Setup Details

Free Cloud Desktop ver 3.13 Setup Instructions

If this is your first time setting up your desktop, we recommend being a little patient and precise. This one-time setup takes around 5 minutes with time to check your emails, make a phone call and maybe get a coffee.

Setting Up Your Desktop from the AWS Compute EC2 Resources Dashboard 

AWS Resources Window from EC2 Console Dashboard - Oregon Region - Launch

AWS Resources Window accessible from Console Home/Services/Compute/EC2

To Launch Your Free Cloud Desktop Instance: 

  • Log in to your Amazon Web Services (AWS) Console
  • Select the “Compute/EC2” Link on the Console Home Page under the “Services”  Menu
  • Make sure the Region (upper right) selection is set to Oregon – US West (Oregon) in the drop down list
  • Click the AMIs Link on the left-hand navigation bar under Images
  • Change the Filter near the top of the screen to “Private Images” (not “Owned by me” or “Public Images”)
  • Select the checkbox on the line with the AMI number and name you were given  “Master AS10 ver 3.13”
  • Make sure only that line is selected, then click the Launch button in the upper left-hand corner
  • Review the Micro Instance  Settings which look like this:
    • t2.Micro (Free Tier Eligible) – 1 – 1 – EBS only –  – Low to Moderate (Make sure your AWS Account is Free Tier Eligible)
  • At the top of the screen, click “6. Configure Security Group”.
  • Create the Rules below (you can add rules or delete them later but RDP is the only one we recommend for typical usage).
    • Enter a Security Group Name and Group Description of “Desktop Anywhere Free Cloud Desktop version 3.1”
    • From the “Type” drop-down box scroll down and select RDP (3389 and change the source to Anywhere (or the custom IP if you are limiting to such as recommended by AWS and that works for your purpose).
    • Click the “Review and Launch” button in the lower right-hand corner
    • Click Continue if you get a warning about Port 22
    • Review the settings making any corrections necessary.
    • Click the Launch Button
  • Select the Drop Down next to Choose an Existing Key Pair and select “Proceed without a key pair”, and tick the checkbox next to “I acknowledge…” and lastly click the “Launch Instances” Button
  • The Launch Status Window will display notifying you that “Your instances are now launching”
  • Click on the link next to “The following instances have been initiated: i-9999999” (the 9s will be replaced by an alphanumeric unique identifier for your instance).

We strongly recommend that you Receive Billing Alerts underPreferences and following the instructions on the wizard for the Manage Billing Alerts link. Along with checking your My Account tab until you are sure your account is setup for Free Tier properly, the billing alert will help you ensure that you are not being charged to run your desktop as there are limits to the Free Tier Amazon allows.  (If you use the AWS Free Tier, you can set a billing alert to notify you if you exceed the free tier by setting a threshold of $0.00.)

Accessing Your  Desktop for the First Time:  

There are a number of ways to be able to access your Free Cloud Desktop from a variety of devices. The easiest and most common method is Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and we will be using RDP in this example. Refer to the Desktop Access Section if you have issues, prefer a different method or need to install an RDP App such as for an Android or Apple Device.

To Connect via RDP from Windows:

  • Go  to the AWS EC2 Console / Instances Screen for your new instance (if not already there)

AWS EC2 Management Console Instance Window

AWS EC2 Management Console Instance Window

  • While you wait for the instance to finish initialize and setup on launch:
    • Select Instance Line so that it highlights in blue
    • Click in the Name Field and click the pencil icon at the right-hand side to edit the blank name
    • Copy and paste “Desktop Anywhere Free Cloud Desktop version 3.1” to the name and click the check mark to save
  • Wait until the startup is finished (around 2 minutes) and Status shows “running” and Status Checks show “2/2 checks passed”
  • Make sure the Instance line checkbox is checked to see the lower pane information for your Cloud Desktop
  • Copy the Public IP and/or Public DNS address (999.999.999.999 and/or Try the other if one doesn’t work.
  • Now, we will connect via RDP (Windows Example)
Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) Free Cloud Desktop

Remote Desktop Connection (RDP)

  • Open the RDP Client (example below using Windows Native RDP: Start/Programs/Accessories/Remote Desktop – your RDP client location may vary))
    • Paste the either the Public IP or Public DNS EC2 address string into the value next to the label Computer in the RDP General Tab
    • Select the Show Options down arrow in the Lower Left Corner of the RDP Window
    • On the Display Tab, ensure the Colors selection is “High Color (16 bit)”
    • Consider moving the Display Configuration Slider to the right for Full-Screen mode (or whatever you prefer)
    • Click Connect
    • A Connection Notification should appear briefly followed by a Microsoft Warning . Tick the “Don’t ask me again…” to skip this prompt next time and click “Yes”
  • This should display a “Login to” prompt.
    • Enter the User Name and Password provided  from your Email Instructions from signup and click the OK button.
    • You will get a Connection Log window that pops up. (If it fails or you get an “error – problem connecting“, just click OK and enter the credentials again)
  • Be patient and you should shortly see the full Free Cloud Desktop.
    • If you see a gray screen, just wait a few seconds.
    • You will get a Ubuntu Mate Welcome Window that is set to open on startup but close that for now.
Free Linux Cloud Desktop

You should see the above. Success! Your Free Cloud Desktop Instance has been launched.

(If you have any issues you can see the FAQ or Troubleshoot Setup Pages for help. )

Now, a few more items to secure and personalize your Free Cloud Desktop! Now let’s personalize your desktop and change your password.

Setup Your Desktop: 

Apply Available Updates –

Using a Terminal Session from the Desktop

  • Launch a Terminal Session from the Desktop       Linux Terminal Session Cloud Desktop
  • From the Command Line issue the following commands (Note: The Command Line Commands are cASE sENSITIVE)
    • Provide your password, y (for yes) and other options as prompted and wait for a new prompt indicating it is complete.
      • sudo apt-get update
      • sudo apt-get upgrade
      • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
      • sudo update-manager (when complete, select Restart Later as you will restart from the AWS Console)
    • Note: You will want to do the above updates/upgrades periodically to keep up to date or you can use System/Software updater as well.

Restart the instance from the AWS Console (this is good to do occasionally or if you have issues)::

  • Select your Instance on the AWS Instances panel
  • Then select Actions/Instance State/Reboot Then click the button “Yes, Reboot” to restart the instance from the AWS side of things.
  • Wait about a minute then you should be able to log back in to your Cloud Desktop via RDP.

Once logged in to your desktop again:

Change Your Password!

This is particularly important!

Your Free Cloud Desktop has an initial password that was assigned as the same for everyone that signed up. Let’s change that right now. Be careful to make a note of your password as there is no way to recover it. To change your Password:

  • Make sure you are logged into Your Free Cloud Desktop via RDP again as you did above
  • On the top Menu select System/Preferences/Personal/About Me
  • Click Change Password
  • Enter the password you were given in the email in the field next to Current password and then click Authenticate
  • Now, enter a Strong New Password in the New password and Retype new password fields, then click Change password

NOTE: You cannot recover your password. Make sure you don’t lose or forget it. Don’t worry though, you can always just terminate an instance and spin up a new one.

Next time, log in using your new password. You should be all set to begin exploring your new Linux Free Cloud Desktop!

Now, this is a very powerful Operating System and Architecture. We suggest you take your time and extend your use thoughtfully. Make sure that you store/backup all data in case you need it. You can always terminate an instance and spin up another instance if you have issues, but all user data and configuration are your responsibility alone.

We have suggestions and optional updates on their way coming. In the meantime maker sure to check out the Cloud Desktop Maintenance, new FAQ and visit the new Community Pages. Enjoy!