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When upgrading a Visual Studio project — you need to upgrade your TFS/VSTS Agent

This post is linked to my post about hosting VSTS private agents . I had recently upgraded my Visual Studio environment from 2015 to 2017. I was getting prepared to do a run through of my upcoming PASS Summit DEMOs.

At PASS Summit I’m speaking on “Achieving Continuous Delivery for your Database with SSDT” and I wanted to get the latest/greatest stuff working and I like to do quite a lot of dry runs of my DEMOs to semi-appease the DEMO Gods.

(You can never truly appease the DEMO Gods…..)

Everything was going well, until my first Build in VSTS – which had a weird error and I was not getting any application code built into my artifact package.

##[warning]Visual Studio version ‘15.0’ not found. Falling back to version ‘14.0’.

Hmmm…… now up until this point I had used the Hosted Agent in VSTS/Azure land and builds had succeeded. But because I knew I’d be going lots of builds whilst testing I swapped to an old On-Premises agent.

It would not build the code into the artifact. Essentially there was no artifact.

Oh dear..

So I went onto the server and went to upgrade MSBuild tools (as I don’t need the full blown Visual Studio application). So I downloaded vs_BuildTools.exe from the server and ran it up:


But things didn’t quite go to plan.


So I tried everything, I read that a few people had seen this error before. My biggest issue with it is that it says to check my internet connection.

Ahhhhhh….. that internet connection was the one I used to download it!!.

Basically after hours of trying it I then found that out that MSBuild is packaged up as a Nuget package these days. Nice.

I applied the package to my on-premises server hosting the VSTS agent and voilà — builds are now going through properly and I have an artifact that I can push out to my database and application. Lesson learnt that I should keep all things in synch if I’m upgrading Visual Studio….

…..Or not be so cheap and just use the power of Hosted Agents in VSTS!!

(BTW this is another reason why I really like VSTS over TFS — someone else does the drudgery work associated with upgrades!!)




The Hybrid DBA's Blog

Hamish is a Systems Management Specialist with a passion for efficient application deployment using DevOPs methodologies. He has 19 years IT experience in managing large scale databases SQL Server technologies. He has been managing SQL Server since SQL Server 2000 and pragmatic architectural design is his main focus in his current job. Educating and helping others learn is a driver for Hamish and he is a PASS User Group Leader, International speaker and a repeat guest lecturer at a local university.


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