This work targets the structural preferences of D-ribose and 2-deoxy-D-ribose in water solution and solid phase. A theoretical DFT (B3LYP and M06-2X) and MP2 study has been undertaken considering the five possible configurations (open-chain, a-furanose, ?-furanose, a-pyranose, and ?-pyranose) of these two carbohydrates with a comparison of the solvent treatment using only a continuum solvation model (PCM) and the PCM plus one explicit water molecule. In addition, experimental vibrational studies using both nonchiroptical (IR-Raman) and chiroptical (VCD) techniques have been carried out. The theoretical and experimental results show that a- and ?-pyranose forms are the dominant configurations for both compounds. Moreover, it has been found that 2-deoxy-D-ribose presents a non-negligible percentage of open-chain forms in aqueous solution, while in solid phase this configuration is absent.