Excuse me while I pass out on this little square of turf, as I prefer a soft landing when I drop like a steer. Even at my advanced age (75 dog years, which is roughly equal to a mule’s age), software never ceases to amaze me. Now that Visual Studio Team Foundation beta 3 is on the street, I decided to try a few of the more advanced configurations supported by the new release. The first one that I wanted to try was the Active Directory-free installation. It is my less-than-humble-opinion (LTHO pronounced litho) that many small developer teams will not want to endure standing up an AD just to get the cool features of VSTF. How did this experiment fare? How difficult was the installation? Short answer – a lot easier than beta 2. Any secrets to accomplishing a successful installation? You bet and it’s quite easy! It’s like Steve Martin’s recipe for becoming a millionaire – steps #1… get a million dollars. To stand up a workgroup AD-free instance of VSTF, all I did was follow the direction – step by step. It helps to install into a fresh instance of Server 2003 sp1 into a VPC.


Oh, did I fail to mention why I fainted dead away in the opening of this post? It’s because VPC rocks! After I had a VSTF operating in a VPC, I wanted to see a network client attach to the instance, and get REAL WORK DONE. Like opening a solution directly out of VSTF source control over the network.  So I installed and instance of VS 2005 RC in an XP sp2 VPC, worked a pile of virtual network magic, and everything worked.


BTW, the “magic happens here” part of the last step came from THE VERY AWESOME SIMON GUEST. Simon had a blog post awhile back about the top ten coolest things to do with a VPC on a weekend while your kids, wife, and retriever claw at you office door. Here’s the link: http://blogs.msdn.com/smguest/archive/2005/04/26/412025.aspx


But because you just might be pretty darn excited by now, I copied the #1 cool thing to do with a VPC on a weekend while your kids, wife, and retriever claw at you office door below. The only thing I changed was the IANA reserved IP address range recommended by Simon; I went with 10.X.X.X as I was already on a NAT subnet using 198.X.X.X and I didn’t want to think about routing issues as TCP/IP is such a nuisance. I also created a login on the XP VPC called, go figure, TFSSETUP, with a matching password for the VSTF Server 2003 account.


In any event, please make sure to be close to a soft landing pad before trying this procedure at home, as I cannot be responsible for you or my teenage kids on a Friday night.



Get your images networked!  I recommend two networking cards on each Virtual PC image - one bound to your main adapter, the other bound to a loop back adapter.  You can configure this through the settings dialog when the VPC is shutdown.  The first one should be used for connecting to the Internet - and will probably obtain it's IP address through DHCP.  Create a private class C IP network for the second (e.g. 192.168.0.x) - bind them all to a loop back adapter installed on the Host OS - and create a common c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file for each image.  Don't forget to enable the ports on the Windows Firewall (the Advanced settings of the loop back adapter) to allow access to applications that you are sharing!