I've come across plenty of how-to's for this that deal with Linux (and back in 2010 when not all tools were available on the EC2 web interface) but none that deal with Windows (that work). I've tried Converting EC2 instance from instance-store root device to EBS root device but was unsuccessful - the machine doesn't power on.

Has anyone been able to successfully convert an Instance backed Windows AMI to EBS backed successfully using the web console? Or do you still need to utilize the EC2 CLI tools?


1 Answer 1


Found an answer that works.

  1. Launch an instance of the S3-backed Windows AMI that you want to migrate

  2. Log into the instance and download dd.exe (http://www.chrysocome.net/dd)

  3. Create a 10GB (or size of root) EBS volume in the same AZ as the running instance and attach it to the running instance -- You don’t need to mount it or format it. It will show up in the Disk Manager and the dd tool will see the raw device

  4. Run a dd copy from the root disk to the mount EBS volume. This is done on the running S3-backed instance. This command worked in our tests: dd if=\\?\Device\Harddisk0\Partition0 of=\\?\Device\Harddisk2\Partition0 bs=1M --size --progress (dd --list will show possible device names, yours may vary)

  5. Once dd completes, detach the EBS volume from the S3-backed instance and note its volume id

  6. Launch an EBS-backed Basic Windows instance of the same bit size (32 or 64 bit) as your S3-backed AMI and in the same AZ. There are some EBS-backed Windows 2003 images available. Note that there is no reason to wait for a Windows password, because it will be the same one as the image you just cloned. You did change it from whatever was assigned at startup, right?

  7. Stop the EBS-backed Windows instance

  8. Detach the EBS root volume from the EBS-backed Windows instance

  9. Attach the EBS volume that was cloned from the S3-backed root volume using DD. This needs to be attached as /dev/sda1 - you must type this manually, AWS will auto assign this as xvdf/g/h/etc if left blank

  10. Start the EBS-backed Windows instance

  11. Connect to the EBS-backed Windows instance and confirm that it works (make sure to note new IP)

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