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Team Foundation Server (TFS/VSTS) caching problem masquerading as a permissions problem.

I just got off a two hour troubleshooting call with one of my clients.  I’d just done the install of their Team Foundation Server last week and everything was fine.  Then they created a bunch of Team Projects in their Team Foundation Server and they couldn’t view any of the work item queries in the Team Queries folder.  (Huh.  Well that’s weird.) 

It sounded at first like a permissions problem.  I tried a bunch of things including removing all permissions granted to this user and then re-applying permissions.  (Nope.)  On further investigation, we found out that he couldn’t create any new work item queries in either the “Team Queries” folder or in the “My Queries” folder.  The error message implied serious weird/bad things, too:
“Could not find the Team Project node on the Team Foundation Server.”

More investigation and I found out that he couldn’t create any new work items either.  The error was TF26212 and said that something might be wrong with the work item type definition or with the user’s permissions.  Well, I’d already checked — the permissions were fine and this user is a member of the Administrators group.  They hadn’t done any modifications to the Work Item Templates.  (Scratch that idea.) 

I tried to create a new Team Project.  I put in the project name and chose CMMI and hit finish. 
Error: A Team Project with this name already exists. 
No way.  Not a chance.  There is definitely not a team project with that name. 

I started hunting around on and stumbled across a post talking about weirdness after moving TFS to a new server.  The users in that forum post were having weird TFS behaviors and when they deleted their VSTS cache folder for TFS, everything was fine.

Now it all makes more sense.  We installed TFS in a virtual server with undo disks enabled so that we could easily rollback to a fresh setup if something didn’t go as planned.  At one point, the client changed their mind about how they wanted to organize their team projects and I’d already done the VSSConverter SourceSafe import.  Turned out that it was easier to just roll back the server and start again. 

So, technically, it wasn’t a different server but the contents of that server had changed drastically.  This actually could be a cache problem.

I shut down VSTS, deleted the TFS cache folder (“c:documents and settings[username]local settingsapplication datamicrosoftteam foundation”), and restarted VSTS.  Went into Team Explorer.  Opened the Team Queries folder and sure enough — everything was back to normal.  



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