Team Foundation Server Installation Tips and Troubleshooting

By Robbe D. Morris

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Robbe Morris
Robbe & Melisa Morris
If you are reading this, then you are no doubt on the edge of a nervous breakdown.  The installation process for Team Foundation Server is an absolute nightmare (or what Bill refers to as Microsoft Innovation...).  And, assuming you get the thing installed, you are likely to run into all sorts of problems creating new projects.  With that in mind, I'd like to lay out a few tips and solutions I've researched on forums, scoured the details of log files, as well as stumbled upon potential solutions by reading the event log that can probably help you out.
1.Break out the Grey Goose Vodka and mix up a martini with some form of citrus juice.  You'll need it.
2.You really do need to read the installation instructions carefully.  I know it is a mess but read each and every word.
3.Various aspects of SQL Server Reporting Services and Team Foundation Server don't work well when you try to reference them via the ip address to your server.  In my case, the server wasn't part of a domain.  So, I had to have all client users add the server computer name to their hosts file to point to the ip address.  Just to be sure I'd taken care of all of the issues, I added it to the server hosts file as well (shouldn't make a difference but I was tired of seeing these darn error messages).  You may want to go ahead and do this on the server prior to installing anything.  I found several references in the log files of failures to resolve my computer by its name both during install and during TFE project creation.
4.Yes, you will need the default web site in IIS.  It will need to have a site id of 1.  Period, no getting around it.  If you previously deleted the default web site, you'll need to create a new web site and then use an IIS metabase explorer to reset its site id to 1.  Windows Sharepoint Services install will create another web site using your server's actual ip address and setup a special port to run on.  SQL Server Reporting Services uses the default web site and port 80 under the server ip address (or all unassigned ip addresses by default).  Team Foundation Server will have its own web site using the server's ip address and use port 8080.  If you currently block port 8080 or the port that SharePoint services selects, you'll need to unblock them.

5.I noticed an oddity with IIS 6.0 on Windows Server 2003 SP1 app pool settings regarding memory recycling.  If you check either or both of these options to recycle when memory limits are hit (no matter the limit), IIS tends to recycle every few minutes even though it doesn't appear to have used enough memory to recycle.  I've seen this happen consistently on 3 different servers.  This appeared to create all sorts of issues with the web services for sharepoint, sql server reporting services, and team foundation server.  I unchecked these two options for every app pool concerning sharepoint, sql server, and team foundation services.  I went so far as to take care of each app pool prior to proceeding on with the next step in the installation process.
This, in conjunction with one other item concerning DCOM pretty much cleared up all of my project, workitem, source control, etc. creation issues.  The DCOM issue was resolved by launching dcomcnfg and adding the Network Service account to the My Computer - Properties - COM Security - Launch and Activation button limits.  I noticed all sorts of DCOM errors in the event log whenever projects failed to get created.  This fixed that.
6.When installing Windows SharePoint Services with SP2, select the option to install as a web farm even if you are running a single isolated server.  Remember to reboot the server after you've installed Windows SharePoint Services with SP2.
7.After you've installed SQL Server Reporting Services, you'll want to configure it.  Launch the SQL Server Reporting Configuration app.  Create the two virtual directories for Report Server and Report Manager.  Remember to check the apply default settings checkbox.  Let the Network Service account manage the Windows Service and Web Service identity.
8.Upon completion of the sql server report configuration, open IIS and make sure that the app pools designed for your ReportServer and Reports virtual directories are set properly.  Mine weren't.  There should be a ReportManager app pool that runs under the Network Service account and the Reports Virtual Directory should be attached to this app pool.  There should also be a ReportServer app pool that runs under the Network Service account and the ReportServer Virtual Directory should be attached to this app pool.  After doing steps 7 and 8, it resolved all of those late vague installation errors of Team Foundation Server.
9.If you've done steps 1 through 8 and followed the install steps exactly, team foundation server should install and work properly.
10.Install the Team Foundation Explorer client.  This runs as an add-in to Visual Studio .NET 2005.  Upon installation, launch Visual Studio .NET 20005 and select to Connect to a Team Foundation Server via the Tools menu.
Some of the steps I've taken are probably overkill.  But, they did resolve virtually all of my TFS issues both during install and while using the Team Foundation Explorer.  If you have more questions, please post them to Dr. Dotnetsky's forum.  I troll his area regularly.

Robbe has been a Microsoft MVP in C# since 2004.  He is also the co-founder of which provides .NET articles, book reviews, software reviews, and software download and purchase advice.