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Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) are the basic building block of Amazon EC2. Before you accomplish anything with Amazon EC2, you must first choose an AMI. The AMI can be provided by AWS or the community, or you can create your own AMIs. To create your own AMI, you must start by using one of the base AMIs provided.
After finding and selecting an AMI, record its AMI ID. You'll use the AMI ID when you launch your instance and then connect to it. For information about launching your instance, see Launch a Windows Instance. For information about connecting to your Windows instance, see Connecting to Your Windows Instance.
To view a list of available Windows AMIs
Open the Amazon EC2 console.
From the navigation bar, select the region in which you plan to launch your instances.
In the navigation pane, click AMIs.
(Optional) Use the Filter options to scope the list of displayed AMIs. For example, to list all Windows AMIs provided by Amazon, select Public images, Amazon images, and then Windows from the Filter lists.
(Optional) Click the Show/Hide Columns icon to select which image attributes to display, such as the root device type. Alternatively, you can select an AMI from the list and view its properties in the Details tab.
Before you select an AMI, it's important that you check whether it's backed by instance store or by Amazon EBS and that you are aware of the effects of this difference. For more information, see Root Device Storage on Windows AMIs.
To find a list of AWS Windows AMIs on AWS Marketplace, open
AWS Marketplace, enter
in the search box, and click Go. Each product is labeled with its product type:
Software as a Service.
To scope the results to a particular version of Windows, use the Operating System filter.
Amazon EC2 provides a set of Java-based command line interface (CLI) tools. You must install the CLI tools before you can try the example commands in this section. For more information, see Installing the Amazon EC2 Command Line Interface Tools on Windows.
Use the ec2-describe-images command to list the AMIs that you're interested in.
The following command lists all AWS-owned Windows AMIs.
ec2-describe-images -o amazon --filter "platform=windows"
The example output shown here consists of a few entries from the list of all AWS Windows AMIs.
IMAGE ami-c941efa0 amazon/Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-64Bit-Base-2013.05.15 amazon available public x86_64 machine windows ebs hvm xen BLOCKDEVICEMAPPING EBS /dev/sda1 snap-b81a74c9 30 true standard IMAGE ami-2b41ef42 amazon/Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-Base-2013.05.15 amazon available public x86_64 machine windows ebs hvm xen BLOCKDEVICEMAPPING EBS /dev/sda1 snap-f00e6081 30 true standard IMAGE ami-b340eeda amazon/Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP1_Express-2012.07.11 amazon available public x86_64 machine windows ebs hvm xen BLOCKDEVICEMAPPING EBS /dev/sda1 snap-0e2d437f 30 true standard IMAGE ami-a8e705c1 ec2-paid-ibm-images/ibm-infosphere-is-winclient.manifest.xml amazon available public [devpay: EC129708} i386 machine windows instance-store hvm xen IMAGE ami-df20c3b6 ec2-public-windows-images/Server2003r2-i386-Win-v1.07.manifest.xml amazon available public i386 machine windows instance-store hvm xen IMAGE ami-dd20c3b4 ec2-public-windows-images/Server2003r2-x86_64-Win-v1.07.manifest.xml amazon available public x86_64 machine windows instance-store hvm xen
You can filter the list to return only certain types of AMIs of interest to you. For more information about how to filter the results, see ec2-describe-images in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Command Line Reference.