Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 Power Tools

Microsoft Free

Power Tools are a set of enhancements, tools, and command-line utilities that increase productivity of Team Foundation Server scenarios.

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by Bill Faulk | December 13 2014

I tried this for the search functionality and unfortunately the searches for checked out files never return any results.

TFS 2012, Visual Studio 2012, Windows 7x64. I tried installing from a command windows run as administrator and that didn't help.

by | August 08 2014

by fokytapia | July 29 2014

by Niral Mistry | November 12 2013


Great Tool Indeed,
Use it very often and its making my day to day task easier saving lots of time,
well one suggestion I would like to give is tfpt getcs <changeset> command, pl. add one more functionality to that is to get the files to a different folder specified rather than to the workspace which is mapped to

Niral Mistry

by Ing. Lele | October 28 2013

by miproch | October 18 2013


In a future release, please add either a /force or a (Yes/No/All) capacity to UU.

I really like tfpt uu /recursive /noget, my finger grows tired of hitting 'y' repeatedly to the command I just gave.

Thank you,


by Aleksandar Totovic | October 08 2013

It's very nice

by Mahmoud Samara | September 24 2013

It's working great with Win server 2012, and Windows 8 Ent

by TNJMAN | September 03 2013

This makes TFS actually a pleasure. Saved me a lot of "struggling." Thanks for this offering!

by GTTG | July 18 2013

This doesn't work on Windows 8. It only offers one product for selection during the installation process and that is the Best Practices Analyzer.

TFS Power Tools Team July 22 2013
| Edit |

Have you installed Visual Studio on this machine? The Power Tools contain server and client components. If the Visual Studio 2012 client is not installed, the client components will not be available to you.

by joltcoder | July 11 2013

I use the shell extension more than i do the source control view inside of VS.

by GünterS | July 10 2013

by sebastin_saji | July 05 2013

I am facing an issue after installing TFS 2012 update 2 with my backups.

My Schedule backup (using latest power tool update 2) is not working. By clicking the “create scheduled backup” option nothing is happening.

MS Says: In CU2, the backup has moved from the Power Tools to the TFS product. & asked for some log files ...after providing those NO response!..

Can any one, please guide me to fix the issue?

TFS Power Tools Team July 05 2013
| Edit |

This is fixed in QU3. In QU2 if customers have a misconfigured Reporting Services instance, the WMI call throws an exception and the Scheduled Backups wizard fails to start. QU3 has just been released and has this fixed.

by Sergey Timanovsky | June 25 2013

TFS shell extensions cause explorer.exe crash on my Windows 8 Proffessional when i open some disks or folders.

by Calico Eric | June 11 2013

I cannot install this as the install fails in the middle claiming that "Windows Explorer" needs to be closed to proceed.

Products which cannot be installed are pretty useless so I give this one star (at least the install did not wipe my disk . . . ).

by Eliezer Perlmutter | May 08 2013

by Sergio Parra | April 27 2013

Great set of tools for TFS. I like it

by Nicolas Plourde - Keyrus Canada | April 24 2013

Great tool

by Johann Blais | April 19 2013

by TimAtHammerhead | February 15 2013

Apparently something is wrong with the version detection on this package. I have vs 2012 web express edition and applied update 1 all on a newly configured machine. A prerequisites page comes up indicating that virtually all the features require "Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio Team Explorer 2012". I have seen no mention of the power tools requiring the pro edition so I can only assume the detection criteria within the msi are incorrect?

TFS Power Tools Team March 01 2013
| Edit |

Thanks for your report. I have updated the description to include the prerequisites.

Ewald Hofman
TFS Program Manager

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  • Team Members Displays Wrong Members
    4 Posts | Last post June 01, 2016
    • We are using TFS 2012 with Update 3 installed.  Update 3 is installed on the developer machines as well.  I have configured several teams using both individual Windows users and Windows Groups.  When any of the developers go into the Team Members section under the Team Explorer tab it displays some of the members in the team and it displays some of the contacts for members not in the team in place of other team members.  So, for instance, I have a team with 5 members (including myself).  Of the 4 members that are displayed in the list 1 or 2 are members of the team and the rest are other people in the company.  Hitting the refresh button will sometimes cause the members to change but the result is same as what is displayed the first time.  It is using the Microsoft Lync provider (we are running Lync 2010).  Another semi-annoying issue is that if you check "Show My Contact" and hit apply the setting is not saved between views.
    • There are a couple of questions in your post that I will try to address.
      More people than expected: it is possible that the groups that you added to your team contain subgroups, which has the additional people in it. Could you verify if that is the case?
      Different results with refresh: loading the team members is an async operation and we stop loading when we have the max # of members. It is possible that the order in which we get the results is different every time we load the members
      Persisting the setting between views: thanks for the report. We have added a bug to track this, and we want to fix that in one of our future releases.
    • In the new Team I setup in TFS I explicitly added just the 4 other people who are on my team.  As such it is only users and not groups that have been added.  When I look at the settings it has Contact Limit set to 200 and only 4 people are being displayed (which is what I would expect).  This morning when I loaded up Visual Studio 2 of the members are people on my team and the other 2 are not.  If I go into the TFS Web Portal and look at the team management I see 5 people listed (counting myself).  None of those listed match the other two names that are coming up in Visual Studio.
    • I am finding exactly the same behavior with my list in Visual Studio. I did report in a different thread. The new thread is 
      However, neither suggestion has solved my issue.
      A.Gritt did you find a solution? 
  • TFSSHellExt hangs explorer.exe after standby
    17 Posts | Last post May 31, 2016
    • I noticed the last couple of days that TFSShellExt is hanging my explorer.exe after resuming my laptop from standby. In the Application event log there are a lot (64000+) events me like these:
      First these:
      Warning: TFS Shell Extension event:\n More than 5 failed calls to com provider. 
      Later this one is also logged:
      Error: TFS Shell Extension event:\n Failed to start COMProvider while calling CheckWorkstationCache.
      When this happens explorer.exe starts hogging cpu and memory (i have seen it go to 2GB memory and 50% cpu). Also the RPC service is using a lot of cpu.
      I have removed the ShellExtension to hopefully get rid of the problem. I'm using the 2012 Power tools and I have VS2012 and VS2013 installed. We use a TFS2010 server.
      Is this a know bug/issue? I couldn't find much information about this?
    • This is a known issue and we have an internal repro within Microsoft.  I'm working on a fix.
    • Has this issue been fixed yet?
    • The same issue after resuming from hibernation these days. Even keyboard/mouse stop working. But I found Remote Desktop from other computer can change current desktop into login screen, and keyboard/mouse works there. (But the Remote Desktop client still cannot get into the desktop) I choose to restart at login screen. That's better than power reset...
    • I found a way to kill exploere.exe from remote computer, using 
      "taskkill /s (ip) /im explorer.exe" (From Windows 8) or "tskill explorer /server:(ip) /a /v" (from Windows 7). But I only use it twice, it seems need to connect Remote Desktop too...?
      I found 2013 version of tool has update at 2014/4/3, but not seem from VS update notification... I have tried install new version and resume once... Not eating memory this time... Hope it's been fixed...
    • You mean this hasn't been fixed yet?!?? It's still happening in the TFS2013 Power Tools, too! It's polluting my Event Log making it extremely hard to find anything valuable.
    • OK, so I installed the 2013 TFS Power Tools (yes, I know this is the 2012 extension, but my problem was the same as that exhibited by the 2012 version, too). It turns out, that even though I had rebooted, my event log was still being polluted. However, I recently rebooted again and now the errors/warnings have gone away. Something just didn't sit right after installation and a few reboots did the trick :/
    • I found another workaround, run msi - Modify - uncheck Windows Shell Extension (x64) then restart...
    • Hi Guys,
      Yes, I have the same issue. It can be reproduced when connection to Team Foundation Server is lost. For me tools stop working when VPN connection to intranet is lost. I use VPN to connect to server.
      Will or is this issue fixed in future versions of power tools?
    • Yes, this is also happening to many people in our organization.  The issue has seemed to balloon in VS 2013
    • Open Task Manager in Windows and kill the TFS Power Tool Shell Extension processes (Tfs*.exe). Explorer should come back to normal. The TFS processes will re-spawn but they should work this time...until the next standby/hibernate.
    • It is still around, even though it was reported like one and a half year ago? I had to uninstall powertools, it got to annoying. Even though it seemed to "go away" when connected to the internet again after suspension.
    • Still experiencing this issue - I have uninstalled the TFS windows shell extension.
    • I have the same issue and my computer does not standby or hibernate.  It does appear after just locking the screen do to inactivity.  May be this is an additional repro case.
    • TFS Power Tools 2015 has no issue on "Windows Shell Extension" by my experience. I have VS 2015 installed. I don't know whether you can install 2015's "Windows Shell Extension" if you don't have VS 2015 installed. Anyone can give it a try and report here.
    • November 2015 - Issue still occurring.  I bumped up my event log space to 20 MB, and I still can't capture anything older than 40 seconds because there are literally 800 errors per second.
    • This is still happening with TFS 2015 Power Tools.
  • Workspace template not saved
    2 Posts | Last post March 17, 2016
    • I can create a workspace template without any issues, but as soon as I leave the Team Utilities tab the template seems to be lost. Upon returning to the tab, there is no saved workspace templates listed.
      Any ideas whey these workspace templates aren't persisting?
    • Hi Nick,
      I've found it shows no templates but if you click refresh they do load, just a little slow.  Hope it helps.
  • I can't even get the installation started...
    8 Posts | Last post April 09, 2015
    • Tried on multiple servers...
      [Window Title]
      Windows Installer
      [Main Instruction]
      This installation package could not be opened.  Contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer package.
    • Same issue, has this been fixed?
    • I am unable to reproduce it. What is the OS you want to install the power tools on? What is the version of TFS and VS you have installed?
    • Windows Server 2012. TFS 2012 Update 1. VS 2012 Update 1. The RTM version works, but your notes say not to use that with Update 1.
    • Still having this issue, and it has now been reported by our architect. Any updates? Won't I have problems if I continue to run the RTM power tools on VS 2012 Update 1 and TFS 2012 Update 1?
    • We will look into the install issue on Windows Server 2012. The RTM power tools should work with Update 1, but we have not tested it ourselves. So there might be some compatibility issues.
    • I have created a fresh windows server 2012 server, installed TFS and VS (both Update 1) and then the latest power tools. Everything went smoothly. Is there any virus or similar software running on the machine that prevents the installation package to be opened?
    • I had the same error by downloading the msi file with Chrome and starting the setup with the explorer.
      After downloading and run(on-the-fly) it with IE it worked.
  • Power Tools Vs.TFS MSSCCI Provider
    1 Posts | Last post January 13, 2015
    • Doe this Power Tools install replace the need to install the TFS MSSCCI Provider.  We use TFS MSSCCI Provider to connect MS SQL Server client to TFS instance such that we can check in, check out from the SQL Solution Explorer.  Will this Power Tools install by itself accomplish the same integration?
  • Error "Compare Against Latest Version"
    16 Posts | Last post October 31, 2014
    • I get an error "Cannot Execute the Configured Tool" whenever trying to compare against latest version from the explorer window.  Everything else seems to work fine.  Thanks.
    • Since installing I am also getting the message "Cannot Execute the Configured Tool" when trying to compare from TFS integration in access 2010. I think it's the same issue.
    • Yep.. just tried through the explorer shell get the same message when hitting the file directly.
    • What versions of TFS and VS are you using?
    • Hi, 
      Me too. I had previously set a different merge tool in Visual Studio Options>>Source Control>>Configure User Tools. I have since removed them and within Visual Studio the default compare/merge tool works fine.
      If I try compare/merge from tf.exe or from Power Tools it says "Cannot Execute the Configured Tool". Help!
      Visual Studio Professional 2012 Version 11.0.51106.01 Update 1
      TFS 2012 Server (don't know which version)
      Thanks for looking into this.
    • I do have exactly the same problem. As ash2093, I configured a different merge tool in VS2010 and now no longer use a custom tool with VS2012 (because it finally got useable).
      If I also configure a custom Tool in VS2012, the comparison works from the shell menu. But that's not what I want.
    • We are seeing the same issue here as well.
    • I had a similar problem, but driving the compare & merge tools from Matlab, using the MSSCCI provider for TFS. As described, configuring a custom compare tool worked. It struck me that I might be able to configure the VS 2012 internal compare tool as if it were an external tool, using its command line interface, and that worked (well it works almost always). The details are here:
      I've tried to do the same with the built-in merge tool, but so far with only partial success. Any suggestions would be VERY welcome (replies to SO please)
    • Hello everyone, 
      Thank you for reporting this issue and sorry for inconvenience this might have caused. We are trying to reproduce this issue locally but we could not so we need your help to get to the bottom of this issue please if you can provide the following information that would be of tremendous help for us:
      1) Environment information
      - Windows Version
      - Visual Studio version (All the ones installed on your machine)
      - Power tools version (All the ones installed on your machine
      (We are interested to know whether you have SxS different versions or SKUs)
      - Access & Matlab versions (x86 or x64 too)
      2) TF.exe and TFPT.exe : If you are facing this issue when executing diff from either TF.exe or TFPT.exe can you please send us the following:
      a) Trace logs and here is how to collect them. 
      - Open TF.exe.config or TFPT.exe.config and add the following entries (Note you will need to replace 'm:\\tfpt.exe.log' with a path that works for you.
              <add key="TFTrace.Writer" value="true" />
              <add key="TFTrace.DirectoryName" value="%TEMP%\\TFLogFiles" />
              <add key="VersionControl.EnableSoapTracing" value="true" /> 
              <add key="VersionControl.TraceDownloadContent" value="false" /> 
                  <add name="DiffMerge" value="4" />
              <trace autoflush="true" indentsize="3">
                    <add name="fileListener" type="System.Diagnostics.TextWriterTraceListener" initializeData="m:\\tfpt.exe.log"   />
      - run the failing scenario and reproduce the issue
      - send us the logs here
      b) Export the following 2 keys from your registry
    • Correcting the reg key entries:
    • Hey everyone, installing VS 2012 Update 3 ( should fix this problem.
      I was able to repro the "Cannot Execute the Configured Tool" error with  VS 2012 Update 2 and the current version of the shell extension.  Installing Update 3 fixed Compare for me.
    • VS 2012 Update 3 does NOT fix the problem on my computer. I installed the update and also did a 'repair' using that update, both without any effect.
      I have some additional information: the problem also occurs when using TF.exe (without accessing the functionality through the shell extensions).
      Using the logging options Youhana mentioned, I at least managed to see the exception that caused the problem:
      tf Error: 0 : [Error, PID 7304, TID 2332, 2013/10/15 05:48:12.275, 22717 ms, VersionControl,DiffMerge] An unknown error occurred executing DTE command :
      System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x800702E4): Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID {059618E6-4639-4D1A-A248-1384E368D5C3} failed due to the following error: 800702e4 Der angeforderte Vorgang erfordert erhöhte Rechte. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800702E4).
         at System.RuntimeTypeHandle.CreateInstance(RuntimeType type, Boolean publicOnly, Boolean noCheck, Boolean& canBeCached, RuntimeMethodHandleInternal& ctor, Boolean& bNeedSecurityCheck)
         at System.RuntimeType.CreateInstanceSlow(Boolean publicOnly, Boolean skipCheckThis, Boolean fillCache, StackCrawlMark& stackMark)
         at System.RuntimeType.CreateInstanceDefaultCtor(Boolean publicOnly, Boolean skipCheckThis, Boolean fillCache, StackCrawlMark& stackMark)
         at System.Activator.CreateInstance(Type type, Boolean nonPublic)
         at System.Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
         at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.DiffMerge.DTEDiscoveryUtility.CreateVsInstance()
         at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.DiffMerge.DTEDiscoveryUtility.ExecuteCommand(Action`1 action)
    • open command console as administrator, in case you want to use TF /diff command.
      "Cannot Execute the Configured Tool" will disappear.
    • Thanks for the hint NgocNT1!
      I can confirm that it works when executing tf diff from a command line that I opened as Administrator.
      This lead me to the source of the issue: I configured devenv.exe to always run as administrator. I now removed that flag, and comparison works again. 
      I created a separate shortcut to run VS as administrator which doesn't affect the settings of devenv.exe.
    • Managed to resolve the problem where explorer diffs weren't working giving "Cannot execure configured tool" error - by disabling the 2012 diff tool and reverting back to old 2010 VS one.
      Arguments changed to "%1 %2 %6 %7 %5 /ignorespace"
      Command changed to "c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\diffmerge.exe"
      Did similar for merge tool:
      Arguments changed to "/merge %1 %2 %3 %4 %6 %7"
      Command changed to "c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\diffmerge.exe"
    • Hi. We are using VS2013. Some users are on Update 2 and some on Update 3. We have found that if we run VS as administrator (which we need to do in order to hook to w3wp process when debugging) we cannot use Power Tools Compare function when executed from explorer. 
      Method to reproduce.
      Launch VS2013 as Admin.
      Go to branch in explorer > context menu > TFS History
      history window opens.
      right click changeset > changeset details > right click file > compare with previous version > ERROR - Cannot execute the configured tool.
      Is there a resolution to this problem by any chance? Shutting down VS (devenv.exe) every time we want to use explorer context doesn't seem like a viable solution. 
  • Unable to find TFS 2012 Power Tools in Open File Dialog
    1 Posts | Last post October 09, 2014
    • I am trying to maintain .sql files in TFS solution. But I would like to open the .sql file in SQL server rather than Visual Studio Editor. So I use SQL server, open file dialog to open the .sql file under TFS. But when I save the .sql file contents, it wont be reflected under TFS. So I installed TFS 2012 Power Tools to checkout the file outside TFS. I can find the checkout option, when I right click the file under that folder. But I would like to checkout the .sql TFS file in open file dialog itself. I am unable to find that option. 
      Ragul Vasudevan
  • Deployment of Power Tools MSI via GPO
    1 Posts | Last post September 04, 2014
    • We are trying to deploy Power Tools using the MSI installer and Group Policy software deployments to all developer PCs @ our firm. We get an error: "This installer package does not support Admin or Advertised installations." when attempting to add any of the MSI installers as a software package in a group policy object. Is this not deployable using this method?
  • tfpt online not working with TFS 2012
    3 Posts | Last post July 15, 2014
    • Ever since we upgraded our TFS server to 2012 we can't use the 'tfpt online' command anymore, the error message is 'This command doesn't support local workspaces'. Other commands, like 'tfpt uu', work fine. I hoped it would've been solved with update 1, but it didn't. Is there something I'm missing?
      If I try 'tfpt online' on the same machine but inside a (similar mapped) workspace mapped to our old TFS2010 server it also works fine.
    • ah, got it... (wasn't aware of the new 'local workspace' concept in TS2012)
    • To expand on the previous response a little, converting your workspace from 'local' to 'server' means that tfpt online will run.
  • Scheduled Backups tab missing in admin console
    2 Posts | Last post April 23, 2014
    • Hi
      I have TFS 2012 installed on win server 2012 R2 and the server I installed tfs 2012 power tools with latest update, but after installation i didn't find 'Scheduled Backups' tab in TFS admin console.
    • The TFS version for which i the above issues is for RTM, so I updated RTM TFS to TFS Update 4 and then I can see the "Scheduled Backups" Tab.
      So is that RTM does not support "Scheduled Backups"?
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