How to Install and Activate the IW Demo/Evaluation Hyper-V Machine

The 2010 Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Virtual Machine is the easiest way to evaluate SharePoint development.  The VM comes complete with an installed, working copy of SharePoint 2010, Visual Studio, Office 2010, and much, much more.  The installation instructions mention that you can connect the virtual machine to the internet and activate it for 180 days.  However, it had been long ago enough since I last performed this process that I had forgotten a couple of details, and had one of those scratching-my-head experiences, so I’m noting the steps to do this.  Actually, I had intended to write this info down the last time I forgot how to activate the VM, but I neglected to, and so was doomed to repeat my experience.

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Blog TOCWhile I am documenting the key points on activating, I’m also going to note some of my favorite ways to configure these machines – my personal preferences.

1.            Enable virtualization technology in the BIOS.  Sometimes the setting can be difficult to find – it was under Security on one of my desktop machines.  On my Lenovo laptop, it is pretty obvious.

If you don’t remember to enable this, while following the IW Demo VM installation instructions, you will receive the error:

An error occurred while attempting to start the selected virtual machine(s).

‘2010-7a’ could not initialize.

The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running.

If you have forgotten to enable it, and then receive the error, and then enable it, then remember that you have to physically power-off the CPU after changing the BIOS settings, not just reboot, otherwise the BIOS setting change isn’t in effect.  That little tidbit was paid for with an embarrassing amount of time. :)

2.            For running virtual machines, I prefer to boot to an install of Windows Server 2008 R2 that has as little as possible installed on it.  I install the Hyper-V role, and if a laptop, I install the Wireless LAN Service, and that is about all.  If the default display drivers work well enough, I don’t bother installing specialized display drivers.  I actually prefer not to.  I would never host IIS on a machine that is hosting Hyper-V VMs.  The more memory you preserve in the host operating system, the more memory is available to various configurations of hosted VMs, some of which are tight in 8GB.  I would never attempt to run on a machine with less than 8GB.  I always make my laptop dual-boot.

When you initially set-up Hyper-V on the host computer, you are given an option of creating a network adapter for the wired internet port.  You need to do this because you will be temporarily connecting the virtual machine to the internet to activate.

3.            Download the various RAR files, expand them, and follow the procedures in the Virtual Machine Setup Guide that accompanies the IW Demo/Eval VM.  To try your hand at development, you only need to install and run Virtual Machine “A”.  Once it is running, you can log in, write and compile code, and extend SharePoint in a variety of ways.  The instructions include the following note:

Activation of the operating system in the virtual machine is OPTIONAL. Please do NOT perform the following steps unless your initial 10 day evaluation period expires.

Because it was said so emphatically, I feel obligated to repeat it.

4.            At this point, because you have followed the procedures in the VM installation instructions, if you open the Virtual Network Manager in Hyper-V Manager, you will see two networks.  You added the internal network while following the VM installation procedures, and the other network is there because you responded positively to including it when installing the Hyper-V role.


5.            While the VM is shut down, open the Settings for the Demo VM.  You will see there is only the one network adapter.


6.            Click Add Hardware, click Network Adapter, and click Add.  Add a network adapter for the Local Area Connection.


Because you are adding the network adapter for the wired network (not wireless), even if you have a wireless connection on your laptop, you need to physically connect the computer to a network that has access to the internet.

7.            Start the VM and let it boot.  After logging into the VM, you should be able to browse the internet.  You can then activate Windows Server 2008 R2 as usual.  Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.  Windows will inform you that the Windows license is valid for 180 days.  Shut down the VM.

8.            Open the settings for the Demo VM, and remove the network adapter for the Local Area Connection.  The VM is not designed to be connected to the internet, and will not operate properly while connected.

Finally, Tristan Watkins has a great post on Optimizing the SharePoint 2010 IW Demo VM.