I would like to use a windows desktop inside the Amazon EC2 cloud, but their prices for windows are too high.

Please provide step by step instructions to virtualize a windows OS inside of an Ubuntu EC2 instance.

I want to start up my ubuntu instance via EC2, and be able to login to a windows machine via RDP.


One of the reason Amazon's Windows instance cost is higher than Ubuntu's is because you have to pay for your Windows Licence, how will you be licensing the Windows instance you install? I'm also pretty certain that the only licence type MS support on EC2 will be SPLA licensing, so unless you have an SPLA licence agreement, you will need to get some one to do that for you, which will cost extra, and probably put the price back up to around what Amazon charge.

Unless you're planning on not having a licence for Windows, and you wouldn't do that..... would you?

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  • Of course not, I own multiple copies of windows which I will be using. I do not need more than one instance up and running. I'm sure MS would love to only support certain OSs/keys on EC2, but if I'm virtualizing an XP cd which I bought from within ubuntu - what can they do? – darkAsPitch Feb 18 '10 at 17:59
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    @darkAsPitch: did you read the license agreement? – Juliano Feb 18 '10 at 18:11
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    @darkAsPitch...you'll find this group is very very touchy about licensing issues since we normally have to deal with the fallout of things like audits...hint hint... – Bart Silverstrim Feb 18 '10 at 18:20
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    @darkAsPitch You may own multiple copies of Windows, however I do not believe they will be licenced on EC2, you will need SPLA licences. If you use a retail copy of XP on it, you will be breaking the licence agreement. Yes, you will prob get away with it, but your in the wrong, and if you did get audited you'd be in trouble. – Sam Cogan Feb 18 '10 at 21:10
  • I really am not getting something here. I own my copy of windows xp. I am paying for a linux ubuntu EC2 instance. I do not know what an SPLA license is, but there are restrictions about what type of computer I can install my copy of windows xp onto? I am not trying to avoid paying for anything here - other than the amazon ec2 windows prices! Please, help inform me! In essence, I have already paid the extra few cents per hour, by spending hundreds of dollars on a windows xp license for which I will only use for a set number of hours. – darkAsPitch Feb 19 '10 at 6:45

You cannot install true virtual machine software inside an existing virtual machine. What you are asking for is not technically feasible.

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  • What? I seem to have no problem installing windows xp via virtualbox on ubuntu - what is a true virtual machine? – darkAsPitch Mar 2 '10 at 21:06
  • A system level virtual machine: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine – Michael Mullany Mar 4 '10 at 18:34

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