Searching in TFS history, made easy by Microsoft

By | July 28, 2011

One of the greatest things about version control systems is the ability to keep track of changes. Or is it? Well Microsoft certainly has a unique look on this. Team Foundation Server (TFS), also known as the Team Failure Server, has a very unique way of keeping track of changes.

To be honest the tracking of changes works fine, for the most part. But what happens when you made a change sometime in the past, you know roughly what you did but not which files were affected or which branch was used. Yes I sometimes don’t know what version (branch) of the software a fix was made in. In any normal version control system you would open up the history log and start searching for a comment you entered. That would result in some result popping up, and with any luck the change-set you were looking for.

Alas Microsoft in all its wisdom decided that searching is overrated and not needed for a version control system. After all you can read through the entire history log to find the change-set can’t you. Ah you can’t, silly you!

Here is a quick work around for this ‘missing’ feature:

  • Open up the History view on the ROOT of the TFS server
  • Scroll all the way down, in most systems that will be just a few thousand change-sets
  • Select all and copy
  • Open Excel and paste

Voila now you can search. At least Excel offers a way to search your Team Foundation Server history.

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