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TFS2012 Express: Advanced Configuration Part 2

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



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. To learn how to install TFS Express edition click here

This article is a continuation for TFS2012 Express Advance Configuration Part 1 article. We will continue looking on what we can do with the TFS Express Admin console.


Change TFS Service Account

Open the TFS Express Admin Console from the start menu

Select the Application Tier node

Click on Change Account link

Select Use a user account and fill the Account name and password fields

Click on Test then OK


A dialog will show up showing the changes which were done

Notice that the service account has chanced on the TFS Express Admin Console. But what does it mean??


Analyzing the dialog that showed the progress of changing the user account, we can find the following:

  • Open the database with SSMS and notice that the TFSExpressServiceAcc was added to the SQL Server Express instance and the highlighted databases


  • TFSExpressServiceAcc was given the following roles:
    • Master database: TFSEXECROLE
    • Tfs_Configuration: db_owner and TFSEXECROLE
    • Collection databases: db_owner and TFSEXECROLE
  • TFSExpressServiceAcc was added to the TFS_APPTIER_SERVICE_WPG and IIS_IUSRS Windows groups image
  • Change the username account to the applications pool in IIS which run the TFS web access website



Update Password

Update Password link updates the password for the Service Account user in case it was changed

When clicked, dialog shows up to allow you to update the password



Reapply Account

Reaaply Account will process the go through the same steps as Change Account. The only difference I can see is that Reaapply Account’s dialog is prepopulated with the previous service account. I tried using the Change Account link and populated it with the same service account and the generated log was identical to the Reapply Account link.


Authentication Settings

I will cover this section in a later post

Group Membership

You can create new membership groups or add windows users or other TFS groups to an existing TFS Group. Certain permissions can be given to these groups using the Administer Security link. These group memberships are at the Team Foundation Server level and they don’t cascade down to the Project Collection level. Project Collection level group membership can be configured from the Team Project Collections.

Administer Security

In this screen, you can grant or deny the groups defined under Group Membership certain permissions.

Change URLs

Generally, the Server URL and the Notification URL should not be modified. Both these values are TFS-system-wide. So, if multiple application-tiers exist, modifying either one of these values will impact them on all application-tiers

The Notification URL is the URL used in e-mail alerts. This should only change if

    • The name of the computer changes


  • TFS is installed behind a network load balancer. (In which case, the Notification URL should be the front end of the load balancer.)
  • TFS is only accessible via SSL. (In which case, the Notification URL should be the fully-qualified-domain name)
  • People external to the Notification URL’s default value,


http://computername:8080, in which case the Notification URL should be adjusted accordingly.

The Server URL is the URL TFS uses for communicating with itself. This should only be changed if

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