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How to Run Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 in AWS and Google Cloud for Client Testing

Many ISVs need to run Windows client operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 for client testing. Most ISVs run these operating systems on internal VMware labs in their data center. However, as these ISVs want to expand their testing matrix (multiple operating systems, service packs, configurations etc.), they need more and more capacity. Ideally, they would like to use the public cloud for client testing and only pay for usage instead of incurring large capital expenses to expand their labs. However, other than AWS workspaces, which supports Windows 7 through their VDI program, there is no good solution to run the gamut of Windows operating systems in AWS or Google cloud.

Our webinar showed how to set up your client testing lab in the cloud, enabled for Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8.


With Ravello’s high performance nested virtualization solution, enterprises can run all 32-bit and 64-bit Windows client operating systems in AWS or Google cloud. ISVs can simply upload the Windows ISO and boot a virtual machine with that operating system. Alternatively, ISVs can also upload a VMware Windows client VM and run that in AWS or Google cloud without making any changes at all.

Here is a step by step guide on how to install Windows XP and Window 8 from an ISO on AWS. It also outlines how to upload a Windows 7 VMware VM and run that on AWS (although one can install this from an ISO as well) – and build a client test farm in AWS.

Step 1: Upload the Windows XP and Windows 8 ISO to Ravello

Ravello Disk Images

Log into Ravello, select the disk images tab and click on import. It will open a new page in your browser and connect you to the Ravello VM import tool (note – you have to install this on your local machine).

Ravello VM Import Tool

Select upload a single disk image and click on “next”.

Windows Images Iimport Tool

Now browse to your local machine (or network) and select the windows XP ISO and click upload. Do the same for the Windows 8 ISO. Also, you can repeat the above steps and upload an OVF file as well which represents a ready made Windows 7 VMware VM. Then the main upload page will show a list of all ISOs and VMware VMs that are being uploaded.

Windows Images VM Import Tool

The main Ravello UI also shows 2 “in progress” uploads in the disk image library (Windows XP and Windows 8) and one in the VM library (Windows 7).

Windows Images  in Ravello

Windows Images  in Ravello

Step 2: Define the “application” in Ravello

Select new application, give it a name “Windows client farm” and click OK.

Ravello New Application

This opens up a canvas or workspace. Search for an “empty” VM in the library. Drag and drop that onto the canvas. Rename the VM to “Windows XP SP3”.

Windows XP SP3

Then double click on the VM, edit the CPU and memory (we recommend 2 vCPU and 4 GB RAM for Windows clients).

VM Editor

Then highlight the “disks” tab, select CD-ROM and browse to the Windows XP ISO.

VM Editor Disks

If you want to access this VM over RDP, click on services and define a “supplied service”. Give it a name “RDP” and port 3389 and mark it as “external” since you want to access it from the outside.

VM Editor Services

Step 3: Publish your application (VMs) to AWS

After that, click on “save” and then “publish”. The publish dialog opens and you can select cost optimized or performance optimized mode. Select the cloud (AWS or Google), and the region, and click publish.

Publish Application

The VM will be deployed on AWS and will boot from the ISO selected. You can also do exactly the same steps and boot the Windows 8 VM from the ISO as well.

Windows Application Canvas

You can also drag and drop the Windows 7 VMware VM that was uploaded onto the same canvas/workspace and click publish/update.

Step 4: Console into the different Windows VMs

A few minutes after you click publish, the console button on the bottom right part of the Ravello management screen will be clickable and will open a VNC window to your VM running in AWS.

Windows 8 Login on AWS
Windows 8 Installation on AWS
Windows 7 on AWS
Windows XP on AWS

Windows 8 on AWS

Step 5: RDP into the Windows client VMs

In addition to the VNC console, users can also RDP into the VMs (as long as the RDP service is enabled on the VM as well as defined as a supplied service on port 3389 in Ravello – see step 2 for more details).

The public DNS name and IP address of the VM is in the blue box on the bottom right of the application canvas. Users can copy and paste the DNS name into their RDP client of choice and start a session.

Windows Application on AWS

Conclusion and next steps:

We demonstrated how you can use Ravello to run Windows client operating systems in AWS for development and testing. There are 2 ways in which you can set it up. 1. install from an ISO (we did that for Windows 8 and Windows XP in this example) or 2. upload a ready made VMware VM from your data center (we did that for Windows 7 in this example). You can start your free trial or drop us a line if you have any questions.

It is important to note that by default, the VMs will use the e1000 network driver and IDE disk driver. The performance with these drivers is good, but can be improved further by using paravirtualized drivers (VMXNet3 for the network and LSI Logic SAS or PVSCSI). In addition the installation of VMware tools will also improve console mouse performance. In the next blog post, we will show you how to update drivers and install VMware tools.

After all the drivers and tools have been updated, users can also save the VMs back into the library after installation, and then drag and drop as many clients as needed onto the same application canvas to build a large scale client testing lab environment.

This is a technology blog. If you want to use Ravello to run Windows, you must comply with Microsoft’s licensing policies and requirements. Please consult with your Microsoft representative.

About Ravello Systems

Ravello is the industry’s leading nested virtualization and software-defined networking SaaS. It enables enterprises to create cloud-based development, test, UAT, integration and staging environments by automatically cloning their VMware-based applications in AWS. Ravello is built by the same team that developed the KVM hypervisor in Linux.

Check our product demo video

How to Run Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 in AWS and Google Cloud for Client Testing