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Team Build Workspaces Make Baby Jesus Cry

Yesterday, my team had a developer forum session to assist one our own get our latest release to build on our build server from a new branch. He had been working on it for a couple days and was getting nowhere. He would follow our documented process to create the new build and when he got to the end of it the build threw the following error:

The path C:\Build\ProductReleases\FullBuildv5.4.2x\Sources is already mapped to workspace BuildServer_23.

We used the Team Explorer IDE and attempted to identify this rogue workspace. Try as we might we couldn’t locate it. We tried deleting all the source code on the file system. We tried nuking all the workspaces we could see through the IDE.

In the end we had seven developers in a room shouting out ideas to a frustrated developer sitting the keyboard. So we broke for lunch.

After lunch, I returned to my desk to troll the MSDN Team Foundation Server Developer Center. Using the tf workspaces command, you can get a list of all the workspaces you have created:

C:\>tf workspaces

Server: BuildServer
Workspace Owner          Computer Comment
--------- -------------- -------- --------
BOBBY     work\Bobby 	 BOBBY

But if you add the owner switch, you can get a list of all the workspaces on the server:

C:\>tf workspaces /owner:*

Server: BuildServer
Workspace      Owner      Computer  Comment
-----------    ---------- --------- -------------------------------
BuildServer    Shane      BuildServer
BuildServer    Craig      BuildServer
BuildServer    TFSSETUP   BuildServer
BuildServer    Keith      BuildServer
BuildServer_1  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_10 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_12 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_13 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_14 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_16 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_2  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_23 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_28 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_3  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_30 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_31 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_32 TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_4  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_6  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_7  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_8  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build
BuildServer_9  TFSSERVICE BuildServer  Workspace created by Team Build

From this output we can see that our build service user TFSSERVICE has a lot of workspaces defined. Considering we have 3 builds so far. Something is very wrong here.

Our original error message referenced a workspace named BuildServer_23 which does show up in our list. Using the tf workspace command, we can completely remove the workspace:

C:\>tf workspace /delete /server:BuildServer BuildServer_23;TFSSERVICE
A deleted workspace cannot be recovered.
Workspace 'BuildServer_23;TFSSERVICE' on server 'BuildServer' has 0 pending change(s).
Are you sure you want to delete the workspace? (Yes/No) Y

Our build now runs as expected. It’s now time to verify what all those other workspaces are and remove them if they are not needed.

Hope this helps someone out there if you are desparately googling for away around this error.

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