Legacy version information is below. However, we only support the latest version of the Free Cloud Desktop 3.13.
Our Latest Version 3.13 of the Free Cloud Desktop with sudo access is available now.
To register or request an upgrade from an older version:
Legacy Version Information
There have been a few prior versions to 2.12 for the Free Cloud Desktop. We suggest that any prior version be replaced by requesting an upgrade to version 3.13.
Below you will find Legacy Instructions to Free Cloud Desktop versions 2.12 for a limited time. We no longer provide information for versions older than that.
Once your instance is running, make sure to setup an AWS Billing Alert to ensure you are running on the Free Tier:
The below provides setup details that can be used with the above video or separately.
Setting Up Your Desktop
Accessing Your Desktop
Change Your Password
Personalize your User ID
Restarting and Logging On with Your New ID and Password
Recommended Updates and Suggestions
Logging On Once Setup is Complete
If this is your first time setting up your desktop, we recommend being patient and precise. This takes about 10 minutes with time to check your emails, make a phone call and get a coffee.
NOTE: The screenshots may be a bit dated but the text should be current.
To Launch Your Free Cloud Desktop Instance:
- Log in to your Amazon Web Services (AWS) Management Console
- Select the EC2 Graphic Link on the Console Home Page under Amazon Web Services.
- Make sure the Region (upper right) selection is set to Oregon
- Click the AMIs Link on the left-hand navigator bar under Images.
- Change the drop down Filter at the top of the screen from “Owned by me” to “Private Images”.
- Find the line displaying the AMI number you were given “DesktopAnywhere.com Free Cloud Desktop ver 2.12”
- Make sure that instance is selected, then click the Launch button.
- Review the Micro Instance Settings which look like this:
- t.1Micro – 1 – .613 – EBS only – – Very Low
- Be sure to ensure that your account is eligible for the Free Tier
- At the top of the screen, click “6. Configure Security Group”.
- Create the Rules below (you can omit rules or delete them later if you are not going to use that protocol).
- Enter a Security Group Name and Group Description of “Desktop Anywhere Free Cloud Desktop version 2.12”
- Leave SSH from the drop down box and click the “Add Rule” Button
- Select HTTP from the drop down box and click the “Add Rule” Button again
- Select RDP from the drop down box 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 Review and Launch or Launch in the lower right-hand corner.
- Select the “Boot from…” desired (if displayed – SSD or Magnetic should work). If preset, you can modify this under “Add Storage”.
- Review the settings making any corrections necessary.
- Click Launch
- 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 click Launch Instances
- The Launch Status Window will display notifying you that “Your instances are now launching
- We strongly recommend that you create a Billing Alert by clicking Create Billing Alerts and following the instructions on the wizard. 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 for the first login. Refer to the Desktop Access Section if you have issues, prefer a different method or need to install an RDP App such as from an Android or Apple Device.
To Connect via RDP from Windows:
- Go to the AWS EC2 Console / Instances Screen
- Wait until the startup is finished and Status shows “running” and Status Checks show “2/2 checks passed”
- Copy the Public DNS address (in the form ec2-999-999-999-999.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com)
- Open the RDP Client by Start/Programs/Accessories/Remote Desktop (your RDP Program Location might vary)
- Paste the EC2 address string into the value next to the label Computer in the RDP General Tab
- Select the Show Options Arrow in the Lower Left Corner of the RDP Window or Options in the Lower Right
- 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
- Click Connect
- A Connection Notification should appear briefly followed by a Microsoft Warning; click yes
- This should display a “Login” prompt.
- Enter the User Name and Password provided from your Email Instructions from signup
- You will get a Connection Log window that pops up. (If it fails or you get an error, just click OK and enter the credentials again)
- The first log on, you may see a gray background for a bit as the Free Cloud Desktop initializes the first time
- Be patient and you should shortly see the full Free Cloud Desktop as shown below:
Free Cloud Desktop ver 2.12 – DesktopAnywhere.com
(If you have any issues you can see the Troubleshoot Setup Page for help. )
If you see the above, Success! Your Free Cloud Desktop Instance has been launched. Now, a few more items to secure and personalize your Free Cloud Desktop! Now let’s personalize your desktop and change your login credentials.
Personalizing Your Desktop:
This is really 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
- Click and Hold the mouse button on the Power icon (next to the Time Display in the Title Bar) in the upper right-hand corner of the Free Cloud Desktop and Select System Settings.
- Click on User Accounts (lower right corner of System Settings Screen)
- Your User ID should be highlighted (or you can select it by clicking on it)
- Then, click on the “….” field to the right of “Password” label
- Enter the password you were given in the email in the field next to Current password
- Then enter a Strong New Password in the New password and Confirm password fields, then clickChange.
- Then click the Close icon (x in the Title Bar near the upper left-hand corner of the User Accounts Window).
Note: this can only be done once
We strongly recommend changing the User ID for your Cloud Desktop to a different User ID than dauser and User Name you use for logging into my.DesktopAnywhere.com site. (you can optionally create a subdomain for Free Cloud Desktop Access e.g. UserName.DesktopAnywhere.com) as an alias for the ec2- address value). Using a User ID unique to the desktop provides for an extra security measure and to prevent someone compromising or locking your account with repeated login attempts.
- While still logged in to your Free Cloud Desktop
- From the Quick Launch Bar on the left of the Cloud Desktop click the Folder Icon near the top
- Then double click the folder called DesktopAnywhere to open it
- Double Click on the dauser.txt file
- Change the value of dauser to a UserID that you want to use. (we recommend you use a unique User ID and note it as you will need it to log on in the future).
- Click on the Save icon to save the dauser.txt file
- To finish the user ID change, switch Windows back to your AWS Management Console, with yourInstance selected, choose Instance State/Stop from the Instance Actions Drop down and then clickYes Stop when prompted.
- On your AWS Management Console Instances Window for Region Oregon
- Wait for the State value to change to “Stopped”.
- With the Instance selected, in the Instance Actions Drop down, Select Instance State/Start and then Yes Start
- When the State value shows “running” and Status Checks field has a green check mark and 2/2 checks passed you will be able to Log In with your new User ID and new ec2 Address.
- Optionally, you can update your Cloud Desktop Address on your User Profile(my.desktopanywhere.com), copy the ec2- address value as you did before and paste it into the Cloud Desktop Address and click the Update Profile Button to save the new address. (Only input your ec2 address into this field if you want a DesktopAnywhere.com Subdomain created), else just update the address in the client method you selected. There is an explanation under the Cloud Desktop Address field with some options and information. Read more about Subdomains. This is an optional field but can provide help features. Each time you Stop the instance, the Public DNS address will change. As long as are within the limits of the AWS Free Tier, there is no need to stop the instance.
- If you entered you ec2 address in the field, you can click on the Desktop Image at the bottom of your User Profile Page to Launch the Free Cloud Desktop. You may see a few messages to download the component and/or allow access to the Java NX web-enabled access. When you see the Continue Button option click it and enter your new desktop User ID and Password. (Java may require some permissions to run). Alternatively, you can use RDP or any of the Access Methods you like. Read more aboutDesktop Access.
Apply Available Updates – from the Cog Icon in the upper right-hand portion of the GUI, click and hold the left mouse and the menu should drop down and you can select Updates Available. (It may say Software Up To Date for a bit). Make sure to Update your system and periodically check to ensure it is always up to date. Often, you will get a Restart System Prompt and you can restart from there. It is a great idea to restart from the AWS console periodically too.
Once setup is complete, to normal login for your Free Cloud Desktop is simply:
Also, we recommend you look at these pages to help you get the most from your Free Cloud Desktop:
Not signed up for the Free Cloud Desktop yet? It’s easy:
- Or register at my.desktopanywhere.com
If you have any suggestions, issues, or other needs Contact Us.
The Desktop Anywhere Team (DAT)