"Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently, and for the same reason." — Eça de Queirós (Portuguese writer)
For a couple of months now I’ve tried to install Server 2008 R2 (which only comes in the 64-bit flavor) and Sharepoint2010 on a virtual machine so that I could conveniently study SharePoint without all the extra resources hogging my regular development box.
The first thing you learn is that Windows 7 Virtual PC will not handle a 64-bit guest operating system, not even if It’s the x64 version installed on an x64 box. Drats, Microsoft!
Then you learn that VMware is somewhat bloated in that it installs a lot of extra driver-type baggage, so I gave up on that. And, I still had issues installing Server 2008 R2 on that. Plus it’s not free, although I do know that they do have a “free” Player version, to their credit.
And then you learn that “supposedly” you can trick Windows 7 x64 into accepting an installation of SharePoint 2010 – but the fixes are so convoluted and error-prone, I gave up on that too.
Finally, I looked at Oracle Virtual Box – which comes in x86 and x64 flavors for a number of different host operating systems. Installation is a breeze. Installation of Server 2008 R2 into the VM was a breeze (you have to use the Windows 7 x64 profile). And installing SharePoint 2010 is a breeze! Virtual Box is free for commercial and personal use; in fact it’s open source and there’s even a developer SDK if you want to create your own product from it. Oh – and in case you missed it – Virtual Box is FREE.
The whole thing works great; it comes out of hibernation fully booted in about 10 seconds. I’m so pleased that I’m currently RAR-ing the whole VM so that I can have a copy on my x64 notebook PC too!
NOTE: If you are having an issue with VirtualBox (or any VM) booting with an x64 OS, make sure that “Hardware Virtualization Technology” – or whatever your computer manufacturer calls it – is enabled in your BIOS setup, and reboot.