Troubleshooting Team Foundation Server 2008 Installation

I have been trying to install Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2008 on a Virtual PC for a presentation I'll be giving in a couple of weeks. I must say, the installation process is not as easy as you'd hope. If you follow the installation guide to the letter there's a fair chance you can get things up and running on your first attempt to install TFS. If you can't make it work, there are many useful posts on internet forums on TFS that can help you out. However, in my case I wasn't having so much luck....

Attempt 1

I started out with a clean Windows Server 2008 installation in a Virtual PC. I called the server Server2008 and added an entry in my Windows hosts file in order to connect to this new machine. I then installed SQL Server 2008 following the instructions in the TFS installation guide.

Next I slipstreamed SP1 into the main installation files (explained in the installation guide) and installed TFS. After a while the installation completed successfully. However, no matter what I tried, I couldn't connect to it from my client installation of Visual Studio 2008. I searched Google and literally read hundreds of articles and posts on TFS, but all to no avail. No matter what I tried, I kept getting errors like these:

TF30171: The Microsoft.ProjectCreationWizard.Reporting plug-in used to create the new team project could not be initialized and returned the following error: TF30224: Failed to retrieve projects from the report server.

It seemed like a problem related to Reporting Server, so I looked into its setup and security configuration. But no matter what I tried, I couldn't make it work. Finally, I found an article suggesting to reinstall Service Pack 1 for VS 2008. I had installed VS 2008 and SP1 long before I installed Team Explorer, so Team Explorer was still at the RTM level. Reapplying Service Pack 1 did the trick, and I could connect to my TFS server successfully!

I could have left it like that, but I wanted to redo everything again to make sure I got all the right steps. While searching for a fix, I had made a lot of configuration changes, so I wasn't sure what I changed, and what the effect of the changes on my TFS installation was.

Attempt 2

I created a new VPC, installed a fresh copy of Windows Server 2008 and called the server Server2008VPC. I then installed SQL Server 2008 again, followed by the SP1 installation of Team Foundation Server.

After a reboot, I was expecting everything to work fine. But, again, I couldn't connect. Now I got this pretty generic error:

TF31002: Unable to connect to this Team Foundation Server

So, once again, I tried lots and lots of different things. Changing user accounts, permissions, adding the necessary accounts to the Reporting and Sharepoint Services site and so on. Finally, I disabled the firewall on the VPC server and voila: instant access. Heuh? I thought that the installation procedure added the required exceptions to the firewall if it's up and running and set to allow exceptions (both of which are the case on a clean Windows Server 2008 install). So why doesn't it work with the firewall on?

Getting slightly desperate, I tried to find out what port was being blocked by the firewall. In order to see the traffic going to the VPC, I used my favorite HTTP debugging tool Fiddler and found this:

Fiddler: DNS Lookup for Server2008VPC failed.

Heuh? It could find it with the firewall turned off.... Why can't it find it now? Then I remembered that on my first installation I added the server name to my Windows hosts file in order to map it to its (fixed) IP address. So I added Server2008VPC and its IP address to my hosts file, and everything worked fine from there..... Still strange that it could correctly find the server with the firewall turned off

Whew; quite an experience. But well worth the trouble now that everything is up and running....

So, now that I *think* I have it all under control, I'll once more redo the entire installation process, starting with a clean Windows install. Hopefully I can install without a problem now.

Where to Next?

Wonder where to go next? You can post a comment on this article.

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Written by Imar Spaanjaars
Date Posted 10/26/2008 14:57


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