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We've seen some confusion in the newsgroups and elsewhere on the versions and editions of Windows that SharePoint 2010 will run on. This post is meant to clarify some of the most common questions we have seen.
SharePoint 2010 will support only 64-bit (x64) versions of Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2. SharePoint will not install at all on 32 bit Windows, or any earlier version of Windows such as Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003.
SharePoint is not supported on 'Server Core' installations of Windows Server 2008 and R2. The Server Core installations of Windows server do not contain some of the components required for SharePoint to be configured or run.
To make developing for SharePoint 2010 easier, it is possible to install SharePoint on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7. Note that running production environments on these OSes are not supported and it will not be possible to upgrade deployments running on client versions of Windows to future versions of SharePoint. Instructions on installing SharePoint 2010 on client versions of Windows are a bit more involved and we recommend reading the instructions at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx.
Windows version/edition (64 bit only)
SharePoint 2010 support
Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
Windows Web Server 2008 R2
Windows HPC Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based systems
Windows Server 2008 Standard
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
Windows Web Server 2008
Windows Storage Server 2008
Windows Small Business Server 2008
Windows Essential Business Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based systems
Windows Server 2008 Foundation
* Small and Essential Business Server editions of Windows install SharePoint as an optional component.
** Support for specific editions of Windows 7/Vista are yet to be finalized, but are likely to be 'Business'/'Professional' editions and above.
The list above is meant for informational purposes only. The official list of system requirements for SharePoint 2010 is located at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485(office.14).aspx and includes additional details on prerequisites and other optional components.
Program Manager, SharePoint