TFS Update 2 Offers Settings Preservation for In-Place Upgrades


UPDATE: Beginning with TFS 2012 Update 3, we will preserve your settings in the AT-Only wizard too.  Build settings will also be preserved when upgrading Build servers.  This functionality is built into a pop-up on the first page of the Build wizard that asks if you would like to restore your previous settings (click yes).  Beginning with TFS 2013, Proxy settings – including multiple endpoints – will be preserved in the same fashion.

Great news!

Given the new, faster release cadence of updates for TFS 2012, there has been great demand for improvements to the upgrade process; namely, to minimize any manual steps it requires of the user.  We want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from the new features available in our updates, and those of you who decide to jump on the “update train” need to stay current.  So in Update 2 we have done work to automatically preserve a deployment’s application tier settings for in-place upgrades.  Anyone upgrading to Update 2 from a previous version of TFS 2012 will see their settings persisted right away; those upgrading from TFS 2010 will not immediately benefit from this feature in Update 2 but can expect us to start preserving their settings in all future in-place upgrades, even between major releases.


What exactly does that mean? 

It means that when you install Update 2 and launch the upgrade wizard, you should see all your old settings pre-populated there.  With the exception of entering account passwords, you can expect to be able to click Next–>Next–>Next all the way through to completion (however, you’re not off the hook for verifying what we’ve populated!).  It also means that we will now persist any SSL bindings and custom ports you had configured for TFS and will do our best to keep changes you made to the AT’s web.config file.  In TFS 2013, we have updated our settings persistence to persist host headers and DNS names too.


(After you install, TFS will automatically recognize that your server previously had an Application Tier configured.  It will point you to the Upgrade wizard, and when you start the wizard you will see a message that we are loading your settings.)


A few caveats

Before you run your in-place upgrade, you should know these 3 things.

  • For those of you upgrading from a previous version of TFS 2012: In the past our docs said to manually uninstall the old version of TFS before installing and upgrading with the new version.  As many of you probably know, this actually isn’t necessary if you are upgrading from an earlier release of TFS 2012.  In this case, installing Update 2 will automatically uninstall the pre-existing build from your server as part of the process.  If you want to see your settings preserved for Update 2, you must not perform a manual uninstall of your previous TFS 2012 instance.  In the automated uninstall phase we check for your old settings and store them off before the process blows them away.  If you do choose to manually uninstall TFS, we will not be able to start persisting your settings until the *next *time you upgrade.

  • NOTE: If you are on a 2012 deployment with multiple application tiers, you can opt to quiesce, rather than uninstall, all your ATs before upgrading.  From there, you should apply Update 2 to the first AT using the upgrade wizard and then install the update to your other ATs one at a time using the AT-only wizard.

  • To preserve your old AT web.config customizations, we have a whitelist of settings that we might expect users to change and will merge those into the new web.config file.  We will save your old web.config next to it with a new extension: web.config.sav.  You may want to compare the two files and pull in anything we missed.

  • We do not currently persist your build settings when you upgrade a build-only server.  We are working on this for our next major release.


We want your feedback

We hope these improvements make the upgrade experience much better for everyone.  Since the updates are now one of the main ways we service TFS, this is a feature we hope to continue refining in the future.  If you notice any strange behavior or settings we’ve missed, we’d like to hear about it.  Comment below or send mails to TFCARE at Microsoft dot com.


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