Home » How to build a SharePoint 2010 development machine

How to build a SharePoint 2010 development machine


This tutorial covers how to build a SharePoint 2010 development machine on Windows Server 2008 R2.


For your virtual machine, you’ll need VirtualBox and either an MSDN subscription or licenses for

  • Windows Server 2008 R2,
  • SQL Server 2008,
  • SharePoint Server 2010,
  • Office 2010 Professional Plus,
  • Visio 2010,
  • SharePoint Designer (free), and
  • Visual Studio 2010.

Note: Do not take snapshots during this process if you are using VirtualBox! When I did so (from a Mac OSX 10.6.8 on VirtualBox 4.4.1), VirtualBox threw disk errors every time I started up my VM (described here too). So at different milestones, like completing tedious updates, export the appliance (via “File > Export appliance”) as an ova file instead.


  1. Install Windows Server 2008 R2 with updates
  2. Convert it to a workstation
  3. Install Domain Controller
  4. Add users to Active Directory Users and Computers
  5. Install SQL Server 2008 R2
  6. Install SharePoint Server 2010
  7. Install Cumulative Updates (always install the SharePoint Foundation CUs before the SharePoint Server CUs)
  8. Install Apps (Office 2010 Professional Plus, Visio 2010, SharePoint Designer (free), and Visual Studio 2010)

How-to build your SharePoint 2010 development machine

Install Windows Server 2008 R2 and updates

  1. In VirtualBox, create a virtual disk that is 80gb
  2. Download and install Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise from MSDN
  3. Run all updates
  4. Download to the desktop:
  5. Install Virtual Clone Drive
  6. Use a private IP Address: Start > Ctrl Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Local Area Connection > Properties > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) > Properties (I know, crazy right?). Then just set the IP manually in XP for the Local Area Connection using the following:

    Internet Protocol Version 4
    Use for the IP Address. for the subnet mask. for the DNS server.

Convert Windows Server 2008 R2 to a Workstation:

  1. Click Start and type oobe. In the Initial Configuration Tools window click Provide computer name and domain. Type in a description for “Computer Description.” (SharePoint Development Environment). In the System Properties window that shows up click Change. Fill in the Computer name and Workgroup and click OK twice. Use “sharepoint” for the Computer name and leave “WORKGROUP” as the Wordgroup.
  2. Shutdown
  3. Make sure there is no second adapter and that the first adapter is NAT.
  4. Start
  5. Change your computers registered owner and organization name Click Run in the Start menu. Type regedit and click OK. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion. Double-click and edit RegisteredOwner to change your registered owner. Double-click RegisteredOrganization. Change the registered organization.
  6. Turn off strong passwords:
    Optional: Run > gpedit.msc. In the Local Group Policy Editor, expand Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies and click Password Policy. In the right pane double click Password must meet complexity requirements. Set it to Disabled. Click OK.
  7. Turn off Shutdown event tracker:
    Click Run in the menu Start, then type gpedit.msc and click OK. The Local Group Policy Editor opens. Browse to Administrative Templates in Computer Configuration, click System and double click in the right window on Display Shutdown Event Tracker. Change its value to Disabled and click OK.
  8. Turn off ctrl-alt-del login:
    In the Start menu, expand Administrative Tools and click Local Security Policy. In the Local Security Policy editor expand Local Policies and click Security Options. In the right pane search and open Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose Enabled. Save your change by clicking OK.
  9. Turn on Windows Audio:
    Run > services.msc. The Services management console opens. In the Services window scroll down to Windows Audio and double-click it. Select Automatic as Start-up type. Click Apply. Click Start to start the Windows Audio service.
  10. Turn off Internet Explorer anal retentiveness:
    Start the Server Manager. Click Configure IE ESC. Set both Administrators and Users to Off. Save the changes by clicking OK.
  11. Turn on Desktop Experience and SMTP:
    Server Manager > Features Summary > Add Features. Check Desktop Experience. Also, click SMTP. Click Next. After installation, click Close.
  12. Shut down your computer.
  13. Add a second network adapter (bridged)
  14. Start your computer.

Set it up as a Domain Controller

  1. Start > All Programs > Windows Update
  2. Install additional updates. There are always additional updates.
  3. Promote the machine to a domain controller by running dcpromo. Follow the installation steps according to screenshots below.
    Run dcpromo
    Installation message.
    Welcome to the Active directory domain services installation wizard
    Operating system compatibility

    Choose a deployment configuration
    Choose to create a new domain in a new forest
    Use contoso.com
    Use, “CONTOSO”

    Set forest functional level
    Additional domain controller options
    A delegation for this DNS Server cannot be created because the parent zone cannot be found.
    Location for database, Log files, and sysvol.
    Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password
    Waiting for DNS installation to finish
    Completing the active directory domain services installation wizard
    Restart now

  4. Restart and then run Start > Accessories > Terminal Type in “ipconfig /all”IPconfig /all

Add users to Active Directory Users and Computers

  1. Start > Active Directory Users and Computers. You will want to create accounts for these users. Shown below are steps to add SP_SQL. Rinse and repeat for SP_Farm and SP_Setup.
    • CONTOSOSP_Farm
    • CONTOSOSP_Setup
    Start menu > Active Directory Users and Computers
    Start menu > Active Directory Users and Computers

    Active Directory Users and Computers
    Add a new user
    New Object - User

  2. Set up SP_Setup
    Go to Start > Active Directory Users and Computers and double click on SP_Setup. Click on MembersOf and add “Domain Admins” and any other groups the regular Administrator account belongs to. (Enterprise Admins, Group Policy, Group Policy Creator Owners, Schema Admins). I’m really not sure if all that is necessary.
  3. Shut down
  4. Export a OVA File so you have a backup.

Install SQL Server 2008 R2

  1. Reboot
  2. Log in as ContosoAdministrator
  3. Download SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise from Msdn.microsoft.com.
    Click Installation in the left side of the WizardSQL Server Installation Center
  4. and then click New installation
    SQL Server Installation Center - Installation
  5. wait
  6. Click ok on the Setup Support Rules page, assuming all rules passed.
    Setup Support Rules
  7. wait
    Please wait while sql Server 2008 R2 Setup processes the current operation
  8. Type the appropriate product key and click Next on the Product Key page.
    Product Key
  9. Review and accept the license terms. Microsoft appreciates you clicking to agree to send feature usage data to help improve product features and support. Click Next.
    License Terms
  10. Click Install on the Setup Support Files page.
    Setup Support Files
  11. wait
    Setup Support Files
  12. Review the Setup Support Rules. There will probably be warnings:
    Setup Support Rules
  13. You can skip them if these are the warnings you get:
    Rule Computer Domain Controller generated a warning
    Rule Microsoft .NET Application Security generated a warning
    Rule Windows Firewall generated a warning
  14. Click Next
    Setup Role
  15. Click Database Engine Services, Reporting Services and Management Tools Complete on the Feature Selection page. Click Next to continue.
    Feature Selection
  16. Click Next on the Installation Rules page.
    Installation Rules
  17. Choose “Default instance” and go with the default name.
    Instance configuration
  18. Click Next
    Disk space requirements
  19. Use the SP_SQL account to run the services:
    Server configuration
  20. Click “Collation” and then “customize” set it to Latin1_General_CI_AS_KS_WS
    Server configuration collation
  21. Cover all bases you do not need to put in the SP_SQL user, tempting though it is:
    Database Engine configuration
  22. Choose the middle option:
    Reporting Services Configuration
    Error Reporting
    Installation Configuration Rules
  23. Click “Install”
    Ready to install
  24. Export a OVA File so you have a backup.

Install SharePoint Server 2010

  1. Log in as SP_Setup
  2. Go to Start > Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Users > Administrator > Desktop and copy over the files that are there to the desktop.
  3. Go to Start > Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 > Configuration Tools > Reporting Services Configuration Manager and “Connect to local Server”
    SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services
  4. Click “Web Service URL”
    Web Services URL
  5. Set the TCP port to 8080, as recommended here.
  6. Shutdown
  7. Add a second network adapter (bridged)
  8. Restart
  9. Log in as SP_Setup
  10. Go to Start > SQL Server 2008 R2 > Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
  11. Add SP_Setup to dbcreator and securityadmin server roles
  12. Expand Sharepoint > Security > Server roles and click on “securityadmin”
    SQL Server Management Studio
    Server Role Properties - dbcreator
    Select Logins
    Server Role Properties - dbcreator
    Server Role Properties - securityadmin
    Select Logins
  13. Mount SharePoint disk image
    Mount Sharepoint Disk image
  14. Click “Install software prerequisites”
    SharePoint server 2010
    Welcome to the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products Preparation Tool
    License terms for software products
    Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products Preparation Tool
    Installation Complete
  15. Run Autorun
    Enter your product key
    Read the Microsoft Software License Terms
    Choose a file location
    Installation in progress
  16. Start the Sharepoint Configuration Wizard
    Welcome to SharePoint Products
    Choose yes to restart the services
    Connect to a server farm
    Specify Configuration Database Settings
    Specify farm security settings
    Configure SharePoint Central Administration Web Application
    Completing the sharepoint products configuration wizard
    Configuring SharePoint Products
    Configuration Successful

Install Cumulative Updates

  1. Shutdown, run any updates, restart, shutdown and export an ova file

Download and Install Development Applications

  1. Install SharePoint Designer
  2. Install Office Professional Plus 2010 with SP1
  3. Visio 2010
  4. Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate



  1. David says:

    I have a Mac OS X Lion 8GB, I would like to set this up on there.

    Do you recommend such a path and afterwords, do you think i can take the VHD and use it elsewhere, like on a Hyper-V on Windows 2008R2 machine?

    Will i actually be able to develop on my Mac using this setup and push out to my production environment?


    • smallcity says:

      You sure can! I’m still running on one of my Macs with OS X 10.5 and 2GB ram (I devote 1GB to the VM, and yes it runs slow so I don’t recommend it). I’m not sure about portability of the disk image for use in Hyper-V, but it shouldn’t be a problem. If you can swing for an additional computer with lots of ram (12-16GB), you can set it up as the host with several virtual machines: one for dc, one for SQL, a third for your app server. Throw in a client if you have the ram. Then remote into that computer. Also, I set my Mac up using spaces… VirtualBox in space 2 and Remote Desktop in Space 3. You could also try using your Mac as a host and running three or four virtual machines, but with 8GB it’s pushing it; these instructions will work for you fine and are probably the way to go. Either way, yes, you’ll be able to develop on your virtual machine and upload your solutions to your server. In Virtual Box, you’ll need to go to Settings > Shared Folders and add a folder from your mac host. Then you can mount it as a network drive from inside your VM and copy and save solutions there. Or you can enable a second adapter via Settings > Network (mine is set up with the first using NAT and the second as bridged). You can then access other network drives or remote into your server from inside your VM.

      • Raj says:

        Great article. I’m contemplating buying a mac or pc laptop for development purposes. I’m somewhat familiar with a mac but haven’t used one for a few years and wanted to use some mac specific software. Any pro’s and cons?
        Also, you mention earlier in the Q&A :
        If you can swing for an additional computer with lots of ram (12-16GB), you can set it up as the host with several virtual machines: one for dc, one for SQL, a third for your app server. Throw in a client if you have the ram. Then remote into that computer.
        Are you suggesting setting up a dedicated VM on a mac, i.e. so when the computer boots it loads the VM (with several servers) and not the mac OS?
        On my laptop I only have one Network Adapter, will I still be able to follow tutorial, or is it possible to add another adapter?

        • smallcity says:

          this post was written a while ago. I’m a mac fan. so yea, I’d recommend getting a mac. no cons that I can think of. RE “Are you suggesting setting up a dedicated VM on a mac, i.e. so when the computer boots it loads the VM (with several servers) and not the mac OS?” – No, I’m not suggesting that. I’m only suggesting that you can create several VMs and run them all at once performing different roles. Not a bad exercise, but it’s overkill if all you need is a sp2010 dev environment.

  2. im_pax says:

    Why do you recommend to isolate the VM from other networks? i would like to still have an internet connection in the environment. will a second adapter for internet access cause troubles? and when which problems would i run into?

  3. Asaad Chalabi says:

    Thank you for this great tutorial. I’ve installed SP2010 on Macbook pro using parallel desktop 7.0 and it’m working like a charm. I’ve faced some issues but I could manage to solve them all.

    Thank again.

    Asaad Mamoun

  4. Simon Overthrow says:

    I’d had a go at setting up Sharepoint 2010 in a VM without any guidance and unsurprisingly it did not work, but thanks to your guide I am up & running.

    Many thanks for making this guide 🙂


  5. Igor Stavnitser says:

    In section “Set it up as a Domain Controller”
    –Start > All Programs > Windows Update Install additional updates. There are always additional updates.

    Updates can not be installed because VM is not longer connected to the internet since I changed settings in TCP IP

      • Igor Stavnitser says:

        Instruction to enable second adapter appears later in the script.
        Also suggested domain name in dcpromo section is “SHAREPOINT” while later in the guide it is CONTOSOSP_Farm. The 1st reference might be best changed to CONTOSO instea of SHAREPOINT. Also if you named your computer sharepoint, calling Domain Sharepoint will cause error in dcpromo section.

        There is also little instruction about what to do with powershell script downloaded earlier

  6. Len says:


    Great post, just what I have been after, several days searching.

    I want to use Hyper V, as I have Windows 2008 R2.

    At what point do I install software etc onto the Virtual Machine, for example the following is this on the VM
    Use a private IP Address: Start > Ctrl Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Local Area Connection > Properties > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) > Properties (I know, crazy right?). Then just set the IP manually in XP for the Local Area Connection using the following:

    Thanks in advance.


    • smallcity says:

      Ok, so all of the steps outlined in this blog take place inside the VM. You say you want to use Hyper V because you are working from a Windows 2008 R2 computer. That’s fine. I used VirtualBox because I did all of the above steps from a Mac. So no Hyper V for me. To make a long story short, the entirety of this blog, starting with creating a virtual disk and installing windows, takes place inside the VM.

      Please read some of the above comments in advance of doing the work. They point to a couple hiccups in the steps. Nothing show-stopping.

  7. SharePoint Newbie says:

    When installing the Client Developments Programs be aware that you have to choose between 32 bit (x)or 64 bit programs. Running both versions in parallel does not work.

  8. Raj says:

    Hi again

    Sorry if this has been asked already but in this tutorial have you installed AD, SQL and SharePoint in a single VM on the same 2008 Server?
    Why have you ‘Convert Windows Server 2008 R2 to a Workstation’ ?

    • smallcity says:

      Yes, the steps are done, as you say, on 2008 Server. The convert to workstation steps are helpful so you can work and use the vm like it was a workstation, not a server.

  9. armymedic1970 says:

    I know its been a while since you posted this but, Is it possible to set this up and use a second machine (or 2) with Office installed to develop Access Web Apps on sharepoint?

    • Small City says:

      absolutely. you would want to set the dns up differently so that they were all part of the same subdomain. I don’t know off the top of my head the settings, but it is possible. you could even set up one of the machines as the domain controller and, if you have enough ram, run one dc, one sp, and one client computer with office, access, etc.

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