Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Windows Instances

Creating an Amazon EBS Volume

You can create an Amazon EBS volume that you can then attach to any EC2 instance within the same Availability Zone. You can choose to create an encrypted EBS volume, but encrypted volumes can only be attached to selected instance types. For more information, see Supported Instance Types. You can use IAM policies to enforce encryption on new volumes. For more information, see the example IAM policies in 4. Working with Volumes and 5: Launching Instances (RunInstances).

You can also create and attach EBS volumes when you launch instances by specifying a block device mapping. For more information, see Launching an Instance and Block Device Mapping. You can restore volumes from previously created snapshots. For more information, see Restoring an Amazon EBS Volume from a Snapshot.

You can apply tags to EBS volumes at the time of creation. With tagging you can simplify tracking of your Amazon EC2 resource inventory. Tagging on creation can be combined with an IAM policy to enforce tagging on new volumes. For more information, see Tagging Your Resources.

If you are creating a volume for a high-performance storage scenario, you should make sure to use a Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volume and attach it to an instance with enough bandwidth to support your application, such as an EBS-optimized instance or an instance with 10 Gigabit network connectivity. The same advice holds for Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) and Cold HDD (sc1) volumes. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Instance Configuration.

New EBS volumes receive their maximum performance the moment that they are available and do not require initialization (formerly known as pre-warming). However, storage blocks on volumes that were restored from snapshots must be initialized (pulled down from Amazon S3 and written to the volume) before you can access the block. This preliminary action takes time and can cause a significant increase in the latency of an I/O operation the first time each block is accessed. For most applications, amortizing this cost over the lifetime of the volume is acceptable. Performance is restored after the data is accessed once. For more information, see Initializing Amazon EBS Volumes.

To create an EBS volume using the console

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. From the navigation bar, select the region in which you would like to create your volume. This choice is important because some Amazon EC2 resources can be shared between regions, while others can't. For more information, see Resource Locations.

            Launch instance start
  3. In the navigation pane, under ELASTIC BLOCK STORE, choose Volumes.

  4. Above the upper pane, choose Create Volume.

  5. In the Create Volume dialog box, for Volume Type, choose General Purpose SSD (GP2), Provisioned IOPS SSD (IO1), Throughput Optimized HDD (ST1), Cold HDD (SC1), or Magnetic. For more information, see Amazon EBS Volume Types.


    Some AWS accounts created before 2012 might have access to Availability Zones in us-west-1 or ap-northeast-1 that do not support Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes. If you are unable to create an io1 volume (or launch an instance with an io1 volume in its block device mapping) in one of these regions, try a different Availability Zone in the region. You can verify that an Availability Zone supports io1 volumes by creating a 4 GiB io1 volume in that zone.

  6. For Size, enter the size of the volume, in GiB.


    The following Amazon EBS volume considerations apply to Windows boot volumes:

    • Windows 2003 instances do not boot if the boot volume is 2 TiB (2048 GiB) or greater.

    • Windows boot volumes must use an MBR partition table, which limits the usable space to 2 TiB, regardless of volume size.

    • Windows boot volumes of 2 TiB (2048 GiB) that have been converted to use a dynamic MBR partition table display an error when examined with Disk Manager.

    The following Amazon EBS volume considerations apply to Windows data (non-boot) volumes:
    • Windows volumes 2 TiB (2048 GiB) or greater must use a GPT partition table to access the entire volume.

    • Amazon EBS volumes over 2048 GiB that are attached to Windows instances at launch are automatically formatted with a GPT partition table.

    • Amazon EBS volumes attached to Windows instances after launch must be manually initialized with a GPT partition table. For more information, see Making an Amazon EBS Volume Available for Use.

  7. For io1 volumes, in the IOPS field, enter the maximum number of input/output operations per second (IOPS) that the volume should support.

  8. For Availability Zone, select the Availability Zone in which to create the volume.

  9. (Optional) To create an encrypted volume, select the Encrypted box and choose the master key you want to use when encrypting the volume. You can choose the default master key for your account, or you can choose any customer master key (CMK) that you have previously created using the AWS Key Management Service. Available keys are visible in the Master Key menu, or you can paste the full ARN of any key that you have access to. For more information, see the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.


    Encrypted volumes can only be attached to selected instance types. For more information, see Supported Instance Types.

  10. Choose Yes, Create.

To create an EBS volume using the command line

You can use one of the following commands. For more information about these command line interfaces, see Accessing Amazon EC2.