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VM Import/Export
User Guide

Troubleshooting VM Import/Export

When importing or exporting a virtual machine (VM), most errors occur because of an attempt to do something that isn't supported. To avoid these errors, be sure to check the requirements and limitations carefully.

ImportImage Errors

AWS Error Code: InvalidParameter, AWS Error Message: Message: Parameter disk-image-size=0 has an invalid format

The specified image format is not supported. Retry the operation using one of the following supported image formats: VHD, VMDK, or raw.

A client error (MalformedPolicyDocument) occurred when calling the CreateRole operation: Syntax errors in policy

You must include the file:// prefix before the policy document name.

The service role <vmimport> does not exist or does not have sufficient permissions for the service to continue

The VM import service role is missing or incorrect. You may also receive this error if the IAM user trying to start the import does not have sufficient privileges to Amazon EC2 resources.

ImportInstance Errors

AWS Error Code: InvalidParameter, AWS Error Message: Message: Parameter disk-image-size=0 has an invalid format

The specified image format is not supported. Retry the operation using one of the following supported image formats: OVA, VHD, VMDK, or raw.

Client.Unsupported: No bootable partition found. (Service: AmazonEC2; Status Code: 400; Error Code: Unsupported; Request ID: <RequestID>)

The root volume is GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioned. GPT partitioned volumes are not supported. Convert the root volume to an MBR partition and try again.

ClientError: Footers not identical

You attempted to import a differencing VHD, or there was an error in creating the VHD. Export your VM again and retry importing it into Amazon EC2.

ClientError: Uncompressed data has invalid length

The VMDK file is corrupted. You can try repairing or recreating the VMDK file, or use a different file.

ERROR: Bucket <MyBucketName> is not in the <RegionName> region, it's in <RegionName>

The Amazon S3 bucket is not in the same region as the instance you want to import. Try adding the --ignore-region-affinity option, which ignores whether the bucket's region matches the region where the import task is created. You can also create an Amazon S3 bucket using the Amazon Simple Storage Service console and set the region to the region where you want to import the VM. Run the command again and specify the new bucket you just created.

ERROR: File uses unsupported compression algorithm 0

The VMDK was created using OVA format instead of OVF format. Create the VMDK in OVF format.

Invalid S3 source location

The command syntax or Amazon S3 bucket name is incorrect. Create an Amazon S3 bucket in the appropriate region solely for VM Import and upload the VM files to the root of the bucket.

The given S3 bucket is not local to the region

The Amazon S3 Bucket used for VM Import must reside in the same AWS region where you want to import the VM.

VM Export Errors

Client.UnsupportedOperation: This instance has multiple volumes attached. Please remove additional volumes.

Detach volumes other than the root volume and try again. If you need the data from the volumes, you can copy it to the root volume or import the volumes to Amazon EBS.

Client.NotExportable: Only imported instances can be exported. (Service: AmazonEC2; Status Code: 400; Error Code: NotExportable; Request ID: <RequestID>)

VM Export is supported only with instances that you previously imported to Amazon EC2 using VM Import.

Error starting instances: Invalid value <instance ID> for instanceId. Instance does not have a volume attached at root (/dev/sda1).

You attempted to start the instance before the VM import process and all conversion tasks were complete. Wait for the VM import process and all conversion tasks to completely finish, and then start the instance.

Windows VM Errors

ClientError: Booter Networking failure/instance not reachable. Please retry after installation of .Net framework 3.5 SP1 or greater.

The EC2 Config Service requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 or later. Install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 or later on your Windows VM and try again.

FirstBootFailure: This import request failed because the Windows instance failed to boot and establish network connectivity.

When you import a VM using the ec2-import-instance command, the import task might stop before its completed, and then fail. To investigate what went wrong, you can use the ec2-describe-conversion-tasks command to describe the instance.

When you receive the FirstBootFailure error message, it means that your virtual disk image was unable to perform one of the following steps:

  • Boot up and start Windows.

  • Install Amazon EC2 networking and disk drivers.

  • Use a DHCP-configured network interface to retrieve an IP address.

  • Activate Windows using the Amazon EC2 Windows volume license.

The following best practices can help you to avoid Windows first boot failures:

  • Disable anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls — These types of software can prevent installing new Windows services or drivers or prevent unknown binaries from running. Software and firewalls can be re-enabled after importing.

  • Do not harden your operating system — Security configurations, sometimes called hardening, can prevent unattended installation of Amazon EC2 drivers. There are numerous Windows configuration settings that can prevent import. These settings can be reapplied once imported.

  • Disable or delete multiple bootable partitions — If your virtual machine boots and requires you to choose which boot partition to use, the import may fail.

This inability of the virtual disk image to boot up and establish network connectivity could be due to any of the following causes:

TCP/IP networking and DHCP are not enabled

Cause: TCP/IP networking and DHCP must be enabled.

Resolution: Ensure that TCP/IP networking is enabled. For more information, see Setting up TCP/IP (Windows Server 2003) or Configuring TCP/IP (Windows Server 2008) at the Microsoft TechNet website. Ensure that DHCP is enabled. For more information, see What is DHCP at the Microsoft TechNet web site.

A volume that Windows requires is missing from the virtual machine

Cause: Importing a VM into Amazon EC2 only imports the boot disk, all other disks must be detached and Windows must able to boot before importing the virtual machine. For example, Active Directory often stores the Active Directory database on the D:\ drive. A domain controller cannot boot if the Active Directory database is missing or inaccessible.

Resolution: Detach any secondary and network disks attached to the Windows VM before exporting. Move any Active Directory databases from secondary drives or partitions onto the primary Windows partition. For more information, see "Directory Services cannot start" error message when you start your Windows-based or SBS-based domain controller at the Microsoft Support website.

Windows always boots into System Recovery Options

Cause: Windows can boot into System Recovery Options for a variety of reasons, including when Windows is pulled into a virtualized environment from a physical machine, also known as P2V.

Resolution: Ensure that Windows boots to a login prompt before exporting and preparing for import. Do not import virtualized Windows instances that have come from a physical machine.

The virtual machine was created using a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion process

Cause: A P2V conversion occurs when a disk image is created by performing the Windows installation process on a physical machine and then importing a copy of that Windows installation into a VM. VMs that are created as the result of a P2V conversion are not supported by Amazon EC2 VM import. Amazon EC2 VM import only supports Windows images that were natively installed inside the source VM.

Resolution: Install Windows in a virtualized environment and migrate your installed software to that new VM.

Windows activation fails

Cause: During boot, Windows will detect a change of hardware and attempt activation. During the import process we attempt to switch the licensing mechanism in Windows to a volume license provided by Amazon Web Services. However, if the Windows activation process does not succeed, then the import fails.

Resolution: Ensure that the version of Windows that you are importing supports volume licensing. Beta or preview versions of Windows might not.

No bootable partition found

Cause: During the import process of a virtual machine, we could not find the boot partition.

Resolution: Ensure that the disk you are importing has a boot partition.

Linux VM Errors

ClientError: Invalid configuration - Could not read fstab

Linux VMs with multi-boot volumes or multiple /etc directories are not supported.

ClientError: Unsupported configuration: Multiple directories found

Linux VMs with multi-boot volumes or multiple /etc directories are not supported.

Linux is not supported on the requested instance

Linux VMs can be imported to specific instance types. Try again using one of the following supported instance types.

  • General purpose: t2.micro | t2.small | t2.medium | m3.medium | m3.large | m3.xlarge | m3.2xlarge

  • Compute optimized: c3.large | c3.xlarge | c3.2xlarge | c3.4xlarge | c3.8xlarge | cc1.4xlarge

  • Memory optimized: r3.large | r3.xlarge | r3.2xlarge | r3.4xlarge | r3.8xlarge

  • Storage optimized: i2.xlarge | i2.2xlarge | i2.4xlarge | i2.8xlarge