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I've been asked to edit the html of a splash screen on a static temporary site for a client (its super simple). I have full access to the AWS portal where the instance is hosted but appear to be unable to access the instance as I do not have the .pem.

It is presently not possible to contact the former dev of the site.

Is there anything I can do to gain access to the VM so that I might inspect the contents and work out what I need to change?

I did try to create an AMI from that instance but when I request the password its now telling me:

Instances launched from a custom AMI will inherit the User and Password of the AMI's parent instance

Is there anything I can do outside of completely recreating the site????

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You can mount the EBS to a new instance with a new .pem and change the authorized keys, then re-mount it to the old instance. –  ceejayoz Oct 24 '12 at 14:14
Create a snapshot of the EBS volume attached to the instance, and create a new EBS volume from that. Launch a new instance, and attach the newly created EBS volume to the new instance. 1) If you just want a copy of the files, then simply copy them from the newly attached EBS volume. 2) If you want to keep the existing server configuration: Find the username (e.g. from etc/passwd and etc/sudoers); Generate a new SSH and set it up. Detach your EBS volume, and attach it as the root volume to another instance - login with the SSH key you generated. –  cyberx86 Oct 24 '12 at 14:15

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