How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using WinSCP and SFTP

This tutorial will show you how you can transfer files from your local machine running Windows to an AWS EC2 or Lightsail instance using SFTP and the WinSCP client.

Prerequisites

  1. You have created the instance using EC2 using the Amazon Linux AMI or AWS Lightsail
  2. You are using a Windows computer
  3. You have a .ppk private key – see How to Create a PPK file from a PEM file – Windows 10
  4. You have downloaded and installed the free WinSCP SFTP, SCP and FTP client for Windows



Transferring files to the EC2 Instance

Step 1 – Open WinSCP

Step 2 –  Click on Session, New Session or press Ctrl+N

How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP
Use Ctrl+N to connect to a new site

Step 3 – Click on ‘New Site’

Step 4 – Enter the public IP address for your instance in the Host name field

How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP
Enter the Host Name, User Name, then click on ‘Advanced’

Step 5 – Enter the User name – if connecting to a standard EC2 instance using the Amazon Linux AMI the  user name will be  ec2-user, if it is a Bitnami WordPress instance it will be bitnami

Step 6 – Click on Advanced to add the private key file for authentication

Step 7 – Click on Authentication

How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP
How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP

Step 8 – In the Private key file field click to browse for the .ppk private key file for the instance you created from the .pem file provided by AWS and click ‘OK’.

How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP
How to Copy Files to an AWS EC2 Instance Using SFTP

Step 9 – Save the session by clicking on ‘Save’ under the User Name – at this point you can name the session so you don’t have to upload the key next time you want to connect to the instance.

Step 10 – Click on ‘Login’ on the Login dialog, and the program will connect to the instance. You should see the directory tree.

Troubleshooting

If you have any problems, check:

  • The host name is correct
  • The user is correct
  • The private key file (.ppk) is correct for the instance – check the AWS key pair used

 

How to Create a PPK file from a PEM file – Windows 10

If you have a Windows computer and need a private key to get access to an AWS EC2 instance, this article shows you how to create one using the popular PuTTY program.

Prerequisites

  1. Download PuTTY a SSH and Telnet client for Windows
  2. Ensure you have your .pem file which you will have downloaded when you set up your key pair when creating your EC2 instance

Creating the .ppk file

Step 1 – Open PuTTYgen, you will see the PuTTY Key Generator window, click on ‘Load’ to upload the .pem file. Don’t click on ‘Generate’ or change any of the other settings.

How to Create a PPK file from a PEM file – Windows 10
Click on ‘Load’ to upload the .pem file

Step 2 – Select the .pem file from the Windows file explorer and upload and you should get the following message

How to Create a PPK file from a PEM file – Windows 10
Successful import message

 

Step 3 – Save the key by clicking on the ‘Save private key’ button

Step 4 – Name the file and you’re done!

 

How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH

This tutorial shows you how to connect to your AWS EC2 instance from a Windows 10 computer using SSH.

Prerequisites

  1. Download PuTTY a SSH and Telnet client for Windows
  2. Ensure you have your .pem file which you will have downloaded when you set up your key pair when creating your EC2 instance
  3. Create a .ppk file from a .pem file – see How to Create a PPK file from a PEM file – Windows 10
  4. Make a note of your instance’s public IP address

Connecting to the Instance

Step 1 – Open PuTTY, you will see a PuTTY Configuration window.


How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
PuTTY Configuration window

Step 2 – In the Host Name (or IP address) field enter the public IP address of your EC2 instance. Leave the port number at 22.

You can also enter the username to save time using ec2-user@ and then the IP address to save entering the username when logging in.



How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
Enter the username and public IP address of the instance

Step 3 – Click on the ‘+’ sign next to SSH to open the list of options.

How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
Click on ‘+’ next to SSH

Step 4 – Click on ‘Auth’.

How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
Click on ‘Auth’

Step 5 – Click on ‘Browse’ and select the .ppk private key file you created from the .pem file using PuTTYgen.

How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
Upload the .ppk file

Step 6 – Enter a name for the session in the ‘Saved Sessions’ field to save the settings entered above for quicker access next time you want to SSH into the same instance.

How to Connect to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 Instance Using SSH
Click on Session, enter a name and save

Step 7 – Click ‘Open’ and the terminal window should open

How to Change the Name Appearing on the Start-Up Screen in Windows 10

You can change the name appearing on the Windows 10 start-up screen by:

Step 1 – Open the settings app by clicking on the settings ‘cog’ from the start menu

Change Taskbar color - Settings
Click on Settings on the Start Menu

 

Step 2 – Go to accounts by clicking on the accounts link on the Settings home page

Windows 10 Account Settings - Click on 'Accounts'
Click on ‘Accounts’ in Windows 10 Settings home page

 

Step 3 – Click ‘Manage my Microsoft account’ account under your profile picture and log into your Microsoft account

Windows 10 Account Settings - Manage my Microsoft Account
Click on ‘Manage my Microsoft account’

 

Step 4 – Click more actions under profile image

Windows 10 Account Settings - Manage Microsoft Account
Click on ‘More actions’ in your account

 

Step 5 – Click ‘Edit profile’

Windows 10 Account Settings - Manage Microsoft Account - Edit Profile
Click on ‘Edit Profile’

 

Step 6 – Click ‘Edit name’ under your name

Windows 10 Account Settings - Manage Microsoft Account - Edit Name
Click on ‘Edit name’

 

Step 7 – Enter your name and the recaptcha characters and click ‘Save’

Windows 10 Account Settings - Manage Microsoft Account - Enter Details
Enter your details, the recaptcha and click ‘Save’

 

Step 8 – Restart your computer and your name should change (but you may have to logout and back in again pressing ctrl, alt and delete at the same time.

 

How to Change the Taskbar Color in Windows 10

It’s personal, as in personalization.

Windows 10 Settings allows you to change taskbar colors as well as themes, fonts and backgrounds.

Let’s start by changing the Taskbar color:

Step 1 – Click on Settings from the Start menu

Change Taskbar color - Settings
Click on Settings on the Start Menu

Step 2 – Click on Colors under Personalization on the Settings Home page

Settings - Color Tab
Settings – Color Tab

Step 3 – Choose a color from the color pallette

Windows 10 - Taskbar Color, Select a color
Select a color

Step 4 – Check Start, taskbar and action centre after choosing a color and the taskbar will change to the color selected.

Check Start, taskbar and action centre
Check Start, taskbar and action centre

How to Find the Storage Size and Free Space on a Windows 10 PC Hard Drive

You may be interested in whether your PC has enough disk space for a new program or how much storage you have left for files.   In which case you can find the storage capacity and free space of your PC’s hard drive by following the simple steps below:

Step 1 – Power up your PC

Step 2 – Type ‘this pc’ into the search bar and This PC Desktop app should appear, then press the ‘Enter’ key

Windows 10 Search
Windows 10 Search

 

Step 3 – You should now see your Local Disk (C:) with the total capacity and the free space in GB under Devices and drives

C: Drive with capacity and free spaceC: Drive with capacity and free space
C: Drive with capacity and free space

Step 4 – Right click with your mouse and select properties

C: Drive Properties
C: Drive Properties

Step 5 – A window will appear with the general tab open showing the used space, free space and capacity of the drive

Local Disk Properties
Local Disk Properties

If you are running low on space, you can click on the ‘Disk Clean-up’ button to remove temporary and unwanted files (files sent to the recycle bin) and therefore free up space.  Alternatively, an external USB drive can be easily connected to the PC via a USB port to give extra capacity.  An external hard drive is also useful for backing up your main drive.

How To Find Your Computer’s RAM – Windows 10 PC

Slow performance and programs ‘hanging’ are signs that your PC’s memory isn’t sufficient: More programs running at the same time means more memory usage.

In addition, when installing new software there are often minimum memory requirements. Check the software’s packaging for details.

Here’s how you check your computer’s available RAM on a Windows 10 PC:

Step 1 – Power up your PC

Step 2 – Type ‘system information’ into the search bar

Type ‘system information’ into the search bar

Step 3 –  Scroll down to installed Physical Memory (RAM)

System Information - Windows 10
Installed RAM – 8GB in this example

In this example, the PC has 8 GB of ‘Installed Physical Memory (RAM)’.  Check the PC’s instruction manual or search for your PC on the manufacturer’s website to find out whether you are able to install more RAM to increase your PC’s memory and the type of RAM required e.g. 240 pin DIMM DDR3.

Just under the total installed physical memory is the ‘Available Physical Memory’.  In the above example, 3.5 GB is available.  This tells you that the programs currently running on the PC are using 4.5 GB.

Increasing the RAM often improves performance especially when more than one program is running at the same time.  Extra memory is also relatively inexpensive and is easy to install.  You will need to open the PC’s case to get to the motherboard but your PC’s user guide should walk you through the installation of additional RAM.

Amazon and eBay have a large number of RAM upgrade kit sellers at competitive prices.