Brandon shows you how to
use the Diagnose & Rescue feature
of EC2Rescue


I am unable to connect to my Amazon EC2 Windows instance, I am experiencing boot issues, or I need to perform a restore, fix common issues such as a disk signature collision, or gather operating system (OS) logs for analysis and troubleshooting. How can I use EC2Rescue to resolve these issues?

EC2Rescue for EC2 Windows is a convenient, straightforward, GUI-based troubleshooting tool that can be run on your Amazon EC2 Windows Server instances to troubleshoot operating system-level issues and collect advanced logs and configuration files for further analysis. EC2Rescue simplifies and expedites the troubleshooting of EC2 Windows instances.

The following are a few common issues that are addressed by EC2Rescue:

  • Instance connectivity issues due to:
    • Firewall configuration
    • RDP service configuration
    • Network interface configuration
  • Operating system (OS) boot issues due to:
    • Blue screen or stop error
    • Boot loop
    • Corrupted registry
  • Any issues that might require advanced log analysis and troubleshooting

Note: To determine the state of your EC2 Windows instance, you can take a screenshot. For more information, see How to Take a Screenshot of an Unreachable Instance.

System Requirements

EC2Rescue requires an EC2 Windows instance that meets the following specifications:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
  • NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or later installed
  • Is accessible from a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection

Note: EC2Rescue can only be run on Windows Server 2008 R2 or later, but it can also analyze the offline volumes of Windows Server 2008 or later.

Download EC2Rescue at

Here are a few examples of how to use EC2Rescue to troubleshoot certain EC2 Windows Server issues:

  • Instance connectivity issues can be resolved by using the Diagnose and Rescue feature in Offline Instance Mode.
  • Operating system (OS) boot issues can be resolved by using the Restore feature in Offline Instance Mode.
  • Advanced logs and troubleshooting files can be automatically captured by using the Capture Logs feature in either Current Instance Mode or Offline Instance Mode.

Current Instance Mode

This mode analyzes the instance on which EC2Rescue is currently running. It is read-only and does not modify the current instance, and therefore it does not directly fix any issues. Use this mode to gather system information and logs for analysis or for submission to system administrators or AWS Support.

Current Instance Mode Features

  • System Information: Pertinent system information about the current system is displayed in a text box for easy copying.
  • Capture Logs: This feature allows you to select from a list of relevant troubleshooting logs and then automatically gather and package those logs into a zipped folder under the name and location you specify.

Note: Windows Update logs are not captured on Windows Server 2016 instances.


Offline Instance Mode

This mode allows you to select the volume of the offline system. EC2Rescue analyzes the volume and presents a number of automated rescue and restore options. Also included is the same log collection feature as the Current Instance Mode.

Note: Offline instance refers to a stopped instance whose root volume has been detached and then attached to another instance as a secondary volume for troubleshooting with EC2Rescue.

Offline Instance Mode features

  • System Information: Pertinent system information about the offline system being analyzed is displayed in a text box for easy copying.
  • Select Disk: Allows you to select the desired volume in cases where multiple offline root volumes are connected. Facilitates the timely troubleshooting of multiple offline instances.
    Note: If the selected disk is not already online, this feature automatically brings it online for you.
  • Diagnose and Rescue: The Diagnose and Rescue option automatically detects and provides options to automatically fix many common configuration issues that can prevent RDP connections or cause instance status checks to fail. The following items are inspected for possible configuration issues:
    • System time settings
    • Windows Firewall settings
    • Remote Desktop settings
    • EC2Config version and settings
      Note: This feature does not apply to Windows Server 2016.
    • Network interface settings
  • Restore: The Restore option sets the offline instance to boot to Last Known Good Configuration or restore a damaged registry hive from backup (RegBack). This option is useful in situations where an improperly configured or corrupted registry is suspected. These issues manifest as various problems in Windows, and might result in a blue screen or system hang.
  • The following are supported restore options:
    • Last Known Good Configuration
    • Restore Registry from Backup (RegBack)
  • Capture Logs: EC2Rescue allows you to select from a list of relevant troubleshooting logs, then automatically gathers and packages those logs from the offline system into a zipped folder under the name and location you specify on the current system.
    Note: Windows Update logs are not captured on Windows Server 2016 instances.

For additional information, see Using EC2Rescue.

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Published: 2017-01-07

Updated: 2017-04-10