SharePoint 2013 RTM on Windows Server 2012: Virtual Machine Download

UPDATE: I have created a new VM with SharePoint 2013 SP1 and SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2. This updated VM is available on my blog at: The licenses on VM available through the blog below have expired and I’ll recommend getting the new VM from the above link. Thanks for all your feedback and comments!

Since the time I created this SharePoint 2013 Virtual machine using the preview version on Windows Server ’08 quite a few enthusiasts have asked if I could upload one with SharePoint 2013 RTM and Win Server 2012. So I spent some time these holidays to create and upload one. Here it goes…

  1. The VM was created using the VMWare Player version 6 which can be downloaded as a free download from the VMWare site.
  2. It was created using the 180 day evaluation versions Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 (see below) and the SharePoint 2013. If you’d like to, you can enter your own keys to activate the trial/ evaluation versions.
  3. It consists of 6 hard drives and a VMWare virtual machine configuration (.vmx) file. Both the configuration file and hard drives are part of self-extracting .rar files (with the actual total current size at about 35 GBs) which can be downloaded from the download links below.
  4. It has 8 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 )
  5. It has the Classic Shell start menu installed from 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 start-up type for a few non-necessary Windows and SQL services changed to “Manual” or “Delayed start” to conserve overall and start-up resources. This includes services for the SQL Server 2012 SSAS, SSIS and SSRS features which I installed just in case anyone needs them.
  7. Has the Apps service configured to use the URL
  8. Once you fire up the Virtual machine, Windows will auto login to the Administrator’s  account. The “sp20130\administrator” account is the account used to install SharePoint and should be used to access central admin.
  9. The virtual machine additionally has the following accounts:
    sp_adminuser: This is a regular user account I created to be added as a site collection admin. This account has site collection admin privileges on the default site collection on the port 80 Web App
    sp_apppool_content: This is the app pool account for web applications
    sp_apppool_service: This could be used as the app pool account for the service apps that you may configure
    sp_cache_supperreader and sp-cache_superuser: The object cache access user accounts
    sp_farm: The farm account that is configured while installing SharePoint
    sp_search: The search service account
    sp_searchcrawl: The search crawl account
    sp_service: This account is used for various service applications
    sqladmin: This is the SQL server service account
  10. 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:

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 (also recommended) OR
  2. Download the files directly by using the browser “Save target as…” functionality (least recommended)

Instructions for extracting the VM: You will need to download all the .rar and .exe files to your machine and then run the “SP2013.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 “SP2013.vmx” file to run the virtual machine.

Instructions to activate the licenses on the VM with SQL 2012: The evaluation versions of the OS, SharePoint Server and SQL Server 2012 that the earlier virtual machine was running on have expired. Here’s how you can bypass the issue and activate the licenses for those who would still like to use the VM with SQL 2012 (please note that I have also provided above a link for an alternate VM with SQL 2014 that does not need the licenses to be activated yet):

  1. For the OS (Windows Server 2012): You can either:
    1. Rearm the evaluation version by running he following command from the command prompt: slmgr /rearm. This will extend the OS evaluation for another 180 days. Note that you will be able to do 4 more such rearms before having to convert the license to retail
    2. Convert to a retail license: You can view the instructions to do so in the comments below here  and in the corresponding TechNet article here
  2. For SQL Server 2012: 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:
  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

As mentioned above, I am working on uploading an updated image of the VM and I highly appreciate your patience while I work on it.

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

Posted in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , , , , | 295 Comments

Moving all SharePoint databases to a new server

Recently, our team was tasked with moving all the SharePoint databases of a SharePoint 2007 farm from one database server to another.

Microsoft recommends using SQL aliases while installing SharePoint. This makes such database moves much easier. Unfortunately, this guideline was not followed when the farm was first created, probably because such guidance was missing in the early days of SharePoint 2007 when the farm was originally created. The key to performing such a move is to create an alias for the new SQL instance and give this alias the same name as the current instance of SQL Server that the SharePoint databases are hosted on. Of course this would mean that the alias can only be configured after the original SQL instance is stopped to avoid any conflicts.

Microsoft provides a fairly comprehensive and accurate guideline around moving all SharePoint 2007 databases via this TechNet article: Here are a few notes of my own in addition to the TechNet article:

  1. The article enlists various SharePoint services to be stopped before the databases are detached and the move is carried out. The article is correct in that it does not mention the “Windows SharePoint Services Web Application” as one of the services to be stopped on the front end servers. I wanted to put out an additional note of caution that the service should NEVER EVER be stopped or restarted. Doing so has the potential to delete any customizations that were deployed, including but not limited to web.config entries, assemblies deployed to GAC and so on. This can be disastrous particularly if you don’t have any backups that you can restore these customizations from.
  2. The article also mentions steps to back up and restore Shared Service Providers for the farm. One issue we faced here was that the SSPs were not getting restored. Further investigation revealed that this was due the Search service not getting correctly restarted. The solution was to rectify the search settings and perform the steps to restore the SSPs again. In addition when you restore the SSPs again, you will need to delete any corrupted SSPs that got restored previously and also delete the content databases for such SSPs that got restored as part of the previous restoration attempts.

That’s pretty much it. Good luck with your move!

Posted in How To, SharePoint 2007 | Tagged | 2 Comments

Speaking on SP 2010 Development using Visual Studio 2012 at the VS 2012 launch event @Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, DC

I am excited to be speaking tomorrow at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in DC on building Modern collaboration apps with Visual Studio 2012 for SharePoint 2010. Following is the agenda for the session:
Collaboration apps trends and SharePoint development key benefits
Visual Studio 2012 SharePoint development
SharePoint development and ALM (testing, profiling)

Posted in SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, Speaking, Visual Studio 2012 | 2 Comments

Speaking on “Using Access Services in SharePoint 2010” at the Capital Area Microsoft Access Special Interest Group

This Wednesday evening I’ll be speaking at the Capital Area Microsoft Access Special Interest Group on converting Access client Applications to online Access Web Applications using SharePoint 2010 Access Services. The session will focus on:

  1. The benefits and limitations of Access client applications
  2. Introduction and a high level overview & architecture of Access Services
  3. Demonstration of converting and publishing a client Access application to SharePoint 2010 Access Services
  4. The benefits and limitations of hosting Access Applications using Access Services
  5. Discussing the mapping of the client  application objects with the corresponding Web objects
  6. Demonstration of some of the salient features and capabilities of Access Services (like security, concurrency, auditing and versioning, offline capabilities etc )
  7. Finally I’ll discuss the guidelines and practices for rolling out organization wide Access Services web applications

Please click here for a copy of the presentation.

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Speaking on SharePoint 2010 Development using Visual Studio 2010

This Thursday, I’ll be speaking on the finer aspects of SharePoint 2010 Development with Visual Studio 2010. You can register for the webinar  at:

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SharePoint storyboarding using Visual Studio 2012

I’ve always loved Visual Studio as an IDE not just because how easy it has made designing solutions and writing the code but since the past few releases how easy it has made end to end application lifecycle management with the set of comprehensive tools (coupled with TFS) that it provides. Visual Studio 2012 has recently added another feather in the cap by introducing the storyboarding feature to that toolset.

Storyboarding and Wireframes are a great way to help your users envision the finished product. While there were quite a few tools already available to create wireframes and storyboards, most of them were either paid or provided very limited functionality. I personally used photo editing software in the early years and later tools like Visio and more recently Balsamiq came in very handy. Nothing however comes close to the ease of using a tool that comes bundled and integrated with your favorite development apparatus (not to mention that you don’t have to shell out extra money to buy one).

Visual Studio 2012 now enables you to very efficiently create wireframes and storyboards using the familiarity of PowerPoint. The storyboarding capability gets installed (as an add-in for PowerPoint) with the “Test Professional”, Premium or Ultimate editions of Visual Studio 2012. Once installed, you can open PowerPoint Storyboarding by :

  1. Using the Visual Studio Menu (Start –> All Programs –> Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 –> PowerPoint Storyboarding) OR
  2. Directly opening PowerPoint and choosing the “Storyboarding” tab in the ribbon bar (you will need to click on the “Storyboard Shapes” menu item to see the shapes) OR
  3. Via the specific work item in team web access (I haven’t personally tried it but more on it here)

And here’s the good news for SharePoint developers: PowerPoint storyboarding comes with a SharePoint background that you can use to quickly start creating your SharePoint wireframes or storyboards:

Happy SharePointing!

Posted in SharePoint, Visual Studio 2012 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

SharePoint 2013 Virtual Machine Download

UPDATE (3rd March 2013): I have created a new VM with SharePoint 2013 RTM and SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012. This VM is available on my latest blog post at: Consequently, I have deleted the files associated with this post. I have also disabled comments for this post and will recommend posting any new comments or feedback on the new post. Thanks again for visiting and for all your encouraging inputs!

UPDATE (6th Jan 2013): I have created a new VM with SharePoint 2013 RTM and SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012. This VM is available on my blog at: Consequently, I will be deleting the files associated with this blog in about a month (02/02/2013) so anyone downloading any files can finish the downloads. Thanks for all your feedback and comments!

Okay, so the SharePoint 2013 preview was released with Office 2013 preview last week. I am sure many, like me, must be excited to take a first look at this latest version of SharePoint. While the SharePoint 2013 Preview itself can be downloaded here, I spent some time creating and uploading a copy of the virtual machine for everyone’s benefit. But first, a couple of quick notes on it. The virtual machine:

  1. Was created using the VMWare Player version 4.04 which can be downloaded as a free download from the VMWare site.
  2. Was created using the 180 day evaluation versions Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2 and the SharePoint 2013 preview, all of which can be downloaded here, here and here. If you’d like to, you can enter your own keys to activate the trial/ evaluation versions.
  3. Needs the evaluation version of the Windows Server 2008 R2 to be activated. You can activate the evaluation version (without th need to enter a product key) by following these steps:
    1. Start the product activation wizard (you can do this by clicking the “Activate Windows” link from the Server Manager).
    2. Go through the wizard and Click “Next” on the screen that asks you for the product key (without entering any key).
    3. This will go ahead and validate and activate the 180 day evaluation for Windows Server 2008 R2.
  4. Consists of 2 hard drives and a VMWare virtual machine configuration (.vmx) file. The hard drives themselves are part of 10 self-extracting .rar files (compressed to 8 GBs for the  downloads, actual current size at 19 and 4 GBs and expandable upto 160 GBs each if needed).
  5. Has 4 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 )
  6. Currently has the following stopped to conserve resources:
    1. Search Host service application
    2. SQL Server Reporting Services service
    3. SQL Service Analysis Services service
    4. SQL Server Integration Services service

Following is the link to the folder containing the ReadMe.txt as well as the virtual machine configration file and the 1st hard drive:

Following is the  link to the folder containing the files for the second hard drive:

You will need to download all the .rar and .exe files on your machine and then run the “SP2013-C.part01.exe” and “SP2013-D.part1.exe” executables to unpack the virtual machine hard drives. After ensuring that you have the latest version of the VMWare Player installed, you can double click on the “SP2013.vmx” file to run the virtual machine. The password for all the accounts is part of the accompanying Readme.txt file. Hope you will find the VM useful and will let me know any feedback that you have! Happy SharePointing! 🙂

Comments and feedback welcome & appreciated!

Posted in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , , , , | 75 Comments