Limitations - VM Import/Export
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China.


  • An imported VM may fail to boot if the root partition is not on the same virtual hard drive as the MBR.

  • A VM import task fails for VMs with more than 21 volumes attached. Additional disks can be individually imported using the ImportSnapshot API.

  • Importing VMs with dual-boot configurations is not supported.

  • VM Import/Export does not support VMs that use Raw Device Mapping (RDM). Only VMDK disk images are supported.

  • Imported Linux VMs must use 64-bit images. Migrating 32-bit Linux images is not supported.

  • Imported Linux VMs should use default kernels for best results. VMs that use custom Linux kernels might not migrate successfully.

  • When preparing Amazon EC2 Linux VMs for import, make sure that there is sufficient disk space available on the root volume for installing drivers and other software. For Microsoft Windows VMs, configure a fixed pagefile size and ensure that there is at least 6 GiB of free space available on the root volume. If Windows is configured to use the "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives", it might create 16 GB pagefile.sys files on the C drive of the instance.

  • Multiple network interfaces are not currently supported. After import, your VM has a single virtual network interface that uses DHCP to assign addresses. Your instance receives a private IP address.

  • A VM migrated into a VPC does not receive a public IP address, regardless of the auto-assign public IP setting for the subnet. Instead, you can allocate an Elastic IP address to your account and associate it with your instance.

  • VM Import/Export assigns only IPv4 addresses to your instances. You can add IPv6 addresses.

  • Disk images must be less than 16 TiB. For disk images that are larger than 8 TiB, you must use a manifest file.

  • If you import a VM that's compatible with UEFI, you can't specify encryption, you can't specify a license configuration, and you can't specify an EBS snapshot unless you also specify a platform. On Linux, you must have a fallback EFI binary, BOOTX64.EFI, located on the EFI System Partition. On Windows, we convert GPT boot volumes to MBR if the following are true: the image format is VHDX, the uncompressed size is 2 TiB or smaller, there are no more than three primary partitions, and the volume is not a dynamic disk.

  • VMs that are created as the result of a P2V conversion are not supported. A P2V conversion occurs when a disk image is created by performing a Linux or Windows installation process on a physical machine and then importing a copy of that Linux or Windows installation to a VM.

  • VM Import/Export does not install the single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) drivers except with imports of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs. These drivers are not required unless you plan to use enhanced networking, which provides higher performance (packets per second), lower latency, and lower jitter. For Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs, SR-IOV drivers are automatically installed as a part of the import process.

  • VM Import/Export does not support VMware SEsparse delta-file format.

  • VM Import/Export does not support Emergency Management Services (EMS). If EMS is enabled for a source Windows VM, we disable it in the imported image.

  • Windows language packs that use UTF-16 (or non-ASCII) characters are not supported for import. We recommend using the English language pack when importing Windows VMs.

  • The base AMI used to launch an instance must exist when you attempt to export the instance. If you have deleted the AMI, the export fails.