How do I upgrade the PV drivers for my Amazon EC2 Windows instance?

Last updated: 2021-07-23

I want to be sure that I have the latest PV drivers installed for my Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Windows instances. How can I do this?

Short description

Amazon EC2 Windows AMIs contain drivers that permit access to virtualized hardware. These drivers are used by Amazon EC2 to map instance store, Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes, and network interfaces. It's a best practice to install the latest drivers to improve stability and performance of your EC2 Windows instances. For Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, it's a best practice to install the latest version of the AWS PV drivers.

Note: AWS PV drivers are supported only on Windows Server 2008 R2 and later. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 use Citrix PV drivers. Be aware that Windows Server 2008 R2 supports only AWS PV version 8.3.4 and earlier. For more information, see Paravirtual drivers for Windows instances.


Before you begin, make sure you understand the following:

  • When you stop an instance, the data on any instance store volumes is erased. If there is data on instance store volumes that you want to keep, be sure to back it up to persistent storage.
  • The public IP address for your instance is released when it's stopped or terminated, and a stopped instance receives a new public IP address after it is restarted. Be sure that your applications don't depend on the public IP address, because the IP address cannot be recovered. Assigning an Elastic IP address is a best practice, because the IP address remains with the instance when the instance is stopped and then restarted.
  • If the instance is functioning as a domain controller, additional steps are required. For more information, see Upgrade a domain controller (AWS PV upgrade).
  • For instances that support enhanced networking, see Enhanced networking on Windows.
  • For instance types with EBS volumes exposed as NVMe block devices, see AWS NVMe drivers for Windows instances.

For more information, see What happens when you stop an instance.

To upgrade to the latest PV driver:

  1. In the Amazon EC2 console, choose Instances.
  2. Choose the instance that requires the driver upgrade, open the context (right-click) menu, choose Instance state, Stop instance.
  3. After the instance is stopped, create a backup. Open the context (right-click) menu for the instance, choose Image and templates, and then choose Create Image. For more information, see Create a Windows AMI from a running instance.
  4. From the context (right-click) menu for the instance, choose Instance state, and then choose Start instance.
  5. Connect to the instance using Remote Desktop Connection (RDP). For more information, see Connect to your Windows instance.
  6. For the latest PV drivers, go to Upgrade Windows Server instances (AWS PV Upgrade), and then choose Download.
  7. Extract the contents of the folder and then run AWSPVDriverSetup.msi.

After you run the MSI, the instance automatically reboots and then upgrades the driver. The instance might not be available for up to 15 minutes. After the upgrade completes and the instance passes both health checks in the Amazon EC2 console, connect to the instance using Remote Desktop Connection. Then, verify that the new driver is installed. In Device Manager, under Storage Controllers, locate AWS PV Storage Host Adapter. Verify that the driver version is the same as the latest version listed in the Driver Version History table. For more information, see AWS PV driver package history.

You now have the latest PV drivers installed for your EC2 Windows instance.

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