Copy files in TFS Build

Team Foundation Build workflow provides Copy Directory activity to copy the folder content but its doesn’t have an activity to copy the files. If you need to copy  files as part of the build process then you have below options.

  • Write a custom activity for copying files
  • use Invoke Process activity to call the xcopy or robocopy commandline tools

In this post, I will show the steps to copy a file using Invoke Process activity and xcopy command.

First, you need to drag and drop the InvokeProcess activity from toolbox to the workflow template.


This activity contains below properties.


FileName (String): FileName of the process that you want to start.
Arguments (String): Command-line arguments that you want to pass to the process.
EnvironmentVariables (IDictionary<TKey, TValue><String,String>): Additional environment variables and their values.
OutputEncoding (Encoding): Encoding that is used to read the output and error streams. Default value will work for scenerios.
WorkingDirectory (String): You can specify the working directory (WorkingDirectory) in which you want to run the process.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Result(Int32): Returns the ExitCode from the process.

For the copy file activity, here are the sample values for above properties.


Additionally, Inside the InvokeProcess activity you need to add two activities to display the standard output and error output from your process
WriteBuildMessage activity: This activity should be added under Standard Output, and its property should be set to stdOutput.
WriteBuildError activity: This should be added under Handle Standard Output, and its property should be set to errOutput.


TFS 2013 update 2 released

Microsoft has announced the release of Team Foundation Server 2013 update 2 at Build conference this week. There was no updates released for Team Foundation Server in Update 1 and it was completely focused Visual Studio updates, so this time update 2 has lot of new features and bug fixes for Team Foundation Server.

This update either ships improvements or adds new features in below areas.

  • Work Item Tagging
  • Backlog Management
  • Release Management
  • Git
  • Web-based  Test Case Management
  • CodeLens

The installer files for Team Foundation Server 2013 update 2 are available here.

You can also find the KB article here.

Go download and try out the new features nowSmile

Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 Released

Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 is released recently. It’s a small update focused mainly on fixes and improving the experience with old versions of IE (prior to IE 10).

You can download the update at below location.

Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 :

Release Management 2013 for Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 :

KB Article for Visual Studio 2013 Update 1:

There is no update 1 to Team Foundation Server 2013 is released.

Visual Studio 2013 Queue Build dialog bug

We have recently upgraded our TFS Instance to Team Foundation Server 2013. I have installed Visual Studio 2013 client on my machine to connect to TFS 2013.

I came across an issue when trying to change the build parameter values in Visual Studio 2013 Queue Build dialog. The entire parameters tab was showing blank.


Its a bug in Visual Studio 2013 and Team Explorer 2013 and there is a fix available for this issue. The patch for this issue can be downloaded from here.

No exports were found that match the constraint error in Visual Studio

I came across this error when trying to open any files in Visual Studio Solution Explorer. Visual Studio 2013 was working fine for me earlier.

No exports were found that match the constraint: Contract Name Microsoft.VisualStudio.Utilities.IContentTypeRegistryService RequiredTypeIdentity Microsoft.VisualStudio.Utilities.IContentTypeRegistryService


I resolved this issue by deleting the Visual Studio Component Model Cache folder at this specific location for Visual Studio 2013.


If you facing same issue with Visual Studio 2012 then the relevant location is:


Testing Mobile Applications using Perfecto Mobile’s MobileCloud V2 is shipped

Visual Studio ALM Rangers has shipped the second revision of Testing Mobile Applications guidance which focuses on mobile devices testing using Perfecto Mobile’s unique cloud based solution to enable quality assurance using powerful ScriptOne automation capabilities.


This release delivers an Overview Poster and an e-book.

ALM Rangers who contributed to this project:

Anil Chandra Lingam, Anisha Pindoria, Bijan Javidi, Bipin Puthiyaveetil, Brian Blackman, Dan Marzolini, Esteban Garcia, Hassan Fadili, Mathew Aniyan, Oliver Hilgers, Ranjit Gupta, Svetlana Kostinsky, Tom Lindeman.

Please go ahead and download this guidance from the codeplex site here and let the team know your valuable feedback.

TF400534 – Team Foundation Server installation error

I came across below error when trying to install the Team Foundation Server 2013.

Error : TF400534 : Package (tfs_sharePointExtensionsCore_x86) caching failed with the following status : 0×80070001.
Error : TF400166 : Package caching failed. Check individual package cache errors for more information.
Error : Installation failed. Check individual package installation errors for more information.


This error is often caused by corrupt installation file. You need to download the setup file again and try to re-install.

ALM Rangers practical TFS Reporting Guidance V1 shipped

ALM Rangers team has shipped V1 version of TFS Reporting Guidance. This guidance is focuses on providing practical guidance and sample solution to create valuable reports for Visual Studio Online and on-premise TFS installations. Below two e-books are published as part of this project.

  1. VS Online & OData
  2. Data Warehouse


ALM Rangers team members who volunteered their valuable family time for development of this project:

Anisha Pindoria,Gordon Beeming, Grant Holliday, Hamid Shahid, Hakan Eskici, Jeff Levinson, Jesse Houwing, Jim Szubryt, Justin Marks, Mattias Sköld, Patricia Wagner, Prasanna Ramkumar,Priyanka Janardhan, Ted Malone

Please go ahead and download this guidance from the codeplex site here and let the team know your valuable feedback.

TFS Upgrade guidance V3 for TFS 2013 ships

ALM Rangers team has shipped a new version of their popular TFS upgrade guidance. This guidance is developed by on the field experts and it provides practical and scenario based guidance for upgrading Team Foundation Server Infrastructure. This V3 version of guidance is focused on TFS 2013 upgrade story.

Here is the list of topics which are covered in this guidance.

  • What’s New in TFS upgrade
  • Supported upgrade paths
  • Pre-Upgrade Checklist
  • Upgrade Walkthroughs
  • Post-Upgrade Checklist

ALM Rangers team members who volunteered their valuable family time for development of this project:

Andre Scripa, Bijan Javidi, Christian Nielsen, Ewald Hofman, Francisco Fagas, Gordon Beeming, Hosam Kamel, Michael Fourie, Osmar Landin, Patricia Wagner, Pierre Donyegro, Pramod Vasanth, Stefan Mieth, Thomas Isler, Vlatko Ivanovski, William H. Salazar, Willy-Peter Schaub

Please go ahead and download this guidance from the codeplex site here and let the team know your valuable feedback.

Work Item Charting in Team Foundation Server

Work Item Charting is a new light weight reporting feature introduced in Team Foundation Server 2013. Work Item Charting enables users to create visual representation of data for the results generated by Work Item Queries.

Currently, this feature is available in Web Access portal and supported only for Flat Queries.

You can either use an existing default query or you can create a new query and save it in Team Foundation Server to generate the charts. To create a chart you need to go to the Work Items section in web access, double click on one of the saved query, click on the charts tab and then click New Chart option.


It will launch the Configure Chart Window and it displays 5 different types of charts which can be created.

Pie Chart:

To generate the Pie, Bar and Column charts, you need to provide a value for the Group by Field. By default, below are the listed values for the Group by field.

  • Backlog Priority
  • Assigned To
  • State
  • Remaining Work
  • Blocked
  • Work Item Type

These above values coming from values available under “Selected Column” option which can be launched by clicking Columns option in Work Item Query tab.



Additionally, you can sort the values for all the charts by specifying values for the Sort field. Below are supported values for Sort Field.

  • Value
  • Label
  • Ascending
  • Descending

In below pie chart, I have selected state as the value for Group by field to generate the chart.


Bar Chart:

Below is a Bar chart which is created with Group by field value as State.


Column Chart:

Below is a Column chart which is created with Group by field value as State.


Stacked Bar Chart:

This chart has Rows and Columns as fields to generate the chart. Both Row and Column fields populates the values based on the selected columns value defined in work item query.


Pivot Table Chart:

This chart also has Rows and Columns as fields to generate the chart.


I hope this post will help you to understand the work item charting in Team Foundation Server.