Create a custom Windows-based image

The process for creating a Windows-based image that meets all of the requirements to run in Strigo.

Daniel Wolf avatar
Written by Daniel Wolf
Updated over a week ago


This article describes the actions to take in order to create an image in general, and in order to make sure it meets the prerequisites for running in Strigo.

The process of creating an image for Strigo involves:

  1. Launching an EC2 instance as a base instance, from which an image will be created.

  2. Install all of the software required for your training.

  3. Set some configurations for the image to be accessible to Strigo.

  4. Create an image out of that base instance.

Before you begin

It is advised to create the base instance, and then create the image based on it, already on the region where the Lab Resource in Strigo is configured to run (by default, the eu-west-1 (Ireland) region).

Note: As AWS EC2 doesn't officially support Windows Desktop (such as Windows 10), Strigo doesn't support it either. You may be able to get Windows 10 working with Strigo, but we may not be able to support you.

Configuring the instance

Launch an AWS instance as a base for the eventual AMI

  1. Launch an AWS EC2 instance on your AWS account, based on any Windows AMI as a starting point (whether from the AWS Marketplace, or an AMI on your account).

  2. For a comprehensive guide on how to launch a Windows instance in AWS, see here.

Connect to the instance

Connect to the instance using an RDP client.

Prepare the instance to your liking

This is where you install all of the software required for training, change all of the settings that are required for the machine to run as you like, and so on.

Once you are ready with this step, move on to make last configuration preparations before the instance can be created as an image.

Note: While this step isn't mandatory, we'e found it solves a lot of machine startup issues as Amzon updates its infrastructure (in particular, old versions of the PV and NVMe drivers tend to break with newer volume types).

The easiest - and recommended - way to keep your AWS drivers is to execute Amazon's update automation on your running instance, but if you prefer a manual or selective update, the above link extensively documents the available options.

Run the AWS settings utility

  • On Windows Server 2016 or later, run the EC2Launch utility. 

  • On Windows Server 2012 or lower, run the EC2Config utility. 

Open the Start menu, type in either "EC2Launch" or "EC2Config" and run the settings utility you find there.

Set the AWS configuration

These are the configurations to set in the settings utility:

  1. Make sure Administrator Password is set to Random.

  2. Make sure User Data is enabled.

  3. Apply the changes, then hit OK.

With EC2Config:

With EC2Launch:

Creating the image

Shut-down the instance

  1. Run the EC2Launch/EC2Config settings utility again, as before.

  2. Hit the Shutdown without Sysprep option.

Note: shutting down without Sysprep is not mandatory, but is recommended by Strigo for most use-cases. Please contact us here to get a better understanding of this.

Create the image

Go back to the EC2 console, and wait for the instance to be stopped.
Once it has stopped, you can use this instance as a base for creating an AMI usable in Strigo. You can use this guide for help.

Use the image in Strigo

Please refer to this article in order to use the image in Strigo.

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