Update TFS Build Controller via Powershell

October 21, 2014

During a trial-migration of TFS, I typically prepare a lot of command-line tools to run some background update processes. Instead of writing little C# command-line applications in Visual Studio, I’m moving more and more away from Visual Studio and do stuff via PowerShell.

For a migration upgrade from TFS 2010 to TFS 2013, I have to deal with an update of the Build Controller to a new build machine/server. For a Team Project Collection of 100+ Team Projects and lots of build definitions, this is not something you want to do manually or delegate to all involved dev teams.

Instead of having to start from zero, I found this interesting post from Daniel Mann which does exactly what I want: updating the Build Controller from PowerShell via the TFS API. Except, it does it specifically for one dedicated Team Project.

So, the PowerShell script only needed a bit of tweaking to fetch all available Team Projects via the ListAllProjects method of the ICommonStructureService interface.


Function SetBuildControllerForTeamProject($TeamProject, $BuildController, $WhatIf)
$buildDefinitions = $buildClient.QueryBuildDefinitions($TeamProject)
$buildDefinitions | % {
Write-Host " >> Checking Build Definition" $_.Name
Write-Host " >>" $_.Name "is using" $_.BuildController.Name

if ($_.BuildController.Uri -ne $controller.Uri) {
Write-Host " >>> Setting" $_.Name "to use $BuildController"
if (!$WhatIf) {
$_.BuildController = $controller
else {
Write-Host " >> Build controller is already set. Taking no action."

add-type -Path 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Common.dll'
add-type -Path 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.dll'
add-type -Path 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.dll'

$tfsUri = new-object System.Uri $TfsUrl
$tpc = new-object Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.TfsTeamProjectCollection $tfsUri

$buildClient = $tpc.GetService('Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.IBuildServer')
$commonStructure = $tpc.GetService('Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.ICommonStructureService')
$controller = $buildClient.GetBuildController($NewBuildController)

$allTeamProjectInfo = $commonStructure.ListAllProjects()
$sortedTeamProjectInfo = $allTeamProjectInfo | sort-object { $_.Name }

foreach($teamProjectInfo in $sortedTeamProjectInfo)
Write-Host '************** Scanning Build Definitions in Team Project' $teamProjectInfo.Name
SetBuildControllerForTeamProject $teamProjectInfo.Name $NewBuildController $WhatIf
Write-Host ''

You may also use the Community TFS Build Manager (Visual Studio 2013 extension) to modify a number of Build Definitions in bulk, but for my migration scenario, I preferred to have a PowerShell script. Having this script also allows me to modify other settings in the Build Definitions … for example the Build Drop Location.

Community TFS Build Manager


Update MSBuild Toolpath in TFS build process template

October 20, 2014

I have experienced a number of migration scenarios where it was decided to first upgrade old Visual Studio 2010 solutions to the latest and greatest version of Visual Studio (VS 2013 at this moment) without forcing a TFS upgrade at the same time.

Depending on the type of included projects for the Visual Studio solution, the TFS build might not work anymore because it requires other MSBuild .targets files (related to the .NET Framework version / Visual Studio version).

The easiest way to fix your TFS build failures is to modify the TFS 2010 build process templates and explicitly set the MSBuild ToolPath variable in the MSBuild activity to the upgraded Visual Studio version.

Visual Studio 2013 => C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\12.0\Bin