Connect & Manage AWS lightsail Windows server using WAC

Windows Admin Center is a web-based platform to manage remote Windows PCs and servers, thus we can also use WAC to manage AWS Lightsail cloud running Windows server 2019, 2016, or 2012 Instances.

We can manage the LightSail Windows server using RPD protocol that will give direct access to the Graphical user interface of the Server. However, this option could laggy depending upon your internet connection speed and location. If you don’t want to use it then we can manage and monitor our remote AWS cloud Windows server using the free Admin Center Web-based GUI platform. And here I will show you how to do that.

Although we can install Windows Admin Center on our local PC and then by adding remote Windows Server in it, we will be able to control the same. However, this option will be useful if you have multiple servers or PCs to manage from a central location. Whereas, for those using a single Lightsail Windows 2019 server or any other version, the best option is to install Windows Admin Center directly on the Windows server and then access it using any browser, safely using the server’s credentials.

Here we will show you how to do this…

Get AWS Windows server Ip-address and password

Here we are using Windows 2019 server but the steps will be the same for previous versions as well. Thus, after installing Windows Server on AWS, you will get the IP address, Username, and Password.

AWS Windows 2019 server RDP password IP and username

Connect AWS LightSail Windows 2019 server RDP

On your local Windows PC, whether it is Win 10, 8, 7, it doesn’t matter. Go to the Search box and find the Remote Desktop app. Alternatively, we can use the RUN command to instantly open it. Press Win key + R to open the RUN command box and type- mstsc followed by the pressing of the Enter key.

RUn command to open Remote Desktop

Now, in the Remote Desktop App, enter the IP address of your Lightsail Windows Instance.

Local RDP to connect AWS Windows server cloud

After that, it will ask for a Username and Password. Use your Lightsail windows server credentials.

Enter the Lightsail server RDP details AWS cloud Lightsail Windows 2019 server RDP screenshot

 

Open Powershell and install Windows Admin Center

Yes, you can manage your server directly using the RDP connection, however, as I said, the graphical access will sometimes laggy especially when you have a low-speed connection. Thus, to manage it efficiently, we will install a web-based Microsoft WAC server management platform.

 Right-click on the Windows Server Start menu icon in RDP and select run Powershell as Admin.

#Copy and paste the below command to download Windows Admin center on your server.

Invoke-WebRequest 'https://aka.ms/WACDownload' -OutFile "$pwd\WAC.msi"

#Configure and Install downloaded WAC MSI file via Powershell

Once the downloading of the WAC installer is completed, use this command to set it up on your server system.

Configure Setup requirements-

$msiArgs = @("/i", "$pwd\WAC.msi", "/qn", "/L*v", "log.txt", "SME_PORT=6516", "SSL_CERTIFICATE_OPTION=generate")

Next, install it-

Start-Process msiexec.exe -Wait -ArgumentList $msiArgs

 

Open Firewall for WAC in Lightsail

To access Windows Admin center from any computer using a browser, we have to open its port number i.e 6516 in the AWS LightSail cloud network firewall.

  1. Go to the Networking tab of your Windows Lightsail Instance.
  2. Click on the +Add rule link Add new IPv4 Firewall rule
  3. In the port range type – 6516 and click on Create Link. Create TCP 6516 Windows Admin center port rule in AWS firewall
  4. Once added, this will show added port along with other opened ports on your server Instance Network Firewall for IPv6.
    Open WAC port in LightSail

Access WAC web interface to login

Everything is set, now open a new tab (Incognito is recommended) and enter the IP address of your Lightsail windows server instance along with 6516.

For example, here our Public Ip for the instance is 13.126.254.17 thus the URL to access WAC will be like this-

https://13.126.254.17:6516

Accept certificate error by clicking on Advanced and then Proceed link…

As Connection si not private

 

WAC Dashboard

Select your Server from the Dashboard of WAC to access all management and monitoring options.

Sekect THe WAC gateway AWS LightSail installed Windows 2019 server with Windows Admin Center

 

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