6 Reasons Why Installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 is a Stupid Idea

A new feature of SharePoint 2010 is that you can now install it on a client operating system. Don’t.

Installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7, or any other client OS, is a stupid idea, and I’ll tell you why, in simple bullet point items.

I’ll advance the conclusion to this post, so you know what the alternative is. Use a VM and install a proper server OS. There are absolutely no reasons why you shouldn’t. The software is free or has evaluation licenses, you need massive hardware to run SP2010 in any case, and the learning curve is about as gentle as the mountains of Denmark (which are, and this is absolutely true, no higher than 600 feet at their, well, peaks).

Back to the matter at hand, the six reasons, in no particular order, why installing SharePoint 2010 in Windows 7 is a stupid idea.

  1. SharePoint is a server technology, built to utilize server features that are not available on client operating systems.
    While you may be able to get SharePoint up and running, you wont be able to evaluate or use many of the really cool features.
  2. SharePoint installs services that opens security-sensitive features on your computer
    In a server environment, security people know what’s going on and can prevent problems. On your laptop, you may not be as vigilant. A VM doesn’t need access to the Internet at all, and it’s very easy to prevent or limit such access.
  3. For evaluation purposes or lab work, your environment will likely have to be rebuilt several times
    Uninstalling SharePoint is a hassle, especially if you have a failed environment. Deleting a VM you’re no longer using takes about 5 seconds.
  4. You cannot take snapshots of a physical machine
    Prior to testing new features or making big changes to your environment, it is a good idea to back everything up. That takes another 10 seconds with a VM snapshot but backing up a physical machine takes far longer.
  5. You cannot test multi-server features
    Doing farm installations opens up new features that are not possible on a single server setup. For example, load balancing is not possible, nor is testing inter-server communications or distributing services on different servers.
  6. You cannot move your SharePoint 2010 installation from a physical machine
    A major benefit of VMs is that everything you need to run the server is stored in a single folder. This is a major advantage if you need to reinstall or change your physical host.

I think it was Jeremy Thake who said previously what best sums up the reasons for and against using SharePoint on a client operating system, and I paraphrase this from memory:

It’s been possible, while not supported, to install SharePoint 2007 on a client OS for a long time, but yet, very few developers are doing so.

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

10 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 is a Stupid Idea”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I wanted to address some of your points:
    1. SharePoint is a server technology, built to utilize server features that are not available on client operating systems – can you name a few?
    2. Again, specifics please. What is it that SharePoint requires you to open that might have security implications? I would like to know. Does it apply to SharePoint specifically or running a local IIS server on your dev machine?
    3, 4, 6 are really talking about the same thing, and yes, this is one thing I can see a VM doing a much better job of – backup and restore of your dev environment. Another benefit that ties into that is to be able to share a dev environment easily within your team. One person builds and configures the dev station and distributes it to the rest.
    5. Isn't necessairly a SharePoint problem as I see it. When you need to test multi-server scenarios, you need many servers and that is easy to do with VMs

  2. Thanks for your thoughts.

    I don't agree with them but let me tell you why.

    1) Yes it is a server technology, name one "server feature" it uses that are not available on Windows7 or Vista. You develop on your workstation but all final testing has to be done on a server OS.

    2) If this was true I would NEVER install it on a production server 🙂 Name one of those services.

    3) This is a valid point, you could potentially mess up your environment. I have been developing on Vista for 2 years now and it has not happened yet (knock on wood).

    4)N/A You always do your final testing in a server environment.

    5) See 4 above, you ALWAYS do your final testing in a server environment.

    6) ???

    Installing on you client is all about removing friction during your development cycle. You can write a simple test to try out a new feature in minutes. Granted you can do the same in a VM but you have to install your dev environment too and by doing this you have "polluted" the server.

    You could waste hours by doing remote debugging too, I have done it and never again…

    You could install a server OS on your workstation but why bother???

    I thank Microsoft for finally making this available for developers, and I strongly encourage people to install on their workstation to reduce friction, as long as we all understand that "final" testing needs to be done in a server environment (multi machine).

    Finally: I use VM's every day. Nothing beats snapshots. When we do final testing on a product we start with a clean VM. Install and test the software, then undo everything. When we troubleshoot bugs we use VM's to build up the customer environment. But WHY would I use VM's for daily development???

    At least try it out (installing on a client OS) before you bash it…

    Thanks
    /Jonas

  3. I have had nightmares trying to tame SharePoint 2010 perform well in Windows 7, especially with these:
    1) Claims Token Service
    2) Search – having few errors becoz of 1
    3) BDC failing to sync with Outlook and logging error becoz of 1

    If you really want to get into SharePoint 2010, then installing in a Windows Server 2008 maching as a DC is best (for now)!

    -Chaks

  4. Tojonas,

    1) Active directory, ADFS, DFS, Exchange, etc.

    2) In that case, good luck with your new career as something other than an SP developer.

    Try looking into the service applications infrastructure before you leave 🙂

    Look, if you have been developing on the same machine for two years, that simplyh means you have only developed on a few setups.

    I'm not sure what you don't understand about #6, though. How much hassle is it to move your environment from one physical mahine to another?

    Which is fine, but doesn't really void the arguments.

    .b

  5. Bjorn,

    Do you really install AD, ADFS, Exchage etc on your development VM.. Why…?

    Not answering 2… that's not fair 😉

    Back to my point. Testing is done in a real server environment, development is a different story.

    Thanks
    /Jonas

  6. Tojonas,

    Yes, I regularly set up a dev environment to mimic the intended production environment, and that includes utilizing server features such as AD, Exchange, etc. This allows me a much smoother development experience, including step-by-step debugging of code using close-to-production data and features.

    As for #2, I did comment on that and advised you to take a look at the service application model, in which you have multiple new web applications exposing data and services. Security is a major concern then.

    Granted, this doesn't necessarily improve by virtualizing the OS, but with a virtual infrastructure, it is much easier to isolate the network access while maintaining functionality within the infrastructure.

    .b

  7. Bjorn,

    Of course you need an environment with AD and Exchange + whatever. but my question is why that is installed on you development machine? I would just join a development domain with these assets (built using VMs).

    I know about the new service architecture. And still I don't see how this is a "security" concern in my development environment????

    I guess you don't even install SQL Server developer edition on a developer workstation because of "security concerns" exposing your development data….

    Enough, I guess we have to agree to disagree 🙂

    Thanks
    /Jonas

    1. To tojonas, that’s cool if your organization do have a development domain with all that mimics a true production environment, and all your developers or software engineers are free at will to explore the technologies. But I don’t think that would be fit into majorities.

      I agree with Bjorn but saying “…stupid” might “hurt” sensitive hearts. For those not having been reaching a certain point of the technologies, SharePoint on Windows 7 is still an irresistible opportunity to explorer someting in limitation.

      Anyhow, good points Bjorn!

  8. Installing any version of SharePoint on any operating system is a stupid idea. SharePoint is a completely stupid product that has no useful purpose.

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