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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Windows Instances

Resetting the Windows Administrator Password Using EC2Launch

If you have lost your Windows Administrator password and are using a Windows Server 2016 AMI, you can use the EC2Rescue tool which utilizes the EC2Launch service to generate a new password.

If you are using a Windows Server AMI prior to Windows Server 2016, see Resetting the Windows Administrator Password Using EC2Config.

To reset an Administrator password for an EC2 instance, modify a configuration file on the instance boot volume. However, you can't modify this file if the volume is attached to the instance as a root volume. You must detach the volume and attach it to a temporary instance. After you modify the configuration file on the temporary instance, you reattach it to your original instance as the root volume.

Warning

When you stop an instance, the data on any instance store volumes is erased. Therefore, if you have any data on instance store volumes that you want to keep, be sure to back it up to persistent storage.

Resetting a Windows Administrator password using EC2Rescue

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Instances.

  3. Select the instance that needs a password reset and choose Actions, Instance State, Stop. Wait until the instance state is stopped state before continuing to the next step.

  4. (Optional) If you have the private key that you specified when you launched this instance, continue with the next step. Otherwise, use the following steps to replace the instance with a new instance that you launch with a new key pair.

    1. Create a new key pair using the Amazon EC2 console. To give your new key pair the same name as the one for which you lost private key, you must delete the existing key pair.

    2. Select the instance to replace. Note the instance type, VPC, subnet, security group, and IAM role of the instance.

    3. Choose Actions, Image, Create Image. Type a name and a description for the image and choose Create Image. Choose View pending image.

    4. When the status of the new image is available, select the image and choose Launch.

    5. Complete the wizard, selecting the same instance type, VPC, subnet, security group, and IAM role as the instance to replace. Choose Launch.

    6. When prompted, choose the key pair you created for the new instance, select the acknowledgement checkbox, and choose Launch Instances.

    7. If the original instance has an associated Elastic IP address, transfer it to the new instance. If the original instance has EBS volumes in addition to the root volume, transfer them to the new instance.

    8. Terminate the stopped instance, as it is no longer needed. For the remainder of this procedure, all references to the original instance apply to this instance that you just created.

  5. In the navigation pane, choose Instances and launch a temporary Windows instance in the same Availability Zone as the original instance. The instances must be in the same Availability Zone or else you can't attach the root volume of one instance to the other. You must also select an AMI for a different version of Windows in order to avoid disk signature collisions. For example, if the original instance runs Windows Server 2012 R2, launch the temporary instance using the base AMI for Windows Server 2008 R2.

  6. From the temporary instance, download the EC2Rescue for Windows Server tool and extract the files.

  7. Detach the root volume from the original instance as follows:

    1. On the Description pane of the original instance, note the ID of the EBS volume listed as the Root device.

    2. In the navigation pane, choose Volumes.

    3. In the list of volumes, select the volume, and then choose Actions, Detach Volume. After the volume's status changes to available, continue with the next step.

  8. Attach the volume to the temporary instance as a secondary volume as follows:

    1. Choose Actions, Attach Volume.

    2. In the Attach Volume dialog box, start typing the name or ID of your temporary instance for Instances, and then select the instance from the list.

    3. For Device, type xvdf (if it isn't already there), and then choose Attach.

  9. Connect to the temporary instance and use the EC2Rescue for Windows Server tool on the instance to reset the Administrator password as follows:

    1. On the EC2Rescue for Windows Server tool, choose Offline instance.

    2. Select the disk of the newly mounted volume and choose Next.

    3. Confirm the disk selection and choose Yes.

    4. Choose Diagnose and Rescue.

    5. On the Summary dialog box, review the information and choose Next.

    6. On the Detected possible issues dialog box, select Reset Administrator Password and choose Next.

    7. Choose Rescue, confirm the selection, and then choose Next.

    8. Choose Finish to complete the process.

  10. Detach the root volume from the temporary instance using the Amazon EC2 console as follows:

    1. On the Description pane of the original instance, note the ID of the EB volume listed as the Root device.

    2. In the navigation pane, choose Volumes.

    3. Select the volume and choose Actions, Detach Volume. After the volume's status changes to available, continue with the next step.

  11. Reattach the volume to the original instance as follows:

    1. Select the volume and choose Actions, Attach Volume.

    2. In the Attach Volume dialog box, start typing the name or ID of your original instance for Instances and then select the instance.

    3. For Device, type /dev/sda1.

    4. Choose Attach. Wait until the state of the volume is in-use before continuing to the next step.

  12. In the navigation pane, choose Instances. Select the original instance and choose Actions, Instance State, Start. When prompted for confirmation, choose Yes, Start. Wait until the state of your instance is running before continuing to the next step.

  13. Retrieve your new Windows Administrator password using the private key for the new key pair and connect to the instance. For more information, see Connecting to Your Windows Instance.