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TFS2012: Installing Team Foundation Server 2012 Express

About TFS Blog Series

This blog post is part of a blog series to introduce Team Foundation Server to new users. The blog series will also contain articles targeting intermediate and expert users.  I will be using Team Foundation Server 2012 Update 1 and Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 throughout the series. If you have any questions or you want me to cover a specific topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Expertise Level


User Privileges

Administrator rights


TFS Express is a free version of Team Foundation Server for up to 5 users. Addition CALs can be purchased if your team size is over 5. You may not require a CAL if you have Visual Studio MSDN Subscription. To compare TFS Express with other TFS editions, check out this post.

System Requirements

Supported operating systems

Windows 7 SP1 (x86 and x64)
Windows 8 (x86 and x64)
Windows Server 2008 SP2 (x64)
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (x64)
Windows Server 2012 (x64)

Supported architectures

32-bit (x86)
64-bit (x64)

Hardware requirements

2.2 GHz or faster processor
4 GB of available hard disk space

Installation and Configuration for the First Time

The installation of TFS Express is pretty basic. This post shows you the steps just in case you would like to know what to expect during the installation. You can either download the ISO or launch the web installer. During the installation, the installer will check if the system already have SQL Server Express instance. TFS 2012 Express doesn’t support SQL Server Standard or Enterprise.

I am showing the installation process from the ISO file in the following steps

  • You can either mount, extract or burn the ISO file.
  • Double click the tfs_express file and press on Yes if it asks you to elevate the privileges


  • Change the installation path if required and check I accept the license agreement
  • Click the Install Now button


  • Wait for the installation to complete


  • Once the installation is complete, the Configuration Center will be launched
  • Select New Server and then click the Start Wizard button


  • At this point the configurator detects if an existing SQL Server Express instance that means the minimum requirements exist or the configurator will install a new instance of SQL Server Express and the TFS databases will be deployed to that instance


  • Click on the Change link, if you want to configure the user account and the port number
  • I leaving the default system account, but you may want to choose an account with higher privileges.


  • Click the Verify button


  • If all readiness checks passed, click on the Configure button


  • Press the Next button if all configuration steps complete successfully, otherwise go back and fix the error


    • Click on the Team Foundation Server link to open the web access. Click on the Close button to close the dialog



The installation should create a Default Collection. In Team Foundation terms, a team project collection is a container of 1 or more team projects.

  • Click on Start and Launch the Team Foundation Server Administration Console
  • Click on Team Project Collections node


Notice that the DefaultCollection was installed part of the installation. You can create a new collection for other teams from this screen.

In future posts, I will explain how to change the configurations of TFS Express, install lab environments, configure build server and other topics.

  1. January 9, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Good article, really liked it!

  2. March 7, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Nice one…very helpful.

    • Lajak Technologies Inc
      March 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      Glad you liked it

  3. Anand
    March 5, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Good one…. Thx!

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