Tim Elhajj

Off the Microsoft stack!

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Did you uninstall Release Management Server and lose access to the Release Management client?

It can happen. If you uninstall the RM server and a client is still pointing to that server (one that is now no longer available, because you just uninstalled it), you will get this error message the next time you launch the client.

You can recover by using ReleaseManagementConsoleAdjustConfigFile.exe, a new command line tool included with VS update 2. If you installed using all the defaults, you can find it  here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Release Management\Client\bin\

Use an administrative command prompt and run this command:  

ReleaseManagementConsoleAdjustConfigFile.exe -configfilename .\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Release.Data.dll.config -newwebserverurl http://servername:1000


  • ConfigFileName, use the name of the config file.
  • NewWebserverUrl, use the URL to the new Release Management server and its port number.

The tool will update the configuration file with the new URL. You will not get any success notification in the command prompt. The next time you launch the client, it will connect to the new server. If the new server you point to isn’t the same version as the client, you will be prompted to update the server.

If you have trouble with the command line tool, there is another option. You can uninstall the client and install it again. After the installation, you will be prompted for a server URL. Both tasks achieve the same goal, so it’s really up to you.


TF18017 or TF250044: having problems with the TFS project creation wizard?

Have you ever had this happen to you? You installed TFS with SharePoint for a colleague. You make sure TFS is running, make sure SharePoint is up. You add your colleague to the local administrators group. You add her to the TFS admin tool. You write her an email telling her where to find her fresh installation of TFS and you’re just about to pat yourself on the back, when you get a message from her saying she can’t run PCW. She’s getting an error message that looks like this one:

If you’re anything like me, you sigh mightily.

Why can’t she (user2) run PCW? What is this about!? I already added her to the Farm Admin group (see below), but that didn’t help with this error.

It’s a permission issue, but it’s not Farm Admin permissions that’s needed. The solution is to add the user in question to the SharePoint site at the collection level. So, for example, navigate here on the SharePoint site (not the SharePoint administration site, but the site where the portal for the team project is created):


Here is what I did:

1) Someone who already has permissions has to go to /sites/defaultcollection/default.aspx and share the site with the new user.

2) Once you add the user, go to site permissions (click the wheel) and then give the user “full control.”

If you click the name, it lights up Edit User Permissions and you can click Full control on the next screen.

And Walla!

Redmond\user2 can now run PCW with success!

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How to restart Win8 from a remote session

This used to be so easy.

Two options I know of for restarting the server (Win8 or WS2012) in a remote session.

1) Get to the desktop and then use Alt + F4 to get this:

Make sure you minimize anything else running on the desktop, or you’ll have to shut down each app individually, possibly muttering like a grizzled old man trying not to step on any of his cats on the way to the bathroom.

2) The other thing you can do is a the “shutdown /i” command from an admin CMD prompt.


Install Team Foundation Server 2012: the ebook version

Following up on the success of the upgrade ebook, I published a guide for installation of TFS 2012 on Smashwords.

Install Team Foundation Server 2012: the ultimate installation guide covers the procedures for installing TFS 2012 with all the latest Microsoft products, including SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Server 2012. This is useful because Microsoft released new versions of all its flagship server products shortly after TFS 2012 came out. As is often the case, there were compatibility issues. The version of SharePoint that came with TFS 2012 wouldn’t install on the new version of Windows Server. This book walks you through all those manual steps.

Get it now, free from Smashwords.

It comes in a variety of formats, including all the latest e-book formats (mobi, epub), as well as PDF and even RTF. There is also an HTML viewer at Smashwords, if you just want to check it out. As with the upgrade ebook, Smashwords will distribute this to all its affiliate vendor sites, including B&N’s nook store, Apples iTunes book store, Kobo, Diesel and the affiliated libraries. Soon I’ll publish it at the Amazon Kindle store for a nominal fee and immediately request a price match of free (Amazon won’t let me set it to free manually). If you want a bargain, you should wait for the price match to purchase from Amazon.


Team Foundation 2012 Build Service installation and configuration

If you want to automate builds of your software projects, you can install Team Foundation Build Service from the Team Foundation Server product DVD and create a build machine. Once you have the build machine set up, you’ll want to create a build definition in Visual Studio with instructions about which code projects to compile and many other configurations. But first, you must set up the build machine.

Where to Install It?

The most important thing to concern yourself with during installation is selecting the right hardware to get the best performance (recommendations are linked below). If your team is building Windows apps, you’ll need to install the build service on Windows 8. See this topic on the Microsoft website: Build and Test a Windows Store App Using Team Foundation Build. All of the settings you choose during the initial configuration of Team Foundation Build Service can be changed after installation, so don’t worry too much about making a wrong choice. For a comprehensive explanation of Team Foundation Build Service architecture and all possible topologies, see this topic on the Microsoft website: Scale Out Your Build System.

Although you can install Team Foundation Build Service on the same computer as Team Foundation Server, you probably shouldn’t. You don’t want to hurt the performance of Team Foundation Server or increase its attack surface when builds are running.

System Requirements

The operating system requirements for Team Build match the requirements for TFS, and the hardware requirements match those of the operating system on which you install it. That said, you can optimize the performance of your build machine by installing Team Foundation Build Service on hardware adequate for the way your team intends to automate builds. See Hardware Recommendations on this MSDN topic.

Required permissions

You must be a member of both the Windows Administrators security group on the server on which you are configuring Team Foundation Build Service and the Project Collection Administrators group on TFS.

TIP: If you installed TFS, you’re already a member of Project Collection Administrators.

To run the Team Foundation Server installer

TIP: The build service is installed with TFS. If you want to set up the build service on the same server as where you installed TFS, you can skip this procedure, open the TFS Administration Console, select Build Configuration, and then choose Configure Installed Features.

1) Insert the Team Foundation Server DVD in the drive and launch the tfs_server.exe.

2) On the license terms dialog box, accept the license terms and then choose Install Now.

If you want to install Team Foundation Server to a specific location in the file system, choose the browse button (…) next to the default install location.

To configure Team Foundation Build Service

1) Choose Configure Team Foundation Build Service, and then choose Start Wizard. The Build Service Configuration wizard appears.

2) Read the Welcome screen, and then choose Next.

3) If you’re configuring the build service on the server running TFS, the default collection is selected automatically. Choose Next.

Otherwise, choose Browse, and then choose the team project collection to which you want this build controller to connect.

4) Choose Use the default setting, and specify the number of build agents. If you installed Team Foundation Build Service on the same server as Team Foundation Server, the default setting for Number of build agents to run on this build machine is 1 (recommended). Choose Next.

If you’re not installing build service on a server that’s running TFS or don’t want to use the default settings, perform one of the following steps:

* Choose Scale out build services to run concurrent builds across multiple machines. If you choose this option, you have to specify the number of build agents for this machine and then add them to a new or existing build controller. If you installed Team Foundation Build Service on its own server, the default setting for Number of build agents to run on this build machine is equal to the number of processor cores on this server.

* Choose Replace an existing build machine, and then specify the build machine to replace. This option copies the existing configuration to the new build server.

* Choose Configure later to skip setting up any build controllers or agents on this instance of Team Foundation Build Service. If you choose this option, you must manually connect the build controller to Team Foundation Server before you can use this build machine.

5) Under Run Team Foundation Build Service as, Choose Use a system account, and then choose NT Authority\Network Service. Choose Next.

Otherwise, choose Use a user account to use a domain or local account, and then enter the account name and password. To test the user account and password, choose Test.

6) Review the information and then choose Next.

The wizard validates your configuration. If you run into a problem, you can use the detailed results to identify the issue. If you can fix it, click the link to run the checks again.

7) Choose Configure. The wizard applies configuration settings.

8) At the success screen, choose Next.

9) Review the results of the success screen, including any recommendations. Choose Close