Which SharePoint is free

Instructions: Set up a free test environment for SharePoint 2013

If you want to test Sharepoint 2013, you have various options. A Windows Server is always required - either 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2. What is unfortunately no longer possible with the new Sharepoint Server is an installation on Windows 7 or 8 clients, as was still possible with Sharepoint 2010 (as described here). For this, the Windows 8 client offers an installation in Hyper-V as an alternative. How to set up step by step:

1. Windows Server 2012 - also available free of charge

Because not everyone wants to buy a Windows server license to try it out, Microsoft also offers free test options. Windows Server 2012 is available for download as a 180-day test version, either as an .ISO installation image (also in German) or as a .VHD image for the Hyper-V VM environment (only in English).

2. Hyper-V - the new virtual machine in Windows 8

The Hyper-V variant is particularly suitable in connection with Windows 8, because it drastically simplifies the setup of the server environment. Thanks to the virtual machine integrated into the client for the first time, test environments can be set up quickly and without impairing the productive system - provided there is enough memory available.

However, the Hyper-V component must first be installed in Windows 8. The installation dialog can be found in the somewhat hidden system control component “Activate or deactivate Windows features”. The best way to navigate there is to search for the term “Features”, filtered under “Settings”.

3. Download Sharepoint Server 2013 or Foundation

The next question is which Sharepoint variant should be used. If the basic functions are sufficient to test simpler scenarios, then the free Sharepoint Foundation 2013 is sufficient. However, Microsoft is currently still offering the Sharepoint Foundation 2013 as a preview for download.[UPDATE] The final version SharePoint Foundation 2013 for download ready.The same applies to the Sharepoint Server 2013 trial version, which so far can only be downloaded as a preview. MSDN and Technet subscribers as well as users with volume license agreements have been able to download the final packages of the Office 2013 family for a few days.

4. Install prerequisites

Like their predecessors, Sharepoint Foundation and Server 2013 require a number of additional services, the “Prerequesites”, which are imported before the actual installation. If there is no internet connection on the test server or there are other problems, the prerequisites can be downloaded individually via these links:

5. SQL Server 2012

Sharepoint Server 2013 also requires the installation of SQL Server 2012. Microsoft is also making this available as a test version for download - in three versions:

  • SQL Server 2012 32-bit (2.5 GB)
  • SQL Server 2012 32-bit (2.5 GB)
  • SQL Server 2012 as a DVD ISO image with the 32- and 64-bit version (4.2 GB)
Wolfgang Miedl is the founder of SharePoint360.de. As a specialist author and analyst, he has been working on workplace and collaboration topics in the Microsoft environment for over 20 years. He is co-editor of several SharePoint and Office 365 market and user studies.
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