How do I perform an in-place upgrade for my EC2 Windows instance?

3 minute read

I want to upgrade my operating system files while keeping my existing configuration and data intact.

Short description

You can perform an in-place OS upgrade for your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Windows instance.
There are two methods for performing an in-place upgrade:

  • Manual in-place upgrade.
  • Automated in-place upgrade using the AWS Systems Manager Service.

To minimize downtime, plan your upgrade before you start the upgrade. It's a best practice to maintain backups of your instances and data. Before you upgrade, consider creating a custom AMI or creating snapshots of your Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes.
Note: An in-place upgrade can be faster, but software incompatibilities might produce errors.


Manual in-place upgrade

1.    Review and understand the upgrade options, requirements, and prerequisites to confirm that you're ready to upgrade your current version of Windows. Make sure that you're running the latest version of AWS drivers on the EC2 Windows instance that you're upgrading.

2.    Based on the network drivers running on your EC2 instance, choose the in-place upgrade steps:

Note: To verify which driver your Windows instance uses, select Control Panel, Network Connections and then view Local Area Connection.
Or, you can check the output from the pnputil -e command to determine the driver type.

3.    Perform the required post upgrade tasks.
During the Windows in-place upgrade process, Windows Server Setup copies and processes files. Several minutes after you start the in-place upgrade setup, your Remote Desktop session closes. The length of time to upgrade depends on the number of applications and server roles running on your Windows Server instance. Instance status check 1 of 2 fails until the upgrade process completes.

If you have problems upgrading, or the instance continues to fail status checks several hours after initiating the upgrade process, see Troubleshoot an upgrade. For more information, see How to manually upgrade Microsoft Windows Server 2012 on AWS.

Automated in-place upgrade

Automated in-place upgrading using AWS Systems Manager Automation documents is available for the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 3.

For more information, see Perform an automated upgrade and How to automate your Microsoft Windows Server upgrades using AWS Systems Manager.

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