Compute Engine: Qwik Start - Windows

Join Sign in

Compute Engine: Qwik Start - Windows

40 minutes 1 Credit


Google Cloud self-paced labs logo


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.

To complete this lab, you need:

  • Access to a standard internet browser (Chrome browser recommended).
Note: Use an Incognito or private browser window to run this lab. This prevents any conflicts between your personal account and the Student account, which may cause extra charges incurred to your personal account.
  • Time to complete the lab---remember, once you start, you cannot pause a lab.
Note: If you already have your own personal Google Cloud account or project, do not use it for this lab to avoid extra charges to your account.

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 the Lab Details panel with the following:

    • The Open Google Console button
    • Time remaining
    • The temporary credentials that you must use for this lab
    • Other information, if needed, to step through this lab
  2. Click Open Google Console. The lab spins up resources, and then opens another tab that shows the Sign in page.

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

    Note: If you see the Choose an account dialog, click Use Another Account.
  3. If necessary, copy the Username from the Lab Details panel and paste it into the Sign in dialog. Click Next.

  4. Copy the Password from the Lab Details panel and paste it into the Welcome dialog. Click Next.

    Important: You must use the credentials from the left panel. Do not use your Google Cloud Skills Boost credentials. Note: Using your own Google Cloud account for this lab may incur extra charges.
  5. 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.

Note: You can view the menu with a list of Google Cloud Products and Services by clicking the Navigation menu at the top-left. Navigation menu icon

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.

  1. Click Activate Cloud Shell Activate Cloud Shell icon at the top of the Google Cloud console.

When you are connected, you are already authenticated, and the project is set to your PROJECT_ID. The output contains a line that declares the PROJECT_ID for this session:

Your Cloud Platform project in this session is set to YOUR_PROJECT_ID

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

  1. (Optional) You can list the active account name with this command:

gcloud auth list
  1. Click Authorize.

  2. Your output should now look like this:


ACTIVE: * ACCOUNT: To set the active account, run: $ gcloud config set account `ACCOUNT`
  1. (Optional) You can list the project ID with this command:

gcloud config list project


[core] project = <project_ID>

Example output:

[core] project = qwiklabs-gcp-44776a13dea667a6 Note: For full documentation of gcloud, in Google Cloud, refer to the gcloud CLI overview guide.

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.

  2. Select:

  • region: "">

  • zone: ""> .

  1. In the Machine configuration section, for Series select E2.

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

  3. 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.

Configuration window

  1. Click Create to create the instance.

Test completed task

Click Check my progress to verify your performed task.

Create a virtual machine instance.

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 iconGreen Status Icon.

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

  1. 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
  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.

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

RDP into the Windows Server

  1. To set a password for logging into the RDP, run the following command in Cloud Shell. Be sure you replace [instance] with the VM Instance that you created, [zone] that you defined earlier and set [username] as admin.

gcloud compute reset-windows-password [instance] --zone [zone] --user [username]
  1. If asked Would you like to set or reset the password for [admin] (Y/n)?, enter Y. Record the password for use in later steps to connect.

  2. Connect to your server. 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.

    RDP Chromebook icon

    • If you are not on Windows but using Chrome, you can connect to your server through RDP directly from the browser using the Spark View extension. Click on Add to Chrome. Then, click Launch app.
  3. Once launched, the Spark View (RDP) window opens. Use your Windows username admin and password you previously recorded in Step 2.

  4. Add your VM instance's External IP as your Domain. Click Connect to confirm you want to connect.

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 paste with the RDP client

Once you are securely logged into 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 into 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.


Finish your quest

This self-paced lab is part of the Google Cloud Essentials quest. A quest is a series of related labs that form a learning path. Completing this quest earns you a badge 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 this quest or any quest that contains this lab and get immediate completion credit. See the Google Cloud Skills Boost catalog to see all available 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 Google Cloud Skills Boost catalog to find the next lab you'd like to take!

Google Cloud training and certification

...helps you make the most of Google Cloud technologies. Our classes include technical skills and best practices to help you get up to speed quickly and continue your learning journey. We offer fundamental to advanced level training, with on-demand, live, and virtual options to suit your busy schedule. Certifications help you validate and prove your skill and expertise in Google Cloud technologies.

Manual Last Updated November 21, 2022

Lab Last Tested November 21, 2022

Copyright 2023 Google LLC All rights reserved. Google and the Google logo are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.