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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 Amazon or the Amazon EC2 community, or you can create your own AMIs. However, 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 Amazon EC2 Windows Instances.
To view a list of available AMIs
Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/.
In the navigation pane, click AMIs.
The console displays your AMIs.
[Optional] Use the Filter options to manipulate the list of displayed AMIs. For example, to see a list of all Windows AMIs provided by Amazon, select Public Images, Amazon Images, then Windows from the Filter drop-down lists.
Click an AMI's Go to Details Page button (the magnifying glass) to view its properties in a new screen.
As you are selecting an AMI, it's important to note whether the AMI is backed by instance store or by Amazon EBS. Select the type of AMI that meets your needs. For more information, see Root Device Storage on Windows AMIs.
Amazon EC2 provides a Java-based command-line client that wraps the EC2 Query API. You must install the command line tools before you can try the example commands in this section. For information about installing the command line tools, see Installing the Amazon EC2 Command Line Tools on Windows.
To find a suitable AMI
Use the ec2-describe-images command to list the AMIs that you're interested in.
The following command lists all Amazon-owned Windows AMIs. The example output shown here consists of a few entries from the list of all Amazon Windows AMIs.
ec2-describe-images -o amazon --filter "platform=windows"IMAGE ami-c941efa0 amazon/Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-64Bit-Base-2012.07.11 amazon available public x86_64 machine windows ebs hvm xen BLOCKDEVICEMAPPING /dev/sda1 snap-b81a74c9 30 standard IMAGE ami-2b41ef42 amazon/Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-Base-2012.07.11 amazon available public x86_64 machine windows ebs hvm xen BLOCKDEVICEMAPPING /dev/sda1 snap-f00e6081 30 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 /dev/sda1 snap-0e2d437f 30 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, go to ec2-describe-images in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Command Line Reference.