12 Sep 2010


TFS 2010 Power Tools + TFS Backup and Restore Hands on Lab

[Update: 23rd Sep 2010. Microsoft recommend NOT backing up SharePoint with the Power Tool until the Power Tools are updated. More info]


Last week Microsoft released an updated version of the Team Foundation Server 2010 Power Tools. This new (September) release includes a new Power Tool as well as updates to three of the existing Power Tools.

  • NEW – Team Foundation Server Backups
  • Updated – Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 Best Practices Analyzer
  • Updated – Team Explorer Enhancements
  • Updated – Team Foundation Power Tool (TFPT.EXE)

You can download and read more about the new Power Tools on the download page on Visual Studio Gallery. If you would like to know more about the new TFS Backup Plan Power tool, read-on…

I wanted to use this blog post to provide a quick pictorial run through of the new Team Foundation Server Backups power tool and to make available a Hands-On Lab I have written around the new TFS Backup Power Tool.

Hands On Lab

If you’d like to walk through a Hands-On Lab exercise to see how the TFS Backup and Restore works, you can download it here. (11 page PDF, ~623Kb)

This Hands-On Lab has been written and included in my TFS 2010: Configuration and Administration course. If you’d like to know more about the course, you can read more on the course webpage.

Pictorial walkthrough

If you’d just like to skim through some screenshots to get a feel for the TFS Backup Power tool, keep scrolling.

Creating a TFS Backup Plan in pictures.

After installing the Power Tools, Create a Backup Plan through the Team Foundation Server Console


The TFS Backup Plan is a Wizard based UI.


Provide a UNC path to where you want the database backup files to go


Choose how long you want to keep each backup set for.


Decide if you want to backup the SharePoint and SQL Reporting Services databases.


Provide details of the account to use


If you’ve setup SMTP details in TFS, provide an email address for TFS Backup failure notifications to be sent to.


Choose how frequently you want the backups to occur.


The schedule you choose can be quite specific.


Confirm the settings you have entered.


Keep your fingers crossed that the Readiness Checks all pass.


Finally your Backup Plan has been created.


All done.


You can view your TFS Backup plan from the Team Foundation Administration Console. You can also trigger a manual backup quickly and easily.


Here’s a manually trigger backup in progress.


The backup has completed successfully.


Here’s a sample of what will appear in the backup location.


Restoring from a backup in pictures.

Kick off the Restore wizard from the Start menu.


Provide the UNC path to where the backup sets are stored.


Provide the name of the SQL Server where you want to restore each database to.


Check your details are correct.


The Readiness Checks have all passed.


The restore in action.


Restore is all done.


So now you’ve got no excuse for not having up to date backups of your TFS Server databases.

  • http://Leonardwoody.com Leonard Woody

    Thanks for putting this together!

    • Paul Meh

      I’m new to TFS and was searching the web yesterday and I came across this article and another MSDN article that does not refer to TFS Backup Plan at all:


      This article is from March 2011, so it is very current. Would your method back everything up as it is described in the above article?



      • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

        Hi Paul,

        The results would be similar but I you would still need to backup the SQL Reporting Services encyption key yourself and you’d need to do the things listed under the heading “Back Up Additional Lab Management Components” yourself.


  • Sam

    Thank you for the great tutorial !

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  • Usman Javaid

    Great post. I have a question:

    We are working on business continuity (disaster recovery) of our mission critical servers and TFS is among one of the server which in case of a disaster needs to be restored on urgent basis. Please tell me how we can setup backups using TFS power tools so that we can quickly restore to another server in case of any disaster / hardware failure.

  • Sri kommana

    can I perform this backup without giving NETWORK_SERVICE any permissions to the backup folder(without using network_service account ) ? Or using Network_Service is mandatory ?

    • Paulo Moreno

      Hi, I have installed TFS 2010 in a virtual server, it’s possible use TFS Backup Plan in a local directory?

      • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

        Hi Paulo,

        The powertool has been designed to only accept a UNC path, not a local directory. I have not tried creating a shared folder on the local machine and trying to specify that in the backup powertool. That said, you really want to make sure your backups are NOT on the actual TFS server. If the TFS VM becomes corrupted, you would be able to get to your backups if they are stored on the same VM.



    • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

      Hi Sri,

      Yes you can use alternative accounts depending on your setup.



  • LVPrasad Y

    great Post, helped me alot.

    • ulfelf

      Hope you still is answering here….

      First, thanks for a great article!

      Second: Where are these jobs stored?
      I can’t find them in the SQL server, itself, so are they stored somehow, somewhare in Tfs_Configuration database?

      • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

        Hi ulfelf,

        I don’t have a TFS server nearby with the Backup Powertool configured to look closely for you. If my memory serves me, the Backup Powertool adds two scheduled tasks to the Windows Scheduler to do the backup and cleanup old backups. Have a look at these scheduled tasks and that should point you in the right direction.


        • ulfelf

          Thanks !
          Found them there.

          Is there a way to check the actual T-SQL for the steps, both backup and delete?

          • cliff

            Does this process also work when restoring to a different server?

          • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

            Hi Cliff,

            You can use the backups from one server and restore them to a different server. Unfortunately there are always more steps to moving the content then just this.

            You should check out this blog post on Aaron Bjork’s blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ablock/archive/2010/03/19/team-project-collection-deliver.aspx

            There is also some great guidance on the MSDN Library and the ALM Rangers will have more guidance should you need it.



          • Jason


            I have created a backup plan for 2012 and verified successfully. I ran the backup now and it succeded. My issue is that all my scheduled backups return an error on the last run result column. The logs only contain a header and no other information. Nothing is writing to the backup location. Have you seen anything like this ?


          • http://myalmblog.wordpress.com anthonyborton

            Hi Jason,

            This is not something I have seen. Can you provide more details about the exact error?

            Can you confirm which product versions you are using?
            – TFS 2012 with or without Update 1?
            – Which version of the Power Tools?
            – Which version of SQL Server? (Any Service Packs or CUs?)



          • Jason

            TFS 2012 without update 1 (trying to get good backup before updating)
            Powertools 2012
            SQL 2008 R2.

            I can run the backup now successfully. The scheduled backups however don’t write to the backup location and only leave an error.(Log only shows header info with no other details) I don’t see any other event errors in the backup time frame that might give more clues as to what is going on.

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