OS Environment Comparison for SharePoint Server 2010 Beta Evaluation


SharePoint Server 2010 can be installed on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You can find installation steps for different OSes on MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx . So is there any difference between these OSes when you want to play with SharePoint? Here’s a table to compare different configuration. If you have any suggestions on this table, please comment and I will update.


Note: I’m not discussing SharePoint Foundation 2010 in this table. 































  Advantages Disadvantages
Vista/Win7

  • Quickly switch to developing/demo environment by reboot

  • Hibernate/Sleep support

  • Possible to use all memory


  • No pre-req installer

  • useless services started

  • If it is not the main OS, then another partition is needed

  • If it is the main OS, SharePoint installation will likely to affect the performance of your other programs

  • If standalone installation and local account is used, then configuration/dev experience could be quite different from servers in domain enviroment
Vista/Win7 Virtualized

  • I can’t see any reason… If you can virtualize a vista x64, then you should virtualize a server OS since you can always save states


  • No pre-req installer

  • useless services started

  • If standalone installation and local account is used, then configuration/dev experience could be quite different from servers in domain enviroment

  • If host machine does not have enough memory this could have performance problem

  • Performance is slower than real machine

  • 64bit virtualization software like Hyper-V, VritualBox and VMWare is required
Win7 VHD Boot

  • All advantages for Win7

  • VHD can be put on the same partition with main OS

  • Possible to sysprep and redeploy image to other dev machine

  • Possible to use all memory

  • Good for dev or demo laptops


  • All disadvantages for Win7

  • If bitlocker is enabled, then VHD still need to be put on another partition

  • After sysprep, everything needs to be reconfigured.
2008/2008 R2

  • Full experience of SharePoint Server 2010

  • Possible to use all memory


  • If it is not the main OS, then another partition is needed

  • If it is the main OS, SharePoint installation will likely to affect the performance of your other programs (it is always recommended to install SharePoint without any other progams on the machine)

  • Slower reboot process

  • Lack of device drivers for some hardware

  • Some companies do not allow dev to install Server OS
2008/2008 R2 Virtualized

  • Full experience of SharePoint Server 2010

  • Can be moved and redistributed

  • Can use virtualization technology like save states, snapshots, live migration

  • Best way for developing/evaluation, if hardware requirement can be met

  • Can be used to build HA solutions


  • If host machine does not have enough memory this could have performance problem

  • Performance is slower than real machine

  • 64bit virtualization software like Hyper-V, VritualBox and VMWare is required
2008 R2 VHD Boot

  • Full experience of SharePoint Server 2010

  • Possible to sysprep and redeploy image to other dev machine

  • Possible to use all memory


  • All disadvantages for Win2008/R2

  • If bitlocker is enabled, then VHD still need to be put on another partition

  • After sysprep, everything needs to be reconfigured.

Remember – boot from VHD does not mean virtualization – it has nothing to do with virtualization at all. In that case, you can’t move such VHD directly to other machine. When you want to move the VHD, you have to sysprep it, which will lose all configuration on the system.


So, for developers, I would suggest dual boot or VHD boot to Windows 7 or virtualization. For IT Pros, 2008/R2/virtualization should be the way to go for evaluation. But you should judge that yourself – it depends on your environment and your goal.


Jie Li


Technical Product Manager, SharePoint

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