Compute Engine: Qwik Start - Windows

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Compute Engine: Qwik Start - Windows

40 minutes 1 Credit


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Compute Engine lets you create and run virtual machines on Google infrastructure. Compute Engine offers scale, performance, and value that allows you to easily launch large compute clusters on Google's infrastructure.

You can run your Windows applications on Compute Engine and take advantage of many benefits available to virtual machine instances, such as reliable storage options, the speed of the Google network, and Autoscaling.

In this hands-on lab, you learn how to launch a Windows Server instance in Compute Engine and use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to it.

Setup and requirements

Before you click the Start Lab button

Read these instructions. Labs are timed and you cannot pause them. The timer, which starts when you click Start Lab, shows how long Google Cloud resources will be made available to you.

This hands-on lab lets you do the lab activities yourself in a real cloud environment, not in a simulation or demo environment. It does so by giving you new, temporary credentials that you use to sign in and access Google Cloud for the duration of the lab.

What you need

To complete this lab, you need:

  • Access to a standard internet browser (Chrome browser recommended).
  • Time to complete the lab.

Note: If you already have your own personal Google Cloud account or project, do not use it for this lab.

Note: If you are using a Chrome OS device, open an Incognito window to run this lab.

How to start your lab and sign in to the Google Cloud Console

  1. Click the Start Lab button. If you need to pay for the lab, a pop-up opens for you to select your payment method. On the left is a panel populated with the temporary credentials that you must use for this lab.

    Open Google Console

  2. Copy the username, and then click Open Google Console. The lab spins up resources, and then opens another tab that shows the Sign in page.

    Sign in

    Tip: Open the tabs in separate windows, side-by-side.

  3. In the Sign in page, paste the username that you copied from the left panel. Then copy and paste the password.

    Important: You must use the credentials from the left panel. Do not use your Google Cloud Training credentials. If you have your own Google Cloud account, do not use it for this lab (avoids incurring charges).

  4. Click through the subsequent pages:

    • Accept the terms and conditions.
    • Do not add recovery options or two-factor authentication (because this is a temporary account).
    • Do not sign up for free trials.

After a few moments, the Cloud Console opens in this tab.

Create a virtual machine instance

  1. In the Cloud Console, on the Navigation menu Navigation menu, click Compute Engine > VM instances, and then click Create Instance.


  1. In the Machine configuration section, for Series select N1.

  2. In the Boot disk section, click Change to begin configuring your boot disk.


  1. Under Operating system select Windows Server and under Version select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, and then click Select. Leave all other settings as their defaults.


  1. Click Create to create the instance.

Test completed task

Click Check my progress to verify your performed task.

Create a virtual machine instance (zone: us-central1-a).

Activate Cloud Shell

Cloud Shell is a virtual machine that is loaded with development tools. It offers a persistent 5GB home directory and runs on the Google Cloud. Cloud Shell provides command-line access to your Google Cloud resources.

In the Cloud Console, in the top right toolbar, click the Activate Cloud Shell button.

Cloud Shell icon

Click Continue.


It takes a few moments to provision and connect to the environment. When you are connected, you are already authenticated, and the project is set to your PROJECT_ID. For example:

Cloud Shell Terminal

gcloud is the command-line tool for Google Cloud. It comes pre-installed on Cloud Shell and supports tab-completion.

You can list the active account name with this command:

gcloud auth list


ACTIVE: * ACCOUNT: To set the active account, run: $ gcloud config set account `ACCOUNT`

You can list the project ID with this command:

gcloud config list project


[core] project = <project_ID>

(Example output)

[core] project = qwiklabs-gcp-44776a13dea667a6

Remote Desktop (RDP) into the Windows Server

Test the status of Windows Startup

After a short time, the Windows Server instance will be provisioned and listed on the VM Instances page with a green status icon Green Status Icon.

However the server instance may not yet be ready to accept RDP connections, as it takes a while for all the OS components to initialize.

To see whether the server instance is ready for an RDP connection, run the following command at your Cloud Shell terminal command line:

gcloud compute instances get-serial-port-output instance-1

If prompted, type n and press Enter.

Repeat the command until you see the following in the command output, which tells you that the OS components have initialized and the Windows Server is ready to accept your RDP connection (attempt in the next step).

------------------------------------------------------------ Instance setup finished. instance-1 is ready to use. ------------------------------------------------------------

RDP into the Windows Server

To set a password for logging into the RDP, run the following command in Cloud Shell terminal and replace [instance] with the VM Instance that you have created and set [username] as admin.

gcloud compute reset-windows-password [instance] --zone us-central1-a --user [username]

If asked Would you like to set or reset the password for [admin] (Y/n)?, enter Y.

There are different ways to connect to your server through RDP, depending on whether you are on Windows or not:

If you are using a Chromebook or other machine at a Google Cloud event there is likely an RDP app already installed on the computer. Click the icon as below, if it is present, in the lower left corner of the screen and enter the external IP of your VM.


If you are not on Windows but using Chrome, you can connect to your server through RDP directly from the browser using the Chrome RDP for Google Cloud Platform extension. Click on RDP.


This will prompt you to install Chrome RDP Extension. Once it is installed, it will open up a login page where you can specify Windows username admin and password from the output of above mentioned command to log in (ignore the Domain: field).


Alternatively, if you are on a Windows machine, you can download the RDP file by selecting it from the RDP menu.


On Windows, you can simply double click on the RDP file and login using the Windows user and password.

If you are on a Macintosh, there are several freely accessible RDP Client packages available to install, such as CoRD. After installing, connect as above to the External IP address of the Windows server. Once it has connected, it will open up a login page where you can specify Windows username admin and password from the output of above mentioned command to log in (ignore the Domain: field).

Once logged in, you should see the Windows desktop!


Copy and pasting with the RDP client

Once you are securely logged in to your instance, you may find yourself copying and pasting commands from the lab manual.

To paste, hold the CTRL-V keys (if you are a Mac user, using CMND-V will not work.) If you are in a Powershell window, be sure that you have clicked in to the window or else the paste shortcut won't work.

If you are pasting into putty, right click.

Test your understanding

The following multiple-choice questions can reinforce your understanding of this lab's concepts.


completion badge

Finish your quest

Continue with the Google Cloud Essentials Quest. A Quest is a series of related labs that form a learning path. Completing this Quest earns you the badge above to recognize your achievement. You can make your badge (or badges) public and link to them in your online resume or social media account. Enroll in a Quest and get immediate completion credit for taking this lab. See other available Qwiklabs Quests.

Next steps/Learn more

This lab is also part of a series of labs called Qwik Starts. These labs are designed to give you a little taste ofsome experience with the many features available with Google Cloud. Search for "Qwik Starts" in the lab catalog to find the next lab you'd like to take!

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Manual Last Updated October 1, 2021
Lab Last Tested October 1, 2021

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