Installing SharePoint in standalone / single server mode

Fri, Oct 12, 2018 2-minute read

In SharePoint 2016, it’s no longer possible to use PSConfig / SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard to provision a single server SharePoint Farm. You’re likely doing this because you just want a single dev environment to… do some stuff. Strangely (more like typically) Microsoft don’t make this particularly easy for you.

Assuming you have the basis of a SharePoint server, i.e., :

  1. Some sort of OS (i.e. Windows Server)
  2. Some sort of SQL Server (i.e., SQL Server 2016)
  3. SharePoint binaries installed

which isn’t connected to a domain, then you likely fire up the Config Wizard, fill in the obvious entries (ie. specify database server, create new farm, provide credentials, etc.) and specify a local account and the “wizard” tells you that local accounts can only be used in stand alone mode. Well, yeah, exactly, that’s what I wanted. But there’s no way past it.

“The specified user *** is a local account. Local accounts should only be used in stand alone mode.”

To fix this, you need Powershell (or more specifically the SharePoint 2016 Management Shell.)

Let’s assume your machine is called MYMACHINE123. Verify that SQL Server is in and operational by using SSMS to connect to MYMACHINE123.

Next fire up SharePoint Management shell as Administrator, and pump in:

$phrase = ConvertTo-SecureString "SomeUberLongSecurePhraseWhichIncludes$StuffLikeNumb3rs" -AsPlainText -Force

New-SPConfigurationDatabase -DatabaseName "SharePoint_ConfigDB" -DatabaseServer "MYMACHINE123" -AdministrationContentDatabaseName "SharePoint_AdminContentDB" -Passphrase $phrase -FarmCredentials (Get-Credential) -localserverrole SingleServerFarm

When you do this, you will get prompted with a credentials box. The KEY thing to do here is to specify the full local account name with machine name. So if the local account you want to use is e.g., SPFarmAccount, then in the credentials box, enter


If you don’t do it as above, then the cmdlet will get so far through and fail with an error “The specified user does not exist or is not unique.”

Once you’ve done the above, then you can now rerun the SharePoint 2016 Products Configuration Wizard to complete the installation. You should notice that now, instead of prompting to create or join a server farm, it should be ‘Modify server farm settings’ with the stuff you just specified prefilled and ‘do not disconnect from this server farm’ selected.