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Tips for Installing SharePoint on a Windows 7 laptop

​One of the things that can come in handy for a SharePoint consultant is to install SharePoint on one’s personal laptop. I speak at many conferences and sometimes do not have the luxury of an internet connection to a virtual server and my laptop only has 6GB of RAM, so a virtual machine running on my laptop would be a *D-O-G*. The other two options I have, then, are installing Windows Server 2008 R2 on my laptop (not happening), or installing SharePoint on my Windows 7 OS.

First you should know that SharePoint is very picky about its underlying OS and some things don’t work as they would normally under a server OS. That said, here are four things you should know about running SharePoint on your Windows 7 laptop.

1. Don’t install PowerShell v3 – If you are anything like me, you drool when you see things like ‘CTP’ or ‘RC’–the opportunity to play with technology before it’s fully baked and have input into the final product is awesome–however, when you need to demo in front of customers or get work done, sometimes you gotta leave that stuff alone (or at least put it somewhere where its harmless). SharePoint is a .NET 3.0 product and can’t deal with .NET 4. PoSh v3 is .NET 4.0 and if you installed it on your Win7 box and then put SharePoint on it, you are in for an ugly existence. None (NONE) of your powershell cmdlets will work. So what do you do? You’ll have to run PowerShell in v2 mode by typing powershell -version 2.0 at the PoSh prompt. This will run the current session in v2 mode and you can do what you need to…mostly. 🙂

2. Install SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) – Unless you install full blown SQL Server on your Windows 7 laptop (why?), you will need to be able to manage a database or two and to do that you will need to install SQL Server Mgmt Studio (SSMSE) so that you can do that. Oh, and another thing–you will be installing SharePoint as a STANDALONE installation, that is why you will get SQL Server Express. You can’t do a FARM installation because what will happen during the PSCONFIG stage as you specify the farm account will be SharePoint giving you the finger of scorn saying that “local accounts are not supported in a farm configuration”. Well…dang…its a Windows 7 laptop and unless your laptop is joined to a domain and you are connected to your network and have logged into the domain…you aren’t going to get very far. You will need to use a local account to get past here which means STANDALONE.

3. Make sure you edit the config.xml file before installing SharePoint — If you simply try to install SharePoint from the DVD onto your Windows 7 laptop you will get the virtual ‘Heisman’ ; telling you that your OS is not supported. To get around that, you need to first extract the files from the OfficeServer14 executable into a directory or copy the directory tree of the DVD to a folder and then navigate to \Files\Setup. There you need to edit the config.xml file. The highlighted section below is what you need to add to the file to make it work.


4. Create a script to start and stop SharePoint services – Like I said before, I only have 6GB RAM on my personal laptop which SharePoint loves to monopolize. When I am done with SharePointing and need to get to other things (like Zune-ing while blogging) I want to put SharePoint to sleep until I’m ready to get back at it. To do this, I *could* type services.msc at the run command and manually go through each of the services and shut them down–OR, I could set them all to MANUAL and then write a simple batch file that starts them when I want and stops them when I want. Here’s a tip: start the SQL services first and then the SharePoint services and the reverse that when you stop them.

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Richard Taylor

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