Common issue using Team Foundation Server with an external connection: Documents and Reports items becomes unavailable

Team Foundation Server is a very useful tool for team work, badly designed (no secret about that), but useful. The definition itself for TFS almost obligates you that this tool must be accessible not only from the internal network from your company, but also must be from external networks and the Internet.

That’s when the problem appears. If you use Internet as the media to connect to TFS, probably you have this issue: even with all the permission in place, the Documents and Reports items from Team Explorer becomes unavailable.

Like you know, you can use the FQDN (fully qualified domain name) of the Team Foundation Server name as the connection’s name with Team Explorer, for example: server01.domain.com. Or even you can use the server’s IP. But what happens if you want to work at home with any project within TFS?. If you don’t have a VPN (virtual private network) at your organization to make valid connections with Active Directory it can be very difficult to accomplish that.

First you must achieve that you actually have a FQDN available to be used over the Internet. For example, if you own a web site for your organization, like http://www.mycompany.com, you can add a DNS record (tfs.mycompany.com) as a valid connection for your server. This post it’s intended to solve the named issue for TFS and not to guide you for a proper configuration of TFS over Internet, we can dedicate that topic to another post.

Let’s focus on the problem. You have everything in place for a TFS connection over the Internet but you get the Documents and Reports items unavailable, like if you don’t have the proper permissions in place. This is a common issue within the SQL Reporting Services and the FQDN of your TFS connection. Here’s the solution:

1 – Open cmd on your Team Foudantion Server. If you have a dual-server configuration, this must be done on the Application Tier.
2 – Type “cd %programfiles%Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation ServerTools” and press enter.
3 – Run “tfsadminutil activateat “

4 – Run “regedit.exe“.
5 – Access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftVisualStudio8.0TeamFoundationReportServer

6 – Right-click on the “Key” record and select “Modify“.
7 – Insert the TFS FQDN that you use over the Internet connection.

Now test again the connection with your Team Explorer and all the items should be available to you.

I hope you find it useful!

Cheers!

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