Amazon AppStream 2.0
Developer Guide

Tutorial: Using an AppStream 2.0 Image Builder

Before you can stream your applications, Amazon AppStream 2.0 requires at least one image that you create using an image builder. This tutorial walks through the steps to create images using an image builder.


After you create an image builder and it is running, your account may incur nominal charges. For more information, see AppStream 2.0 Pricing.

Step 1: Create an Image Builder

Create a new image builder so you can add apps and create images for streaming.

To create an image builder for adding applications

  1. Open the AppStream 2.0 console at

  2. You may see the welcome screen showing two choices: Try it now and Get started. Choose Get started, Custom set up. If you do not see the welcome screen, choose Quick links in the left navigation pane, then Custom set up.

  3. Select a base image. If you are launching the image builder for the first time, you can use the sample base image provided by AWS (selected by default). If you have created images before or to update applications in an existing image, you can choose one of your existing images. Choose Next.

  4. Configure the image builder by accepting the default values or by providing your own inputs for the following fields:


    Provide a unique name identifier for the image builder.

    Instance Type

    Select the instance type for the image builder. Choose a type that matches the performance requirements of the applications that you plan to install.

    Network Access

    Choose a VPC subnet in which your image builder should be launched. Your image builder will have access to any of the network resources that are accessible from within this VPC subnet. For Internet access on the image builder, choose Default Internet Access, select a VPC that has public subnets on your default VPC, and then select one of the public subnets listed for Subnet. If you are controlling Internet access using a NAT gateway, leave Default Internet Access unselected and use the VPC with the NAT gateway. For more information, see Network Settings for Fleet and Image Builder Instances. For Security group(s), select up to five security groups to associate with this image builder. If needed, choose Create new security group. If you do not choose a security group, the image builder is associated with the default security group for your VPC. For more information, see VPC Security Groups.

    After you have configured your image builder, choose Review.

  5. Review the details for the image builder, choose Edit for any section to change, and choose Launch.

After the service sets up some resources, the image builder instance list appears. Your new image builder is listed as Running when it is ready to use (choose Refresh to update the status).

Step 2: Installing Applications to an Image

In this step, connect to the image builder that you created and launched, then install the applications to be included in the image.

To install applications

  1. On the left navigation pane, choose Images, Image Builder.

  2. Select the image builder to use, check to be sure it has a Running status, and choose Actions, Connect. For this step to work, you may need to configure your browser to allow pop-ups from https://stream.<aws-region>

  3. When you connect to your image builder, the service requests that you press "Ctrl + Alt + Delete" for first time sign-in. On the top right corner of the image builder session toolbar, choose Admin Commands, Send Ctrl + Alt + Delete.

  4. Sign in by selecting one of thee following options:


    This mode has full administrator privileges on the image builder instance. Use this mode to install your applications, add applications to the image, and create an image.


    This mode has the same limited privileges as your end users have on their streaming instances. Use this mode to test applications for proper function as an end user.

    At any point after logging in, you can switch between admin and test modes by selecting the appropriate option from the Admin Commands menu.

  5. If the image builder session requests you to enter a password, choose Admin Commands, Log me in.

  6. Install apps by browsing to an application website or other download source and beginning the installation process as you normally would on a local physical computer. Complete the application's own installation process before moving to the next step.

Step 3: Adding Applications to an Image

In this step, you can add applications (.exe), batch scripts (.bat), and application shortcuts (.lnk) to the image.

To add applications

  1. From the image builder desktop, launch the application named Image Assistant.

  2. Choose Add Application and navigate to the location of the application, script, or shortcut to add. Choose Open.

  3. In the Application Properties dialog box, enter a display name to be shown to the users in the catalog, change the icon, and enter launch parameters (additional arguments passed to the application when it is launched). Repeat for each application to add to the image.

  4. When you are finished adding apps, choose Next.

To test your applications

  • Verify that the apps you've added launch correctly by starting a Windows session as a test user.

    1. On the web toolbar in the top right of your session, choose Admin Commands, Switch to Image Builder Test, ImageBuilderTest.

    2. If a password is requested, choose Admin Commands, Log me in.

    3. Use the Image Assistant to launch and test your apps.

    4. To return to the admin mode, choose Admin Commands, Switch to Image Builder Admin.


Do not exit the Image Assistant application, you need to use it in the next section.

Step 4: Optimizing Apps

In this step, you optimize your apps and create the image. The image builder optimizes your applications for start-up performance. This is a mandatory step that is performed on all applications in the list. All applications must be launched prior to optimization

To optimize your applications

  1. Choose Launch and the service automatically launches the first application in your list. When the app is completely started, choose Continue.

  2. Provide any interactions or inputs that may be required by the application launched to bring it to a usable state. For example, a web browser may prompt you to import settings before it is completely up and running.

  3. After you have brought the application to a usable state, choose Continue in the small dialog box. The app helper launches the next application automatically.

  4. Repeat the previous step until all applications are launched, and leave them running. In the Image Assistant helper app, choose Next.

Step 5: Creating an Image

In this step, you choose a name and create the image.

To create the image

  1. Enter a unique image name and image display name, with an optional description, and choose Next. The name you choose cannot begin with "Amazon", "AWS", or "AppStream".

  2. Review the details and choose Disconnect and Create Image. Your new image is created and the session is disconnected. You can now close the session window.

  3. Return to the console and navigate to Images, Image Registry. Verify your new image appears in the list.

The new image first appears with status Pending in the image registry of your console. After the image is successfully created, the status of the image changes to Available, which means you can now use the image to launch a stack and stream your applications. To continue to work with creating images, you can start the image builder and connect to it from the console, or create a new image builder. There is a limit of five image builders per account.

Step 7: Clean Up

Finally, stop your running image builders to free up resources and avoid unintended charges to your account. We recommend stopping any unused, running image builders. For more information, see AppStream 2.0 Pricing.

To stop a running image builder

  1. In the navigation pane, choose Images, Image Builders, and select the running image builder instance.

  2. Choose Actions, Stop.