Right-click on the clock near the bottom-right corner of the taskbar and select Adjust date/time

  2. Scroll down and select Additional date, time, & regional settings

  3. Select Set the time and date

  4. Select the Internet Time tab and Change settings...

  5. Change the Server to ntp.unimelb.edu.au and select Update now then OK

  6. Copy and Paste doesn't work through the in-browser Console. The following commands will be easier if you can copy/paste. To do so, you will need to launch a browser in the console and visit this site docs.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/guides/windows

    Right-click the Windows Start icon in the bottom-left corner and select Command Prompt (Admin)
    Select Yes to continue

  7. Type in the relevant command for the version of Windows you are installing and then press Enter.

    Windows 10 Enterprise:

    slmgr /ipk NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43
    
    Windows Server 2016 Standard:
    slmgr /ipk WC2BQ-8NRM3-FDDYY-2BFGV-KHKQY
    
    After a few seconds you should receive a pop-up confirmation

  8. Then type in the following command and press Enter:

    slmgr /skms-domain unimelb.edu.au
    

  9. Then reboot your instance. After logging back in your Windows instance should be automatically activated. To confirm, open System by right-clicking the Windows start icon in the bottom-left corner and select System

  10. Confirm that Windows is activated

  11. If activation did not complete automatically, then open a Command Prompt again by right-clicking the Windows Start icon in the bottom-left corner and select Command Prompt (Admin). Select Yes to continue

  12. Type in the following command and press Enter:

    slmgr /ato
    
    After 10-15 seconds you should receive a pop-up confirmation stating the activation was successful

4. How to enable Remote Desktop connection on your Windows instance

While the Console interface in the Dashboard is functional, it's probably not ideal for most users (for example, you can’t share files, copy and paste, or get a full screen interface). You can enable Remote Desktop connections to your instance with the following steps:

Follow the steps below to create a security group named 'RDP', configure an 'RDP' rule, and apply the security group to your instance. This will make sure the necessary ports are open on your instance to receive Remote Desktop connections.

  1. Head to the Network -> Security Groups item in menu on the left and navigate to Create Security Group. Name the group RDP and click Create Security Group
  2. Select Manage Rules in the Actions column for your new security group
  3. Select + Add Rule
  4. Under Rule select RDP
  5. Under CIDR specify the IP range that will require access to your instance.
    Do NOT leave as 0.0.0.0/0. Strongly consider limiting the IP address range for your RDP security group to 10.0.0.0/8 which includes the ranges used by the university VPN. This means you’ll have to open a VPN connection before connecting to your instance, but will drastically reduce the potential for unauthorised access.

  6. Add the security group to your instance. Head to the Compute -> Instances item in menu on the left and select the dropdown-menu for your instance and choose Edit security groups. Select the + sign next to the RDP security group to apply the security group rules to your instance.

  7. Select the dropdown-menu for your instance again and choose Console.
    Login to your instance and open System by right-clicking the Windows start icon in the bottom-left corner and select System

  8. Select Remote settings

  9. Select Allow remote connections to this computer and OK

You should now be able to connect to your instance using an RDP client.

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