How to: Move your TFS server to a friendly name

As more and more people adopt Team Foundation Server around the world, teams are finding that they’re out-growing their initial hardware. Then what happens is the IT Infrastructure guys say that there’s no more room in the existing data center.

Strangely enough I’ve seen this situation more than once in the past couple of years. What usually ends up happening is this:

  • The server gets more hardware
  • But it needs to move to another data center to accommodate it
  • Which means that the IT Operations guys want to change the server name

In the most common scenario the server wasn’t setup initially with a “friendly name”. A friendly name is a DNS alias that people use to connect and it redirects them to the actual server installation. It’s generally easier to remember and looks better in reports and screen captures.

For example: might be a friendly name for, where d0314d56-c is the asset tag of the server and Hawaii is the data center.


Fortunately the steps are pretty well documented and tested for renaming a TFS application tier server. Just don’t do the “To rename the computer” steps.

There are a couple of things that the guide misses, I’ll cover them in the next couple of paragraphs:

Team Build

More information available here.

If you need to change the TFS Server for your TFS Build Agent:

  • Open C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\tfsbuildservice.exe.config
  • Change <add key="AllowedTeamServer" value="" />  to use the new name.
  • Open Computer Management | Services
  • Restart the Team Foundation Build service

I've also found that sometimes you need to update the AllowedTeamServer registry key in the HKCU of the build server user. Buck Hodges has more on this setting.

  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\TeamFoundation\Build\Service\AllowedTeamServer

Rebinding Excel / Project files

If you have previously saved queries in Microsoft Excel & Project files, they will still be bound to the old server name. Unfortunately this server name is embedded in the metadata of the file and there’s no user interface to change it. One option is to just recreate the files but this is not always straightforward – especially in the case of a project plan where not everything is synchronized with TFS.

Fortunately there’s an option now. Download the 2008 Team Foundation Power Tools and have a look at the “tfpt.exe changedocurl” command.

Update the server information. TFS server information is stored as metadata in TFS bound Excel or Project files. But there might be cases where server is renamed, port number is changed, or the protocol is changed (i.e. https instead of http). This command updates the server information on existing files.

Usage: tfpt changedocurl filespec /server:serverurl

Windows SharePoint Services

One of the things you might find happening is that when people browse to the friendly url for sharepoint, they are redirected to the unfriendly name. This is not catastrophic but it can be annoying if you want everybody to use the friendly name.

I picked up the fix for this off Team System MVP – Etienne’s blog:

  • You will need to add few zones in SharePoint Administration v3:
  • Logon to the Application Tier
  • Open: Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools | SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration
  • Browse to: Operations | Alternate Access Mappings (under Global Configuration)
  • Add two mappings:
    • internal URL
    •, Zone: Intranet
    •, Zone: Intranet

Hope this helps!

Comments (1)
  1. If one of the following action are planned you should ready the appropriate documentation: Change the

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