Omar Villarreal's WebLog

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Unable to connect to BIS service (Visual Studio 2005 Team System)

I was encouraged three times today to blog about this and other work-arounds I have come up with for Visual Studio 2005 and TFS (Team Foundation Server)... for now, I will let you know how to connect to TFS after the "Unable to connect to BIS service" message box finds its way to your screen while in VS2005 Beta 2; I promise to blog other tips soon.
First, you should know that I am running all the TFS tiers in one Virtual PC (single-server installation) and nothing else is on this VPC. I don't know that this is in any way causing the problem but just in case it makes a difference to you. And just to support that, I saw this message box on two student computers during a VSTS class that my boss is teaching, both running a different VPC than mine but also a single-server installation.
Normally you will get this message box when you open an existing solution and the Team Explorer within Visual Studio tries to connect to the Team Foundation Server and once it comes up, you just will not be able to connect, from my point of view TFS was down.
The solution is simple (I will give you  more information on the problem in just a bit), stop and restart IIS then re-start (or stop and restart) the TFSServerScheduler Windows Service. And of course, you don't need to re-start the entire IIS service but remember that I was running a VPC with nothing else so that was the fastest and easiest way for me.
Different things can cause this problem, the one that appeared to be the problem on my VPC was that at boot-up the IIS application (either VSTFWeb or VSTF AppPool) was sending requests to SQL Server and SQL Server was not yet started. On different occasions I had a unhandled exception dialog box, apparently generated from the TFSServerScheduler Service. The solution was the same in both cases.
I hope this information is helpful to someone, please let me know by submitting comments to this blog entry. Also, if you have more information on what causes this problem or an alternative solution, please submit that as well.


Yves Reynhout said:

You could make IIS Services dependent on SQL Server Services (if SQL is on the same box).
# April 28, 2005 9:19 AM

Brandon Tyler said:

Thanks Omar for all the help in the Beta 2 class. The VSTS product is incredible and you guys at notion do a great job showing how to use it!
# April 28, 2005 9:13 PM

Omar Villarreal said:

Yves is correct: "You could make IIS Services dependent on SQL Server Services (if SQL is on the same box)"... In my case, SQL Server is on the same box, but making IIS dependent on SQLServer will help you after you reboot. If you get this "Unable to connect" error while you are in the middle of something and you really need to resolve the issue, restarting the services in the order I suggested will get you going.
# May 13, 2005 3:19 PM

Sam Ferrise said:

I get this error every time I attempt to connect to a TFS. Any ideas about that?

# May 24, 2005 5:21 PM

Omar Villarreal said:


Check your event logs. You should be able to find detailed information about your particular case in there. Let me know if you need additional information. I should be able to provide it next week.... Regards, Omar.
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