Since a couple of days the public beta of Sharepoint 2010 is out in the wild. The official name is Beta 2. Keep in mind that this is for lab only and that migration to RTM will NOT be supported by Microsoft. Here is how to do it. Use Hyper-V or other virtualization that support 64-bit guests.
1. Install a 64-bit Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 machine, 32-bit is not supported any more! The machine should atleast have 8 GB of RAM to function pretty smoothly. More is recomended if you wish to test Web Applications and extensive Excel Services or Sandboxing. Web edition, Foundations, SBS is not supported nor recomended!!
2. DCPromo. Create your domain on the machine and the accounts that will be needed (SQL; Sharepoitn Services)
3. Modify the ACL for registry HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ComputerName and make sure users got full control over that key (because you machine is a DC).
4. Install the WCF fix that will allow the service applications to work (it’s actually allowing WCF to communicate unsecured). This must be installed regardless of your operating system. For Windows 7 and 2008 R2 you need this, and for Windows Vista and 2008 you wil need this.
5. Install a SQL server, you will need 2005 SP 3 with CU 3 or 2008 SP 1 with CU 2. Cumulative updates are part-way service packs which isn’t fully tested. Thats why you will have to order them by email.. but remember this is not a production enviroment.
6. Download the installer. Start the Sharepoint 2010 Pre-requisite installer, it’s reachable form the installer main menu. The program will (download,) install and configure all needed supporting functionallity for Sharepoint 2010. You will need Internet Access for this step to complete.
7. Setup a new farm. Use Complete installation. Never, ever, use Standalone install. Follow the wizards, also launch Central admin when requested as you will go through the Farm configuration wizard.
8. Install Office Web Applications
9. Install Office 2010 Pro Plus, Visio 2010 and Sarepoint 2010.
10: Enable Developer Dasboard by running:
stsadm -o setproperty -pn developer-dashboard -pv OnDemand
11. Reboot. Enjoy you lab enviroment.