SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 Virtual Machine Download

I earlier created this SharePoint 2013 RTM Virtual machine on Win Server 2012 in Jan 2014. A lot has changed since then with the introduction of SP1 and hence I thought it was time to create a new one so everyone could benefit from it. Following are the details of this new evaluation VM and how to download it:

  1. The VM was created using the VMWare Player version 6.0.3 which can be downloaded as a free download from the VMWare site. You can use the latesr version of the free tool to launch it. Once you have downloaded it, you can also convert it into other formats to open it with another virtualization tool of your choice.
  2. It was created using the 180 day evaluation versions Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 (see below) and the SharePoint 2013 Trial license. If you’d like to, you can enter your own keys to activate the trial/ evaluation versions. These 180 day evaluation versions should be good though 7th Feb 2015.
  3. It consists of 4 hard drives, a VMWare virtual machine configuration (.vmx) file and other supporting VMWare files. All the files and hard drives are part of 15 self-extracting compressed files (with the actual total current size at about 31 GBs). These self-extracting (executable) archive can be downloaded from the download link mentioned below.
  4. The VM has 16 GBs of RAM allocated to it by default (controlled by the settings in the “.vmx” file or via the virtual machine settings in the VMWare player). You can reduce or increase the RAM to suite your needs, although, 12 GB is the minimum required and 16 GB is what I will recommend for this VM.
  5. It has the Classic Shell start menu installed from http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ so you can get the old Windows start menu in addition to the new Windows “Start screen”. This also results in Windows booting up to the desktop instead of the new Windows start screen. Although, if you’d like to, you can get to the Start screen by clicking the Shift+Windows button combination. You can also configure Classic Shell so Windows boots up to the start screen instead, if you so desire.
  6. It has the gmsp15.dev as the Active Directory domain and has the apps service configured to use the  apps.gmsp15.dev app domain.
  7. Once you fire up the VM, Windows will auto login to the SP_Admin account. This “gmsp15\sp_admin” account was the account used to install SharePoint and should be used to access central admin.
  8. The virtual machine additionally has the following accounts created and used for various services:
    1. SP_Farm: The farm account
    2. SP_CacheSuperReader: The object cache read access account
    3. SP_CacheSuperUser: The object cache full access account
    4. SP_ExcelUser: Account used for excel services (not yet configured on the VM)
    5. SP_PeffPointUser: Account used for performance point services (not yet configured on the VM)
    6. SP_PortalAppPool: Account for the content web application pools
    7. SP_ProfilesAppPool: Web app pool for the MySites web application (not yet configured on the VM)
    8. SP_ProfileSync: The user profile synchronization account
    9. SP_SearchContent: The default content access account for the Search Service Application
    10. SP_SearchService: Account to run the SharePoint Search “Windows Service
    11. SP_Services: Service Applications  App Pool account
    12. SP_VisioUser: Account used for Visio services (not yet configured on this VM)
    13. SQL_Admin: Used to Install the SQL Server
    14. SQL_Services: SQL service account for the MSSQLServer & SQLServerAgent services
      You can read more on different accounts for SharePoint in the following articles: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263445(v=office.15).aspx & http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=39
  9. All accounts in the VM share the same password which is part of the ReadMe file accompanying the downloads.

Finally, all the files, including the ReadMe.txt are uploaded to the Google Drive folder at the following link: http://goo.gl/Q0NS71

To download the files, you can go with either of the following options:

  1. Add the folder to your Google Drive and then use the Google Drive Desktop Client to sync the files to your local computer (highly recommended) OR
  2. Download the files directly by using the browser “Save target as…” functionality (not really recommended and should be used if for some odd reason #1 does not work for you) OR
  3. There might be some download managers as well that might allow you to specify a google drive URL and download all files from their but I am not aware of any at the moment

Instructions for extracting the VM: You will need to download all the .rar and .exe files to your machine and then run the “SP2013SP1.part01.exe” executable to unpack the virtual machine hard drives. After ensuring that you have the latest version of the VMWare Player installed, you can then double-click the “SP2013SP1.vmx” file to run the virtual machine.

Instructions to activate the licenses: Here’s how you can activate the licenses for:

  1. For the OS (Windows Server 2012 R2): You can view the instructions in the comments for my previous blog here  or in the corresponding TechNet article here
  2. For SQL Server 2014: Unfortunately there’s no way to rearm a SQL Server Evaluation license. You will have to convert it to a retail license. The way to do that is to:
    1. Run the SQL Server setup
    2. Click on the maintenance tab
    3. Click on “Edition upgrade”
    4. Follow the steps till you reach the product key screen and enter your product key (usually pre-filled if a licensed installation media is used)
    5. You can read a good set of instructions for converting your eval license to a full license here: http://www.mssqlgirl.com/upgrading-from-sql-server-2012-evaluation-edition.html
  3. For SharePoint Server 2013:
    1. Browse to Central Admin –> Upgrade and Migration –> Convert farm license type
    2. On the Convert License Type page, in the Enter the Product Key box, type the new product key and then click OK.
    3. Verify that the license is upgraded by going back to the page
    4. Please note that the SharePoint 2013 trial is only available as an Enterprise trial. Consequently you will only be able to activate an Enterprise (and not Standard) CAL on this VM

Hope you will find the VM useful and will share any feedback that you may have! Happy SharePointing! :)

Posted in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, Virtual Machine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday NYC on 26th July 2014

I am truly excited & honored to be speaking at SharePoint Saturday New York (SPSNYC) this Saturday, 26th July. Its going to be a great event with lots of SharePoint awesomeness. The list of sessions with the equally awesome speakers is available at this Url: http://www.spsevents.org/city/NYC/NYC2014/sessions. There were still a few of the about 800 seats available at the time of writing this blog so I will encourage you to register through this link if you have anything to do with SharePoint and will be in the area that weekend :)

The topic of my 10:30 AM session will be “Create your own SharePoint 2013 dev. VM. Live!“. As the session title mentions, I will be demonstrating how to create a SharePoint 2013 dev. VM from scratch. The steps that I will demonstrate will involve creating a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM and running a single click installation file which will first prepare the server for SharePoint installation (including AD and SQL installs and configuration) and then also install SharePoint on it. The session also encourages you to create your own VM alongside if you’d like to and there are 2 approaches that you can take to create your SharePoint environment alongside. I will list down both the options below for your convenience and the downloads and resources that you will need for each of the options:

Option 1 – Start with my pre-created Windows Server 2012 Eval VM:

Since there is limited time at the session, the first thing I will do is to fire up a pre-created Win Server 2012 R2 Eval VM that I have uploaded through my Google drive here. I will then run my script on it so you can actually see it through to completion and see an actual SharePoint 2013 farm up and running before the session ends. This is also the best option if you’d like to follow along and walk out of the session with your own VM. You will need the following to be able to create your own VM with me using this approach:

  1. The following downloads:
    1. The Windows Server 2012 R2 Eval VM that I have uploaded to my google drive here. Please ensure that you download all the files and extract the zip archive. Once extracted, you will notice 8 files totaling around 16.2 GB in size. If you turn on the VM after downloading it, you will notice that it will show you a Windows Settings screen as if you just purchased a new computer. That is perfectly fine. You can safely shut down the VM at that point. I will show you how to proceed from this point on in my session. To download the VM files, you can go with either of the following options:
      1. Add the shared Google drive folder to your Google Drive through the “Add to Drive” button on the top right corner of the page and then use the Google Drive Desktop Client to sync the files to your local computer (recommended) OR
      2. Download the files directly by using the browser “Save target as…” functionality (less recommended)
    2. The accompanying scripts that we will be running, also available for download through the same link. This package contains the following:
      1. Various scripts and tools that we will be running to install & configure AD, SQL Server. This includes the following:
        1. SharePoint 2013 Service Accounts Creator: http://sp2013serviceaccount.codeplex.com/
        2. AutoSPInstaller: http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com/
        3. AutoSPSourceBuilder: https://autospsourcebuilder.codeplex.com/
        4. AutoSPInstallerGUI: http://autospinstallergui.codeplex.com/
      2. SharePoint Server Prerequisites included within the AutoSPInstaller folder
      3. Finally I have uploaded two versions of the package:
        1. The first one under the “Scripts Package with SharePoint” folder also includes the SharePoint Server 2013 slipstreamed with SP1 media included within it. The total size of the zip archive is in this folder is about 2.6 GB (remember it also contains the SharePoint installation media). Even though its large,  I will recommend downloading this package if you’d like to follow along and build your own VM.
        2. The second one under the “Scripts Package without SharePoint” folder does not contain the SharePoint Server 2013 with SP1 media. The total size of the zip archive is in this folder is 171 MB. Remember, it is smaller but if you download this package, you will need to bring your own SharePoint 2013 with SP1 media typically downloadable through your VLSC, MSDN and MPN subscriptions.
    3. SQL Server 2014 Eval ISO available here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205290.aspx  OR a licensed version of the SQL ISO that you might have access to (either of SQL Server 2012 SP1 OR SQL Server 2014 will be fine – though we will be using SQL Server 2014 for the live demo)
  2. Other host system requirements: In addition to the above, you will need to ensure the following for your host:
    1. You have VMWare workstation 9.0.3 or above OR VMWare Player 6.0 (free) or another virtualization tool installed on your machine. The VMWare tools will be helpful if you are planning to follow along since that’s what I will be using but please feel free to use a virtualization tool of your choice
    2. You are able to allocate at least 12 Gb of memory to the guest VM that we will be installing SharePoint on. Ideally, that would mean you have at least 20 GB RAM available on your host
    3. You have at least 50 GB of free space on the disk that will contain the VM (the downloaded VM files included)
    4. Your host should be running on Windows 7 or above (64 bit)

Option 2 – Start with a new Windows 2012 R2 VM setup from scratch:

After I start the above 1 click install of SharePoint, I will in parallel start creating a new Windows Server 2012 R2 VM from scratch and show you how to get it ready to the point where we can start running the scripts mentioned above. If the downloads mentioned as part of Option 1 seem very large for you to be able download and bring along, you can opt for this option to follow along. The only thing you will need to be aware of is that your SharePoint installation is most likely not going to finish by the end of the session. To be able to follow along, you will need to ensure that you have the following resources available to you:

  1. Downloads:
    1. ISO of Win Server 2012 R2 Eval: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205286.aspx
      Note that even though the software selection drop down on the download page mentions the Windows Server Datacenter edition, it really has other editions bundled into it as well. We will be able to select the edition we want to use at the time of the installation.
    2. SQL Server 2014 Eval ISOavailable here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205290.aspx  OR a licensed version of SQL ISO that you might have access to (either of SQL Server 2012 SP1 OR SQL Server 2014 will be fine – though we will be using SQL Server 2014 for the live demo)
    3. Classic Shell to enable the start menu on Windows Server 2012: http://www.classicshell.net/downloads/
    4. The scripts package available through my Google drive here. This package contains the following:
      1. Various scripts and tools that we will be running to install & configure AD, SQL Server. This includes the following:
        1. SharePoint 2013 Service Accounts Creator: http://sp2013serviceaccount.codeplex.com/
        2. AutoSPInstaller: http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com/
        3. AutoSPSourceBuilder: https://autospsourcebuilder.codeplex.com/
        4. AutoSPInstallerGUI: http://autospinstallergui.codeplex.com/
      2. SharePoint Server Prerequisites included within the AutoSPInstaller folder
      3. Finally I have uploaded two versions of the package:
        1. The first one under the “Scripts Package with SharePoint” folder also includes the SharePoint Server 2013 slipstreamed with SP1 media included within it. The total size of the zip archive is in this folder is about 2.6 GB (remember it also contains the SharePoint installation media). Even though its large,  I will recommend downloading this package if you’d like to follow along and build your own VM.
        2. The second one under the “Scripts Package without SharePoint” folder does not contain the SharePoint Server 2013 with SP1 media. The total size of the zip archive is in this folder is 171 MB. Remember, it is smaller but if you download this package, you will need to bring your own SharePoint 2013 with SP1 media typically downloadable through your VLSC, MSDN and MPN subscriptions.
    5. SharePoint Server 2013 with SP1: As mentioned above, it is part of the scripts under the “Scripts Package with SharePoint” download package available through my online drive. I will use the product key for the SharePoint evaluation version but please feel free to note down your licensed product key before hand in case you’d like to use it insteadFinally, while I’ve mentioned eval editions of various software above, you are encouraged to use your own licensed version of the software if you have access to them.
  2. Other host system requirements: In addition, similar to option 1, you will need to ensure the following for your host machine:
    1. You have VMWare workstation 9.0.3 or above OR VMWare Player 6.0 (free) or another virtualization tool installed on your machine. The VMWare tools will be helpful if you are planning to follow along. But please feel free to use a virtualization tool of your choice.
    2. You are able to allocate at least 12 Gb of memory to the guest VM that we will be creating. Ideally, that would mean you have at least 20 GB RAM available on your host
    3. You have at least 50 GB of free space on the disk that will contain the VM (the downloaded VM files included)
    4. Your host should be running on Windows 7 or above (64 bit)

That’s pretty much it. Please feel free to reach out to me via the comments below if I can be of further help. I will also be available after the session to answer your questions and in case you’d like help downloading the files. I’ll look forward to seeing you @SPSNYC and I hope you are as excited to be there as I am!

Posted in Speaking, Tools | 2 Comments

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday Baltimore on Creating your SharePoint 2013 dev. VM in an hour

I am very excited to be speaking at SharePoint Saturday Baltimore this weekend: http://www.spsevents.org/city/baltimore/baltimore2014/sessions

My session will mainly be a demo of how you can create a SharePoint 2013 VM in an hour from scratch. As promised, following are the resources that you will need in case you’d like to follow along and start creating your own VM:

  1. Software:
    1. Win Server 2012 Std/ Datacenter/ Eval (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh670538.aspx)
    2. SQL Server 2012 with SP1 Std/ Ent/ Eval (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh225126)
    3. SQL Server 2012 KB2793634 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36215)
    4. SharePoint Server 2013 with SP1 Available on VLSC, MSDN and MPN
    5. Classic Shell http://www.classicshell.net/downloads/
    6. SharePoint Server 2013 Pre-requisites. I have uploaded them to the following URL for your convenience: http://1drv.ms/1oZcenU
  2. Scripts:
    1. SharePoint 2013 Service Accounts Creator: http://sp2013serviceaccount.codeplex.com/
    2. Add AD User/Group to Local Administrator Group: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Add-AD-UserGroup-to-Local-fe5e9239
    3. SQL Prep for SharePoint: http://www.toddklindt.com/Scripts/SQLtweaks.sql.txt
    4. AutoSPInstaller: http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com/
    5. AutoSPSourceBuilder: https://autospsourcebuilder.codeplex.com/
    6. AutoSPInstallerGUI: http://autospinstallergui.codeplex.com/
    7. I have also uploaded other necessary script files to: http://1drv.ms/T8BXzY

Finally, I will be using VMWare Workstation 10.0 to create the VMs during the demo.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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SharePoint Server 2013 Installation & Planning Guide

Since the time I posted this SharePoint 2013 VM on my blog, I have received requests from a few SharePoint enthusiasts to also post detailed steps for installing SharePoint Server 2013. Since these steps are available on TechNet (see below for the link) and have been blogged about in a number of other places, I did not want to duplicate the effort here. What I did want to post here though is a step by step approach, architectural guidance, recommendations & resources that you will need to build a well-planned, scalable and error free SharePoint 2013 on premise production farm. The post will cover guidance around the following aspects of SharePoint Installation:

  1. Planning your SharePoint architecture
  2. Pre installation server prep
  3. Installing & configuring SharePoint
  4. Post installation maintenance & planning
  1. Plan your farm:
    1. Plan the physical and logical architecture: In addition to the above here are a few links that will help you plan the physical and logical architecture and topology for the farm: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/fp123594.aspx, http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30377, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263199.aspx, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff829836.aspx
    2. Review the hardware & software requirements: The following link describes the hardware & software requirements for SharePoint: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx. A quick note here is that to avoid seeing future SharePoint health analyzer issues related to disk space (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff805057(v=office.14).aspx), I will also recommend  starting with system drive that is higher than the recommended 80 GB (I typically start with a 100 GBS). I will also recommend placing the SharePoint logs, usage reports and search indexes to a drive other than the system drive
    3. Capacity plan your hardware: While the link above will get you started with the minimum recommended environment, it is always recommended to capacity plan your hardware in advance from a performance and scalability perspective. The following link describes advanced capacity and sizing recommendations for SharePoint Server 2013: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff758647.aspx
    4. Plan Service and admin accounts for your farm: SharePoint needs various accounts to be configured with different sets of permissions. The following article is a good reference for the different accounts that need to be set up and configured for SharePoint: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263445.aspx
    5. More in-Depth planning for SharePoint 2013: Finally, for advanced readers or for those who’d like to setup sophisticated  farms, the following is a very comprehensive guide for an in-depth planning of different aspects of SharePoint Server 2013: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261834.aspx
  2. Prepare your servers for SharePoint installation:
    1. OS:
      1. Before you install any software on either the SharePoint or SQL servers, ensure that you have activated the OS licenses on these servers (although this is not a required step at this point)
      2. Also ensure that you have applied the latest patches for the OS on all the servers
    2. SQL Server(s): SharePoint is a very database intensive product. For optimal performance and throughput, it is highly recommended that the SQL Server be optimally set up by following these practices:
      1. Apply the latest patches and updates (this should be done before even you begin installing SharePoint)
      2. Follow the guidelines on this link to ensure that you have carried out the necessary planning and configuration on the SQL server front as well: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh292622.aspx. Besides other considerations, I’d like to specifically point you to the sections titled “Configure specific SQL Server settings before you deploy SharePoint Server 2013”, “Design storage for optimal throughput and manageability” & “Proactively manage the growth of data and log files” from this article for optimal performance of the SQL server
      3. Plan your SQL Server capacity and configuration: The following link provides in depth details about planning Your SQL server for the various SharePoint databases: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc298801.aspx
  3. SharePoint installation and configuration:
    1. Installation guides for manual installation: The following links provide detailed installation & configuration steps for SharePoint 2013 installation: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262957.aspx & http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30384. This includes installing the pre-requisites for SharePoint Server 2013.
    2. Scripted Installations: For those who prefer a scripted approach or would like to build multiple environments, you can refer to tools such as the AutoSPInstaller & AutoSPSourceBuilder to script your SharePoint 2013 installation. Matthey J. Bailey in a very useful blog post here also provides links to other guides and tools to build your scripted/ non-scripted SharePoint environments (Search for the section titled “Detailed Instructions on How to Install a SharePoint 2013 Development Environment”)
    3. Cumulative Updates: After SharePoint is installed, I will recommend installing the latest updates and CUs from this link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/jj891062.aspx after you install SharePoint and before you run the SharePoint products configuration wizard.
    4. Possible installation issues & troubleshooting: The following articles describe a few possible issues while installing SharePoint & their resolution (I’ll keep updating these as and when I find more links and based on any inputs): http://blogs.msdn.com/b/fabdulwahab/archive/2013/08/29/sharepoint-2013-installation-and-configuration-issues.aspx & http://gauravmahajan.net/2013/01/31/sharepoint-2013-installation-error-iisext-vbs/
  4. Monitoring & post installation maintenance:
    1. Plan for monitoring SharePoint: The following article provides good details on SharePoint monitoring tools, scenarios and schedules: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219701.aspx
    2. The following article discusses configuring monitoring and performance counters for SharePoint 2013: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff758658.aspx
    3. SQL Server maintenance: The following article describes maintenance that needs to be carried out for a SQL server serving SharePoint databases: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262731.aspx The article refers to SharePoint 2010 but a lot of it is still true for SharePoint 2013

Hope this blog will serve as a comprehensive resource that you can refer to for planning, installing and maintaining your SharePoint 2013 farm. Good luck with your installation!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SharePoint 2013 On Prem and Online Edition and Feature Comparison (updated May 7th 2014)

Microsoft provides SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) that allow its customers to use their Software Assurance Benefits to cover the costs of engaging with qualified providers for SharePoint deployment and upgrade planning services. You can read more about SDPS here.

As someone who delivers these SDPS engagements, more often than not I have had the need to take the customers through the SharePoint features available as part of various on premise and online plans. While a comprehensive listing of these features is available on TechNet here, it is hard to filter this listing by the edition or plan type thus making it difficult to help them understand the features missing or available between different editions. Without duplicating much effort, I have created a quick excel file and uploaded it here (Updated: May 7th 2014) for your convenience if you too would like to view a filterable feature comparison within the different editions and online plans of SharePoint 2013.

Hope you find it useful

Posted in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Build SSRS 2008 R2 and SSRS 2012 reports using Visual Studio 2012

The Microsoft SQL Server product team finally released the long awaited SQL Server Data tools – BI templates for Visual Studio 2012. This release installs the SQL Server Business Intelligence projects for Analysis Services, Integration Services, and Reporting Services. Among other things, the release also enables you to create and edit SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012 SSRS reports. You can download and install the tools from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36843

Installing the tools however had the adverse effect of causing the data projects in our Visual Studio solutions to fail from working. Here’s what you will need to do to resolve the issue if your database projects are failing to load as well:

  1. Download and install the SSDT December 2012 Update from here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=274984
  2. Download and install the Data-Tier Application framework from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36842.
    If you are on an x64 machine, make sure you install the x86 updates (first) as
    well the x64 updates listed in this URL.

Your database projects should work fine after installing the above updates. One last thing worth mentioning is that I currently am on Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 and also that the December 2012 update is the latest one available at this time.

Posted in SQL Server, Visual Studio 2012 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Install the Windows Phone 8.0 Emulator without installing Visual Studio 2012 (or how to test local SharePoint sites on a Windows Phone 8.0 device)

I recently wrote this post on launching the Windows Phone 8.0 emulator without launching Visual Studio 2012. One of the reasons to be able to use the emulator without the need for Visual Studio could be when you only want to view/ demo your sites or applications on the emulator without having the need to develop and deploy them using Visual Studio. In my case, for example, I wanted to do demo the BI capabilities of SharePoint on a mobile device. You may want to use the emulator to just test on a Windows Phone 8.0 device your SharePoint sites hosted on a virtual machine. So here’s how you can do it:

  1. Configure the Hyper-V feature: The Windows Phone 8.0 emulator is essentially a virtual hard drive (VHD) that is launched using Hyper-V. Ensure that you have the Hyper-V feature installed on your Windows 8 machine. You can do this by browsing to Add  or remove programs –> Turn Windows features on or off –> Selecting Hyper-V from the pop-up screen:
    Hyper-V Feature
  2. Download the installer: Next, we’ll need to do is to download the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35471 Clicking on the Download button next to “WPexpress_full.exe” file will cause your browser to prompt you to Run or Save the file. Since we are doing a custom installation, we will want to save the executable to a local drive.
  3. Open it using the command prompt: Once you have download the file, you will need to open the file location in the command prompt. You can do this by either:
    1. Opening the command prompt and changing the directory to the download directory OR
    2. Shift-Right clicking the download folder and selecting the “Open with command prompt” option:
      OpenInCmd
  4. Download all the installation files: Next, we are going to download  the installation files onto the local hard drive. This will allow us to only install the components necessary for the emulator to run. To do this, type “WPexpress_full.exe /layout <DOWNLOADLOCATION>” in the command prompt. The <DOWNLOADLOCATION> in the above command is the location where you would like to download the installation files to. This will launch the Visual Studio 2012 installation Wizard in the download mode. Make sure you have about 1.5 GB free in the drive where you intend to download the installation files:
    Installer
  5. You should see the following folder structure once the files have downloaded – <DOWNLOADLOCATION>\packages\MobileTools:
    MobileTools
  6. We are now ready to run the installation media for the emulator. Browse to the <DOWNLOADLOCATION>\packages\MobileTools\XdeHost folder within the downloaded files and run the MobileTools_XDEHost.msi file. This will install the XDE.exe tool that will launch the emulator. Once the setup is complete, you can verify that the relevant files have been created by browsing to the following path: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft XDE\8.0″ (assuming that you have installed the files in the C: drive)
  7. Next, we need to install the virtual hard  drive for the Windows Phone 8.0 that the emulator will launch. To do so, browse to the “<DOWNLOADLOCATION>\packages\MobileTools\WpFolder” folder and run the “MobileTools_WPImages_enu.msi” Windows Installer package. This will install various VHD files for the Windows Phone. Once the setup is complete, you can verify that the relevant files have been created by browsing to the following path: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v8.0\Emulation\Images” (assuming that you have installed the files in the C: drive).

That’s it. You are now ready to launch the Windows Phone 8.0 emulator without having to run or even install Visual Studio 2012. To view instructions on how to launch the emulator, please refer my earlier bog post at: http://gauravmahajan.net/2013/02/06/launch-windows-phone-8-emulator-without-launching-visual-studio-2012/

Posted in How To, SharePoint, Visual Studio 2012, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone SDK | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments