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TechTip: Troubleshooting Team Foundation Server

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Learn how to properly install TFS and then make the best use of it.


Team Foundation Server (commonly known as TFS) is a source control management offering from Microsoft that has over the years matured a lot. TFS provides complete ALM featuresdata collection, project planning and tracking, and also reporting. You should have a good knowledge of Team Foundation Server components, understand its installation prerequisites, and also know the strategies and best practices to make the best use of TFS in your development environment.


This article discusses the common troubleshooting issues in TFS and provides some useful tips that can help you to better leverage the power of TFS. There are plenty of issues and fixes and tips to discuss, but I have highlighted only the most common and important ones in this article.

Troubleshooting Team Foundation Server Installation Issues

The most common issues that cause an installation of TFS to fail are as follows:


  • You've skipped the installation of one or more procedures while the prerequisites were being installed.
  • You failed to remove one or more components
    of a previous installation of TFS.


To fix TFS errors that involve SQL Server Reporting Services, you should open IIS Manager, remove the virtual directories and application pools associated with Reporting Services, and then re-install TFS in your system.


You might encounter "MissingMethodException" in Visual Studio Team Explorer 2010. Your Team Explorer might crash frequently. To fix this, re-install Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1. You can get Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 here.

Troubleshooting Connections to Team Foundation Server

For a successful TFS installation, you should follow the TFS installation guide perfectly; no steps should be skipped. You should set up the prerequisite domain accounts TFSSETUP, TFSSERVICE, and TFSREPORTS as described in the TFS installation guide. Also, you should make sure that TFSSETUP is in the local administrator group, and you should log in as TFSSETUP to install all TFS components as described in the TFS installation guide.


You should also check whether Reporting Services is installed and working perfectly. To do this, browse http://yourservername/reports.


Another tip is to open the SQL Reporting Services Configuration utility and check to see whether any system checks failed.


You can also create a .reg file in Notepad with the following text inside:






Once you execute it before installing TFS, verbose mode in TFS installation will be switched on.

Some Useful Tips

Make sure that Visual Studio is installed in the system in which you intend to install Team Foundation Explorer (which is a component of the TFS installation). If Visual Studio is installed prior to installing Team Foundation Explorer, the chances of failure in installing Team Explorer will be reduced.


To troubleshoot TFS issues, you should first check the Windows Event Log. At times, you may observe that connections to TFS fail. Maybe it was working successfully earlier, but now it no longer works even if you haven't changed anything in TFS and you're getting an error message: "TF31002: Unable to connect to this Team Foundation Server." How do you resolve such connectivity issues?


First, you should confirm whether the server is working properly. You can invoke the CheckAuthentication Web service from this URL: http://TFSSERVER:8080/services/v1.0/ServerStatus.asmx?op=CheckAuthentication


This check enables you to ensure that Windows Authentication and proxy settings are working perfectly. You should also check whether the user now has access. You should run the following command to check group membership information:


TfsSecurity.exe /server:servername /im n:DOMAIN\User


If the user's domain password has changed, the user has to log off and log back in to access TFS again. Also, you should check whether the computer's domain certificate is valid by running this command:


gpupdate /force


When you run the above command, the certificate will be updated.


If the TFS users cannot access Team Project Portal, IIS might be stopped on the application server for Team Foundation. To verify whether IIS is running on the application server, click Start->Administrative Tools->Internet Information Services and check whether the service is stopped. Also, look in the IIS Manager to see if the application pool is running.


You can use the command line utility called TFSSecurity to create, modify, and delete groups and permissions for users in Team Foundation Server. Here is the syntax for using this command line tool:


TFSSecurity /i Identity [/Collection:CollectionURL][/server:ServerURL]


You can use the Accounts command to change the service accounts and passwords (modify service accounts) that Team Foundation Server use. Note that you should be part of the Administrators group in order to execute this command. Here is the syntax of using this command:


TFSConfig Accounts /change|add|set|delete|updatepassword|resetowner [/AccountType:{ApplicationTier|ReportingDataSource|Proxy}] [/Account:AccountName] [/Password:Password] [/SQLInstance:ServerName] [/DatabaseName:DatabaseName] [/Continue]

Suggested Readings

Here are links to some good references on this topic for further study:




In this TechTip, we discussed the common troubleshooting issues in Team Foundation Server installation and post installation. We also discussed the tips that can be followed for a successful Team Foundation Server installation and those that can help you make best use of Team Foundation Server in your development environment.


Happy reading!

Joydip Kanjilal

Joydip Kanjilal is a Principal Software Engineer in Hyderabad, India.

Read my blog

Awarded the prestigious Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in ASP.NET six times in a row from the year 2007 to 2012. A speaker and author of several books and articles with over 18 years of industry experience in IT and more than 14 years in Microsoft .NET and its related technologies.

Currently working as a Principal Software Engineer at DELL International Services at Hyderabad. Was selected as an MSDN Featured Developer of the Fortnight (MSDN) a number of times and also Community Credit Winner at www.community-credit.com several times.

Authored the following books:

·  Entity Framework Tutorial (Second Edition) by Packt Publishing

·  ASP.NET Web API: Build RESTful Web Applications and Services on the .NET Framework by Packt Publishing

·  Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 Six-in-One by Wrox Publishers

·  ASP.NET 4.0 Programming by McGraw Hill Publishing

·  Entity Framework Tutorial by Packt Publishing

·  Pro Sync Framework by APRESS

·  Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET AJAX in 24 Hours by Sams Publishing

·  ASP.NET Data Presentation Controls Essentials by Packt Publishing

Also reviewed more than 10 books and authored more than 350 articles for some of the most reputable sites, such as www.msdn.microsoft.com, www.code-magazine.com, www.asptoday.com, www.devx.com, www.ddj.com, www.aspalliance.com, www.aspnetpro.com, www.sql-server-performance.com, www.sswug.com, and so on.

Has years of experience in designing and architecting solutions for various domains. His technical strengths include C, C++, VC++, Java, C#, Microsoft .NET, AJAX, WCF, JQuery, ASP.NET Web API, REST, SOA, Design Patterns, SQL Server, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. Has been exploring Cloud technologies, IoT and Machine learning these days.

Blog: http://www.infoworld.com/blog/microsoft-coder

Website: www.joydipkanjilal.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joydipkanjilal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joydipkanjilal

LinkedIn: http://in.linkedin.com/in/joydipkanjilal



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