Visual Studio 2012 Application Lifecycle Management Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts

January 10, 2014 Update: I ran some tests again today and activation is working again! Please follow the steps in the “Working with…” document and you should be able to activate the virtual machine now (if not, please let me know). The bad news is that I still don’t know what caused the activation servers to break in the first place, but I have some open mail threads with that team and I hope to learn more about how to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Known Issue as of Jan 6 2014: Windows Activation for the evaluation O/S that this VM is based on is currently failing for all users. This issue is under investigation. Note that activation is not required to use this VM. More details can be found here.
July 10, 2013 Update: One of our partners, eDev Technologies, has created a supplemental set of hands-on-labs which showcase inteGREAT - their requirements management solution for Team Foundation Server. More details are available here.
April 17, 2013 Update: This virtual machine and corresponding hands-on-labs / demo scripts have been upgraded to use Visual Studio 2012 Update 2. All labs were revised slightly based on Update 2, with two labs gaining new exercises which demonstrate Update 2 capabilities. Updated labs are listed in the table below.

I’m very pleased to announce the availability of the Visual Studio 2012 RTM ALM Virtual Machine along with 21 hands-on-labs / demo scripts. This includes 9 ALM scenarios which are new in Visual Studio 2012, and another 12 scenarios which were introduced in Visual Studio 2010, giving you a single virtual environment for learning about or demonstrating a wide range of ALM capabilities.

You can download and install Visual Studio 2012 (and Team Foundation Server 2012, .NET Framework 4.5, etc.). But if you would like a fast way to understand what is new for application lifecycle management in this release, this virtual machine is pre-configured with all of the necessary software and sample data for you.

Before I get into what’s included, there are a few quick limitations to disclose:

  • This is a Hyper-V virtual machine and works with Windows Server 2008 x64, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8 (with SLAT-capable processors) and Windows Server 2012. If you try to load this with Virtual PC it will blue screen since Virtual PC does not support 64-bit operating systems.
  • Windows is configured to set the system clock to May 16, 2012 every time you start this virtual machine. This is to support the project management hands-on-lab. If you want to work with this virtual machine beyond the specific hands-on-labs scenarios, you may need to disable the Set Date and Time task (Task Scheduler -> Task Scheduler Library -> Set Date and Time -> Right-Click -> Disable).
  • Please take a few minutes to read the Working with… document for some important instructions on properly importing and working with this virtual machine.

With the limitations out of the way, onto the fun stuff…

This virtual machine is configured with:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 Update 2
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 Update 2
  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • Microsoft Project 2010
  • Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook)
  • Microsoft Visio 2010
  • Sample users and data required to support hands-on-lab scripts which accompany this download and exercise 21 ALM scenarios, including 8 new capabilities from Visual Studio 2012 and 12 capabilities which were originally introduced in the Visual Studio 2010 release.


There are 21 hands-on-labs for you to take a scripted approach towards learning this content. These labs double as demo scripts in case you want to show off these features to others:

New features in Visual Studio 2012:

Labs upgraded from Visual Studio 2010:

Links to the files above are included in the download set below, so you don’t have to follow the individual links above if you plan on batch downloading all of the files in this set.

There are also DemoMates available for most of these hands-on-labs / demo scripts which you can download here. DemoMates are useful for being able to “click through” the scenarios above without needing to download and run the virtual machine.

Downloading the virtual machine and labs:
I suggest using a download manager for these files since they are very large. My download manager of choice is Free Download Manager. You can use your own favorite download manager, but you may need to adapt the instructions below as appropriate.

1. Download and install Free Download Manager. This utility provides:
- Auto-resume support for interrupted downloads.
- Multiple simultaneous download streams for (usually) a much faster download experience.
- As the name implies, it's completely free.
2. Select the URL’s below and copy (CTRL+C) them to your clipboard.

###Start - Do Not Include This Line### with the Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 RTM ALM Virtual Machine.docx Project Management in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012.docx and Running Manual Tests using Microsoft Test Manager 2012.docx and Merging Visualization with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012.docx the Right Software - Generating Storyboards and Collecting Stakeholder Feedback with Visual Studio 2012.docx Discovery using the Architecture Tools in Visual Studio Ultimate 2012.docx with IntelliTrace using Visual Studio Ultimate 2012.docx Issues in Production with IntelliTrace and Visual Studio 2012.docx Testing and Other Enhancements in Microsoft Test Manager 2012.docx Management Improvements in Visual Studio 2012.docx to Coded UI Tests with Visual Studio Ultimate 2012.docx to Platform Testing with Microsoft Test Manager 2012.docx to PreEmptive Analytics.docx to Test Case Management with Microsoft Test Manager 2012.docx to Test Planning with Microsoft Test Manager 2012.docx Developers More Productive with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012.docx Class Coupling with Visual Studio Ultimate 2012.docx Testing, Code Coverage and Code Clone Analysis with Visual Studio 2012.docx Code Analysis with Visual Studio 2012 to Improve Code Quality.docx the Architecture Explorer in Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 to Analyze Your Code.docx to Web Performance and Load Testing with Visual Studio Ultimate 2012.docx and Debugging SharePoint 2010 Applications with Visual Studio 2012.docx
###End - Do Not Include This Row In Your Selection###

3. Launch the user interface for Free Download Manager (either from the Start Menu or via the system tray icon if FDM is already running).
4. Click File -> Import -> Import List of URLs from Clipboard.
5. When prompted for a download group, accept the default and click OK.
6. You are now free to minimize Free Download Manager while the files download. By default, they will be saved to c:\downloads.
7. Expand the files and self-extracting RAR set and see the “Working with…” document for more instructions.

I hope you will enjoy this content as a way of learning how Visual Studio can help you improve your team’s overall application lifecycle management capabilities. If you have suggestions for how to improve this virtual machine and set of demos / hands-on-labs please let me know.

Comments (42)

  1. Tarun Arora says:

    Once again, Great Work Brian!

  2. El Bruno says:

    Really cool !! Thanks Bryan 😀

  3. Janynne Gomes says:

    Thanks for sharing, man! It's really awesome!

  4. Karel Deman says:

    Exceptional – great work Brian!!

  5. Norwill Gutierrez says:

    Download Rigth Now !!!! Thanks a lot

  6. Parag Barve says:

    Thanks for sharing the VM with the hands on lab, it’s really awesome 🙂

  7. JeffKevin says:

    Thanks for sharing,

    But the blue screen appear and disappear quickly and I can not run

    What do you expect .. Where is the problem?

  8. Brian Keller says:

    @JeffKevin, you're most welcome! Sorry you're having trouble. Did you follow the "Working with…" document to import this into Hyper-V? Note that you must import this virtual machine, don't just attach the VHD file to a new virtual machine. Some other things to try:

    – Do you use Windows Server 2008 R2? With Service Pack 1? If not, I suggest upgrading; there are numerous improvements for Hyper-V in that release.

    – Do you use other Hyper-V virtual machines successfully?

    I have had dozens of emails from people saying that this worked for them, so hopefully we can get it working for you, too.


  9. Delio Dessaune says:

    Thanks for sharing. Great work Brian!!

  10. Raja upen says:

    Thanks for Great Work

  11. Yuval Gatenio says:

    Is there a VM for Virtual PC (Windows 7)?

    Maybe this VM can be used by it? (i've tried just to asign the VHD but the VM keeps on restarting…)

  12. Brian Keller says:

    @Yuval, nope. Virtual PC is 32-bit only, this is a 64-bit image which was built for Hyper-V.

  13. Tarun__Arora says:

    @Brian –  Code review is indeed an exciting new feature introduced in TFS 11. I have found some bugs and missing features in my assessment that I have blogged about here Cheers, Tarun *** And my earlier comment at the top of the comment list is still valid 🙂 ***

  14. Senthilraj says:

    Unfortunately the downloaded version of Virtual hard disk requires Hyper V server.. So it is very hard to get hand on.. Because to setup the Hyper V in desktop is major challenge like hardware compatibility or dual boot etc.,   I am not sure why Microsoft not support the desktop version of Virtualization like Virtual PC..  After downloading the entire stuff only I came to know.. Any work around is available to explore this..Cheers

  15. Brian Keller says:

    @Senthilraj, that's right; it says so at the very top of my blog post. I will try to make this more clear. Virtual PC does not support 64-bit operating systems, and Windows Server 2008 R2 (which is the operating system used for my virtual machine) is 64-bit only. In the future, client operating systems from Microsoft starting with Windows 8 will support Hyper-V natively. But the current developer preview of Windows 8 does not work with my virtual machine. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

  16. Graham says:

    Excellent work… but when I run the RAR.EXE, I get a CRC Error saying 'unexpected end of archive' (or similar)… but it doesn't tell me which file is corrupted 🙂

    Is there any chance you could post the MD5 Hashes of the RAR files so I can work out which one to download again? This utility will let you easily do this – just run it from the directory containing your RAR's:…/841290. I really don't want to download the whole thing again 🙂


  17. Brian Keller says:

    Hi Graham,

    There's no need to publish the MD5 since the RAR file set is self-CRC checking. If you're getting that error and it's not listing another file then that tells me it's the first file (the EXE) which is having an issue. If you were having an issue with another file in the set then the extractor would list the specific affected file.

    I would suggest restarting the download. Sorry it's so big, I made it as small as I could.


  18. Abhishek lohani says:

    Hi Brain Great work •!! specially in Exploratory Testing  in Microsoft Test Manager 11

  19. AshleyN says:

    Hi Brian – loving this VM though I have an issue. When editing the new work item for weather related outages in the Agile lab, when I click Save and Close, I get the 'TFS54000 – Cannot update data because the server clock may have been set incorrectly' error. The VM's clock is reading 8.04PM, 9/14/2011

    Any help would be appreciated!


  20. Brian Keller says:

    @Hi Ashley, thanks for the kind words!

    Your error is almost certainly because you did some work on another lab (which involved manipulating work items) before attempting this lab, and you either manually rolled the clock back or rebooted which will do the same. While the lab does need to assume it's 9/14, work item manipulations may never go backwards in Team Foundation Server. Hence I suggest rolling back to the base state of the VM – if you created an initial snapshot per my instructions in the Working With document you can roll back to that, else you'll want to re-extract the RAR set. Or you could just fast-forward the date sufficiently in the future and keep in mind that the graphs on the agile dashboard will not be accurate.

  21. AshleyN says:

    Brian – thanks for coming back so quickly. If I could have deleted my comment, I would have done so as I figured out what happened. Indeed you're correct, I'd entered the work item, then powered the VM off and on so the clock had reset to 8PM. It was around 11PM (VM time) before I'd gotten around to adding the item prior to the power cycle so TFS was probably quite bewildered at receiving edits to a WI which was created in the future.

    Anyway, I'm back on track, so it's back to the lab for me!



  22. Brian Keller says:

    @Ashley, great! Glad to hear it. And no worries on the comment deletion, I don't mind helping at all.

  23. JamesH says:

    I've got this working on Windows 7 using VirtualBox. Just make sure you remove the SATA controller and replace it with a adding the virtual hard disk to the IDE controller otherwise it blue screens. And now it seems to work fine.

    I used this article to configure my VirtualBox


  24. Hi Brian! None of the files are available to download now. Please, could you tell if they will get back? Thank you.

  25. Brian Keller says:

    @Rapace77, works on my machine, I'm not sure what to tell you.

  26. Manish Jain says:

    VS11 not able to connect to TFS.

    I cannot open TFS Admin console: TF257012: An unhandled exception occured and the asministration console will close. For more information, review the configuration logs.

    I checked folder is empty: C:Program FilesMicrosoft Team Foundation Server Dev11ToolsLogs

    Problem signature:

     Problem Event Name: CLR20r3

     Problem Signature 01: tfsmgmt.exe

     Problem Signature 02: 11.0.40815.1

     Problem Signature 03: 4e48bd93

     Problem Signature 04: System.Data

     Problem Signature 05: 4.0.30319.17020

     Problem Signature 06: 4e3b6ca2

     Problem Signature 07: 252c

     Problem Signature 08: 3

     Problem Signature 09: X3Y5VJTOGP3C2XTTWTPAWN1HVR44DNDY

     OS Version: 6.1.7601.

     Locale ID: 1033

     Additional Information 1: 259b

     Additional Information 2: 259b1460ac29398d3a3f6934ebb9ac39

     Additional Information 3: 98c7

     Additional Information 4: 98c7bc82b2af6b68e7a8e2b1a9807682

    Read our privacy statement online:

    If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:


  27. Brian Keller says:

    Manish, did you follow the instructions in the "Working with…" document? Most likely this is because of a timeout. Usually timeouts are caused by either slow hardware (where you are hosting your virtual machine) or because of slow network resolution (which can usually be alleviated by ensuring that you have assignd a network adapter – since I don't suggest attaching this to an external network adapter, an internal network adapter is usually your best bet).

    Please let me know if that helps.

  28. Manish Jain says:

    Thanks Brian. I was on NW. Local just works fine. 🙂

  29. Jon Marozick says:

    I'm getting a path not found when attempting to download these with FDM. Is there a new location?

  30. Brian Keller says:

    @Jon, sorry you're having trouble, but I just checked again and it works on my machine. None of the files have changed. Please make sure you copied/pasted the right lines above. Maybe try a single URL in Internet Explorer and see if it resolves.

  31. I am trying to start the Developer Preview but getting error "failed to initialize"

    Any suggestions

  32. Brian Keller says:

    @MRoy, usually there is more to this error message. Try expanding the column. Most often it's because you don't have enough RAM available. You can edit the settings of the VM to reduce the RAM for this VM, but the less you make available the slower it will run. You might need a physical machine that has more memory available.

  33. Ami Schreiber says:

    Also, the screenshots above and their accompanying descriptions are all cut off.

  34. Brian Keller says:

    @Ami, depending on your screen resolution they might be, yes. Try viewing in the RSS feed which doesn't have the MSDN chrome on it:…/rss.aspx

  35. Ami Schreiber says:

    Where did my first comment go? 🙂

    That was the one with all of my questions.

  36. Brian Keller says:

    @Ami, I don't know, sorry, nothing in my moderation queue. 🙁 Feel free to email me:…/contact.aspx

  37. Ami Schreiber says:

    I will try reposting. If that fails I'll email. I'd rather post in case other's have similar questions.

    I was wondering how much of an effort was put into the Web Access component? How powerful is it? Can it really be used to replace some of the more defect tracking systems on the market? I know that in previous versions of TFS the defect and task management features were somewhat lacking. Is Microsoft looking to move in a less developer-centric approach with this release? Will business/requirements analysts, PMs and testers still have to install VS in order to gain full access to the features of TFS or will everything be made available via the web interface?

    TFS has always been fine for developers and I see many improvements being made with each iteration. However, it's greatest strength is also it's greatest weakness -tight integration with VS. If you aren't a developer it just doesn't feel right.

    I guess that what I'm asking is, has the the Web Access component finally become a first class citizen?


  38. Brian Keller says:


    Can you clarify what you mean when you say that the previous versions were "somewhat lacking" for you? Have you tried the virtual machine posted here and opened up the web access portal? Have you tried the stakeholder feedback hands-on-lab?

    There are some features of TFS which are only surfaced in VS, but I know plenty of project managers who use the Web/Excel/Project integration and never drop into VS.

    I'd love to give you a thorough answer to your question but I need to know more about what your expectations are, and what you've already played with from the VS11 developer preview.


  39. Buzza says:

    Is this VHD compatible with Virtual Box ?

  40. Buzza says:

    Sorry missed the post comment about Virtual Box compatibility – works a treat

  41. Guest says:

    Hi Brian,

    VM is wonderful… It really giving us an absolute hands on for the new features of Vnext. I got an issue while working on TFS2011.

    I have a customized process template and i have installed it on virtual machine . While creating a new project i am selecting this new  process template and it throws an "SPException thrown: Message: The site template requires that the Feature {a392da98-270b-4e85-9769-04c0fde267aa} be installed in the farm or site collection.".  while creating a sharepoint site. "

    This GUID referes to the Publishing Feature in sharepoint . I am unable to find this feature in the Sahrepoint site of VM. Can you pls help me if it requires any thing else to install in VM.

  42. Brian Keller says:


    I'm glad you're enjoying the VM.

    I'm sorry I haven't seen that error before. But I do know that your process template can require that you have particular SharePoint features enabled. This is described somewhat here:…/ff678492.aspx

    When I searched for that particular GUID, I discovered a few hits:

    I hope that helps a bit.


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