Enabling SQL Tracing on a TFS 2010 database

If you’ve ever had trouble setting up TFS 2010 (errors, baby that’s what I’m talking about) you might like to have SQL Tracing on TFS database for more info.  By default you don’t have it (and you need a regedit to get it).
(This also refers to the program from SysInternals that is a free download “ DeBug View”)

How about an example!

Let’s say in the Advanced Configuration Wizard you type in the wrong name of the SQL Server Instance you want to use. The error message you will get is:


But look at some of the trace output:

[6468] [Verbose@18:45:56.241] Checking if database master exists on SQL connection Data Source=HORVICKVM-DEV2;Integrated Security=True
[6468] [Error @18:46:21.381] Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Admin.TfsAdminException: TF255049: A connection cannot be made to the server that is running SQL Server. Verify that you have entered the correct name for the server, including the instance name, that the server you are attempting to connect to is online, and that you have the required permissions to connect. —> Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Framework.Server.DatabaseConnectionException: TF246017: Team Foundation Server could not connect to the database. Verify that the server that is hosting the database is operational, and that network problems are not blocking communication with the server. —> System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 – Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

What’s so great?

Well first the error message is highlighted red (in DbgView it will be white text on a red background given my example above – but here I made it red text on white to be more readable in the blog post).

Also the message contains the true .NET Exception that occurred and the connection string we used. Those are two really useful pieces of information when you are trying to figure out what is happening. More specifically it even told you how the check was being performed (“Checking if database master exists…”).

Oh No! I have Warnings and Errors!

Well – did anything actually go wrong with your configuration? If not – then it’s probably nothing to worry about. We have some messages that come out as warnings or errors but are in fact benign.

Why Don’t I See Server Messages?

This blog post only explains how to enable tracing for the TFS 2010 admin tools. It does not explain how to enable tracing for the server components, SQL, the job service (though we do trace the job service output when a servicing operation is initiated by an admin tool such as tfsmgmt.exe or tfsconfig.exe). This trace data will provide you zero insight into your server’s realtime activities. Only configuration actions.

Here are the steps you need to follow.

Enabling Tracing

  1. Close the TFS 2010 configuration wizard or admin console (if running).
    1. We only check the trace level when the program starts up. So if it’s already running and you haven’t done this – you need to close it!
    2. Oh – if you are running the TFS 2010 Setup and are at the window where you are asked if you want to launch the configuration tool – you can update the registry key now and not need to close the configuration wizard since the MSI and configuration phases are separate executables).
  2. Enable verbose tracing by doing the following:
    1. Open Regedit (must be an Administrator)
    2. Find the key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TeamFoundationServer\10.0\Admin
    3. Edit the value “TraceLevel” (DWORD) – set to “4” (it is probably “0”)
    4. You can do this from an admin command prompt by running:
      1. reg.exe add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TeamFoundationServer\10.0\Admin /t REG_DWORD /v TraceLevel /d 4 /f
  3. Run DbgView
    1. You can download DbgView from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896647.aspx
      1. You can also run it right from the website at this link: http://live.sysinternals.com/Dbgview.exe
  4. By default DbgView is ready to go – Under the “Capture” menu make sure that “Capture Win32” (CTRL+W), “Pass-Through” and “Capture Events” (CTRL+E) are enabled. Nothing else is needed.
    1. clip_image002[4]
  5. Start up the TFS Administration Console (or configuration tool, whatever).

When the config tool starts you should see some data streaming in to DbgView – it should look something like this:

[6468] Admin TraceLevel = Verbose

Show Me The Errors!

  1. Bring up the filters screen in DbgView (CTRL+L or clicking on this button: clip_image004).
  2. Leave the Include and Exclude fields alone.
  3. In the Highlight section leave “Filter 1” selected and type “[Error” into the Red text area (please note that I typed an opened brace but not a closing one and also do not type the double quotes). It should look like this:
    1. clip_image006
  4. Now change “Filter 1” to “Filter 3” (Nothing magically about 3. I use 3 because it’s kind of orange – I don’t like the purple of “Filter 2” and I don’t want to get into color changing in this blog post – you want to change colors? Go nuts.).
  5. Add the string “[Warning” – again, no closing brace and don’t use the double quotes.
    1. clip_image008
  6. Now if you happen to have an error it will be much easier to detect.
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