How to perform a silent install of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer

I have previously posted instructions for performing a silent installation for Visual Studio 2005 and the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions.  A customer read those previous blog posts and asked a follow-up question about how to perform a silent installation of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer, which is the client software needed to access Team Foundation Server.

Team Explorer setup is architected in a way that is similar to the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions, but the silent installation instructions are a bit easier because unattended INI file creation was not specifically disabled in setup UI like it was for the Express Editions.

How to perform a silent install of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer

Here are the steps that you can use to perform a silent installation of Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer:

  1. Launch Team Explorer setup in unattended INI creation mode by running <Team Foundation source location>\tfc\setup.exe /createunattend <path to INI file to create>
  2. Step through the setup UI and enter your product key, etc.  Note that the setup UI will not appear any differently for unattended mode than for normal install mode, so it will appear that you are about to install the product even though you are only intending to create an INI file
  3. Click the Install button to create the INI file.  When setup advances to the completion page, it will appear to have failed and will show you a dialog similar to the following:

    Team Explorer unattended INI creation error

    This error is incorrect and can be safely ignored.

  4. Launch Team Explorer setup in unattended install mode by running <Team Foundation source location>\tfc\setup.exe /unattendfile <path to INI file listed in step 1 above>

Please note that the above steps are not documented with the product because this unattended mode is not officially supported.  Unattended INI creation mode is not specifically blocked in the Team Explorer setup UI code, but it is also not an "official" feature, and as such has not been tested as thoroughly as other setup features.  That being said, it appeared to work fine for me in the scenarios that I tried.

More in-depth details about Team Explorer silent installation

  • If you plan to create an INI and install Team Explorer on Windows Vista, you will need to use a workaround similar to the one I previously described here to prevent setup from trying (and failing) to install the .NET Framework 2.0, which is already a part of the OS on Vista.
  • If you want to be able to suppress reboots during Team Explorer silent installation, you will need to manually install each of the prerequisites as I described in this blog post about suppressing reboots during Visual Studio 2005 silent install.  Team Explorer setup suffers from the same bug that I described in that post, so the same type of workaround must be applied.
  • I don't know of a way to automate the installation of the server pieces of Team Foundation Server.  However, there is a set of walkthroughs for configuring and administering the server-side pieces of Team Foundation Server that may be useful to you.

<update date="1/21/2010"> Fixed broken link to image. </update>


Comments (11)
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  3. shayc says:

    Is there a similar way to create an unattended install of TFC build?

    The above arguments (/createunattend  and /unattendfile) do not seem to be supported.

  4. Hi Shayc – By TFC build, I assume you mean the team build portion of Team Foundation Server.  If so, there is not a supported silent install/deployment solution for that product unfortunately.  I would suggest reporting this as a feature suggestion for the next version on the bug reporting site ( to make sure that the team working on the next version of this product recognizes the need for this feature.

  5. Alexander Musiol says:

    I am trying to install the Team Explorer silently on a terminal server. All components are going to be installed, but the team Explorer and the Office Plugins are not going to be installed. Does anyone know this problem?

  6. Hi Alexander – I’m not sure I understand your question.  Is your install failing, or are you trying to create a customized silent install that excludes some components?  Can you please provide more detail about what you are trying to accomplish and what (if any) errors you’re encountering?

  7. Alexander Musiol says:

    Ok i proceed the following steps on the terminal server:

    -Create an unattend installation via setup.exe /CreateUnattend

    -change Actioninteger from 5 to 1 as described in this blog

    -start unattend installation via setup.exe /UnattendFile

    The setup runs install different parts of the Client like XMLParser, Premium Partner Edition, but the Team Explorer and the plugins are not going to be installed. No errors in the eventlog.

    When i run the setup manually over the GUI, the installation in successfully and the Team Explorer and the plugins were installed.

  8. Hi Alexander – I assume you are trying to change the ActionInteger values to help manage reboots like I described at  Is that accurate?  If so, I’m not sure why those changes would cause Team Explorer itself to not install.  Can you please zip and send me your original, unmodified INI file, your modified INI file and the log file from your attempted installation so I can take a look and see if I can figure anything out?  You can send these items to Aaron.Stebner (at) Microsoft (dot) com.

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  10. Phanita says:

    Hi Aaron,

    I’ve tested your suggestion (But I use TE 2008) on my local machine (Don’t have Visual studio. I’m going to install TE only) and found that if machine doesn’t have "microsoft visual studio 2008 shell (integrated mode)" then the steps in your post won’t work. I tested this on another machine that has "microsoft visual studio 2008 shell (integrated mode)", everyting is ok?

    Do you have any suggesstion?

  11. Hi Phanita – The steps in this blog post are for Team Explorer 2005, not 2008.  I haven’t tried the equivalent steps in Team Explorer 2008, so there is a chance it doesn’t work the same way.  I will try to make some time to try out the Team Explorer 2008 silent install scenario soon, but keep in mind that there is not an officially supported way of doing this, so even if we can come up with a way to get it to work, it will be "use at your own risk."

    In the meantime, do you have any logs from the installation scenario that failed that we could use to try to narrow down the cause?  There is a list of log files produced by VS 2008 setup in the blog post at

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