Step by Step Installation Guide – Creating the SharePoint 2013 Preview Virtual Machine on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

While all Tom, Dick and Harry are deploying SP2013 on their personal VM, I ended up doing same being on same bandwagon. Last weekend I was able to install and configure SharePoint 2013 preview on my personal VM. There must be already tens of different articles on how to install SharePoint 2013 preview either on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 with different level of details.

As I have done in past, this article provides detailed high level steps and my own method to create the SharePoint 2013 Preview VM from scratch on the Windows 7 x64 Ultimate Edition as host OS and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 x64 Edition as Guest OS using VMware Workstation 8 and later version.

  • Verify that Software and Hardware Requirements of Your Computer
    • Your computer is running the 64-bit installation of Windows 7.
    • Your computer is running the VMware Workstation 8 or later version
    • Your computer has minimum 12-16 GB RAM (24 GB recommended), minimum 120 GB Hard Disk Space (Optionally you can use the external hard drive for storage), Since I don’t have enough RAM, I have allocated only 7 GB RAM to this VM.
    • Your computer supports Virtualization (Enable Virtualization in the BIOS configuration)
    • Your computer is connected to the Internet
  • Create new VMware Workstation Virtual Machine with following settings
    • Guest OS – Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition
    • Allocate minimum 120 GB Disk Capacity
    • Allocate minimum 10-12 GB RAM (16-24 GB recommended)
  • Install and Configure the Operating System
    • Install Windows 2008 Server R2 x64 SP1 Enterprise Edition as Guest OS
    • Configure the Internet Connectivity on the VM.
    • Install VMware Tools for better VM experience. It will install Mouse, Audio, and Video (SVGA) Drivers.
    • Activate the Windows from the Initial Configuration Page
    • Change Power Settings – Turn off the disply – Never, Put the computer to the sleep – Never
    • Perform the Windows Update – Turn on and Install the Windows Update from the Initial Configuration Page. Keep running Windows Update until there is no updates needs to installed. Once Windows Update is completed, turn off the Windows Update to avoid any accidental updates.
    • Set the Administrator Password to Never Expires. Open the Server Manager -> Configurations -> Local Users and Groups -> Users. Change the Administrator user properties and verify that “User cannot change password” and “Password never expires” are checked.
    • Change the Computer Name to user defined name. Open the server manager and click on the “Change System Properties” link from the “Server Summary” page. Change the computer name (e.g. “SP2013VM”) and verify that computer is the member of the workgroup.
    • Disable the Windows Firewall. In the Server Manager, on the Server Summary page, Use the “Go to Windows Firewall” link in the Security Information to turn off the firewall for three windows profiles – domain profile, public profile, and private profile.
    • Disable the Enhanced Security Configuration to avoid the Trusted Site warnings. In the Server Manager, on the Server Summary page, Use the “Configure IE ESC” link in the Security Information to turn off the settings for both Administrators and Users.
    • Configure the DisableLoopbackCheck registry setting (Microsoft KB #896861)
    • Enable the Windows Server Features for the Desktop Experience and the PowerShell
      Integrated Scripting Environment from the Server Manager
  • Setup the DNS and Install the Active Directory as Domain Controller
    • Add Active Directory Domain Services through Add Roles wizard from the Initial configuration screen. This will also add Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5.1 windows feature.
    • Launch the Active Directory Domain Service Installation Wizard at the end of the Active Directory Domain Services installation process or Run the “dcpromo” command with following settings – create a new domain in a new forest, specify the domain name (e.g. niks.local), and Forest level – Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • You will be warned for the dynamically assigned IPAddress. Select Yes to use an automatically assigned IP address by DHCP Server.
    • Reboot the VM and verify that login prompts the domain.
    • Verify that DNS Server and Active Directory Domain Services roles are added on the Initial Configuration or Server Manager screen.
    • Verify the Domain Name (e.g. niks.local) and full computer name (e.g. SP2013VM.niks.local) on the Initial Configuration screen.
    • Verify that Administrative Password is set to never expire using Administrative Tools -> Active Directory Users and Computers. Verify that “Password never expires” and “User cannot change password” is checked.
    • Verify the TCP/IPv4 settings for the Local Area Connection in the Network Settings. Please ensure that IPv4 DNS settings set to Obtain DNS server address automatically.  It shouldn’t be self DNS address –, otherwise SP2013 Preview installer won’t able to download all the pre-requisites.
  • Install the SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3 Bits, Alternatively you can install SQL Server 2012 RTM or SQL 2008 R2 SP1 as well
    • Download and Install SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3 (, SQLServer2012SP1-CTP3-ENU.iso), This is preferred edition to test SP2013 BI technologies
    • Run ISO file & Install the SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3 Edition
    • Select Install New SQL Server stand-along installation with Evaluate Edition – Ignore domain controller warning since this is development box.
    • In Setup Role – Select SQL Server Feature Installation
    • In Feature Selection – Select all features including reporting, integration, analysis services, and Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Products
    • Select default instance in Instance configuration
    • In Server Configuration, Specify Administrator Account for all services, Specify Latin1_General_CI_AS_KS_WS for collation – Change both database engine and analysis services collation as follows for best SharePoint 2013 results – Case-Insensitive, Kana-Sensitive, Accent-Sensitive, and Width-Sensitive
    • In Database Configuration, Specify the Administrator account (e.g. Niks\Administrator), SA password and Mixed mode Authentication for Database Engine. Enable the FILESTREAM for the Transact-SQL and File I/O Streaming access.
    • In Reporting Services configuration, In Native Mode and Integrated Mode – Install only
    • After SQL Server is installed, verify installation by login to the SQL Server using SQL Server Management Studio using Server Name – SP2013VM
    • After SQL Server is installed, Although it is optional in single server VM, create SQL Serer Alias using Windows Utility CliConfg.exe located at C:\windows\syswow64\cliconfg.exe, this is best practice in Multi-Server farm – Alias-SharePoint, Network Library – TCP/IP, Server Name-SP2013VM, Dynamically determine Port checked –
    • After SQL Server Alias is configured, verify correct configuration of Alias by login to the SQL Server using SQL Server Management Studio using Server Name – SharePoint
  • Install the SharePoint 2013 Preview
    • Run the SharePoint 2013 Preview Bits. When you install SharePoint on a domain controller(DC), Setup doesn’t give you any option to choose installation type (standalone or server farm) or server type (complete or stand-alone) installation. This is a designed behavior. By default, installation will have following settings – Installation Option – Server Farm , Server Type – Complete
    • Enter the key required by SharePoint 2013 Preview – 6RNT8-XV26M-GWH36-VMGQH-94MMH & click on Install Now. This should install all the bits including registry entries and registering services
    • Reboot the machine before moving on next step
  • Configure the SharePoint 2013 Preview
    • Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration to configure the SharePoint 2013 environment with following settings – Create New Server Farm – Create a new Server Farm, Database Server Name and Account  – specify SQL Alias as Database Server Name and Use the Administrator account (e.g. Niks\Administrator), Farm Security Settings – Passphrase (e.g. ABCDabcd1234!@#$), Central Administration Web Site Settings (e.g. port -5000), Authentication Provider – NTLM etc.
    • This should create configuration database, central admin site, securing registry entries for  WPG_Admin group, registering SharePoint services like App Management, Access, Excel, User Profile, Secure Store, Form, Search, BDC, Managed Metadata etc.
    • Since I allocated only 7 GB RAM, I was watching task manager for CPU usage and RAM usage. RAM usage during Configuration wizard was 3.5-4.5 GB. Either it’s because of not enough memory, configuration wizard failed to provision central administration site. I had reran Configuration Wizard with the settings of Do not disconnect from farm and specify central administration settings again. It was successful in second try.
    • Do not run farm configuration wizard yet
    • Reboot the machine before moving on next step
  • Configure the SharePoint Services and Basic team site
    • Visit the Central Admin Web Site (e.g. http://sp2013vm:5000/default.aspx) and Click on the Configuration Wizards link to configure the service applications on the farm. This is not recommended option in real world scenarios with medium or large farm configurations but great for quick demo boxes where you can configure all the services by walking through steps of the wizard.
    • Launch Farm Configuration Wizard. Specify the managed service account (e.g. Niks\administrator). Select all the services without Lotus Notes Connector and click Next to provision the services on the server. It may take a while to configure the services on the server. I have noticed that while SharePoint was configuring all the services, RAM usage was around 4.5 GB RAM, after configuration is done and before creating site collection, RAM was up to  5.7 GB RAM.
    • Last step is to configure the default site collection based on 2013 experience and team site template with the default web application using the URL of the machine name. (e.g. http://sp2013vm). You may skip this step if you want to configure the web application name with proper host header URL to host the root site collection. In this scenario, Select Team Site and Click OK to create the default site. It may take a while to provision the web application and root site collection. At the end of the process, wizard will show the summary of service applications provisioned and root site URL provisioned through the process. RAM usage during site collection & web application provisioning process was up to 6.7 GB
    • Activate the services that are not automatically activated during the services configuration wizard – Claims to Windows Token Service and Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Sandboxed Code Service.
    • On the Central Administration Site, verify that Manage Servers in the farm and Manage Services on the Server displays all the services are running properly. On the quick note, there are some new services on services page – App Management Service, Distributed Cache, Machine Translation Service, Workflow Timer Service, Request Management, Search Host Controller, Work Management
    • Visit the default site collection, team site to verify that installation and configuration is completed (e.g. http://sp2013vm/)
    • Configure the IE for automatic windows authentication to automatically login to the SharePoint Sites using logged in user using IE Browser -> Tools -> Internet Options -> Security tab -> Local Intranet Zone, Sites -> Advanced
  • Next Steps
    • Download and Install the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 Preview (32-bit)
    • Download and Install Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2013 Preview (32bit).
    • Download and Install Microsoft Visio Premium 2013 Preview (32-bit)
    • Download and Install the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 RC (32-bit)
    • Upload content the team site for better Content Search experience
    • Configure the Enterprise Search
    • And, many many more…..
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6 Responses to Step by Step Installation Guide – Creating the SharePoint 2013 Preview Virtual Machine on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

  1. Thanks a lot for writing such a descriptive post on SP2013 installation.

    • nikspatel says:

      Thanks Hemant.. I really appreciate your input. I am going to put together detailed step by step guide with pictures around RTM release… There hasn’t been much changed from install-config perspective except couple of issues around RAM availability and pre-req installer…

  2. wbaldwincnc says:

    Nik, you posted a great guide. I am curious about what is hidden in the “And, many many more…..” of Next Steps.

    I am fighting getting Work Flows working with SharePoint 2013 Preview. The Microsoft TID “How to: Set up and configure SharePoint 2013 workflows” must be missing a step somewhere. Might I inspire you to write a new post for workflow setup?

    Thanks again for the Great post!

    • Nik Patel says:

      Thanks… There are actually lots and lots of steps on “many many more”..

      With this article, I have left you guys with the VM with basic SharePoint Services & Basic Web Application and site collection provisioned..

      From here, first step first, would be installing Office 2013, SharePoint Designer 2013, Visual Studio 2012, and SharePoint 2013 Developer Tools..

      You can optionally configure Enterprise Search and reduce the search level to ensure you can run VM with optimal experience even with 6 GB RAM.. I been running my VM with Search reduced level on 6 GB RAM without any issues.. here are the steps how you do it if you want to go for it…

      Next step would be configuring your VM for Apps Development.. This is big step.. You need to configure App Domain, App Management Service, Subscription Service, and App Catalog site.. I am working on series of Apps article which will take users to next step on how to configure VMs for Apps…

      Obviously, since I am running this VM on DC, I can’t run WAW (workflow) and Office Web Apps on same VM but if you are going for 2 VMs, you can install them as well..

      Ofcoruse, this is nothing.. next steps are importing users from AD either by AD Import or User Profile Sync service and work on profiles and search..

      SharePoint is beast and no article will provide everything. .Although the way I have done in past with 2010, i am planning to create step by step document for all the steps and hoping to relesas with RTM version.. Stay tuned…


    • Nik Patel says:

      For workflows and App maangement service configuration, please check out Critical Path step by step guide.. They have well writeen guide.. This requires free login and you will receive 70-80 page guide for free…

  3. Vipul Soni says:

    Superb Article /post!

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