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Administer your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance with Windows Remote Desktop Connection

Once you have launched an ArcGIS Server or ArcGIS Enterprise instance on Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can log in to authorize software (if necessary) and perform other ArcGIS administrative tasks.

The following instructions explain how to log in to a Microsoft Windows instance using Remote Desktop Connection.


Before you attempt to log in using Remote Desktop Connection, you must open port 3389 on the Amazon security group used by your instance. Also confirm with your system administrator that your computer is allowed to make Remote Desktop connections to machines outside your organization's firewall—specifically, machines on the Amazon subnets.

  1. Log in to the AWS Management Console and obtain the Windows administrator password for your instance.
  2. Tip:

    If you just launched your instance, it may not be ready to use yet. Check the system log for the instance for a message indicating Windows is ready to use. Once that message appears, wait approximately five more minutes before connecting to the instance to give all services and processes running on the instance a chance to start.

    Note the following about using the system log to look for the Windows is ready to use message:

    • You may have to repeatedly open the log to check for this message.
    • The time it takes for this message to appear can vary based on the responsiveness of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Factors affecting response time may include the time of day, your location, and the health of the Amazon zone and region you are using. Expect to wait at least 10 minutes.

    • If the message does not appear after a long period of time (for example, 30 minutes), AWS is experiencing a problem starting the instance. Consider terminating the instance and launching a new one.

  3. Take note of the instance's public DNS name. If there is no public DNS for your instance, allocate an Amazon Elastic IP and associate it with your instance.
  4. When the instance is ready to use, make a remote desktop connection from a local Windows machine to the instance. Provide the public DNS name or Elastic IP for the instance and the Windows administrator account to connect to the instance.

    You are now logged in to the instance and should see the Windows desktop.

  5. Change your Windows administrator password. If you need help, read the Microsoft Windows documentation for the version of the operating system that is running on your instance.

    It is strongly recommended that you change the initial administrator password.

    Your randomly generated administrator password is not always going to be available for retrieval through the AWS Management Console. After stopping and starting the instance, Get Windows Password no longer shows the password retrieval dialog box. Instead, a message box appears informing you that no password was found.

  6. If you launched your instance from the AWS Management Console, you need to authorize the software. Open the Software Authorization wizard for ArcGIS Server to provide a valid license for ArcGIS Server.

    Authorization of Portal for ArcGIS takes place when you create the portal, which can be done through a web browser; therefore, you do not need to make a Remote Desktop connection to authorize Portal for ArcGIS.

  7. Configure licenses for ArcGIS Pro.


    You can license ArcGIS Pro through an ArcGIS Desktop license manager rather than through your Enterprise portal; however, if you do, and your license manager is running on an EC2 instance, ArcGIS Pro will no longer be licensed if the license manager instance is restarted, as restarting the instance changes its name. If you need to use a license manager, use one that is hosted on a physical machine in your organization. Alternatively, the license manager can be hosted on a virtual machine or on a small dedicated EC2 instance that is continuously running (such as a micro size Linux instance).