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Build/Deploy Windows service with TFS

Building and deploying a web service or website via TFS is pretty straight forward, but automatically deploying a windows service or console application takes a b it of setup. I’ve outlined the steps below to get your service deployed.

Step 1: Set up Automated Build and MSDeploy on the Target server.

If you are doing any sort of automated build/deploy I recommend using MSDeploy. You can follow steps 1-3 from a previous post here.

Step 2: Edit the .csproj file

The project file for the app you are trying to deploy needs to be edited so that TFS will create a directory for the output of the project. Otherwise the project will be built, but the assemblies will be placed in the code drop location with no organization to it.

To edit the file, go to the open file dialog and locate the csproj file. Select it but don’t click “Open. Instead click on the dropdown arrow next to the Open button, select “Open with”, and choose the XML (Text) editor as shown:


Once the file is open, add the following “PropertyGroup” XML to the file above the ItemGroup section: 

  <PropertyGroup Condition="$(TeamBuildOutDir) != '' ">

Step 3: Run the automated Build

At this point you want to run the automated build to verify that everything builds properly and that the output directory is created properly.

Step 4: Create a batch script to deploy the code

This approach is identical to the steps 5-7 outlined in the previous post here (same as above). However, the script will be different. We will still take the drop location as the first parameter, but instead of using the setparameters.xml file, we’ll set the parameters directly in the service call. We’ll also leverage the PreSync and PostSync abilities to uninstall the service before deploying and install the service after deploying. This way we don’t run into issues with the assemblies being in use while we are trying to deploy:

SET _location=###%1%###
SET _location=%_location:"###=%
SET _location=%_location:###"
SET _location=%_location:###=%
rem set _logfile=%_location%DeployWindowsServices.txt
set _msdeploy="C:\Program Files\IIS\Microsoft Web Deploy\msdeploy.exe"

set _serviceName=ACMEMonitorService
set _exeName="ACME.FASMonitor"
set _sourceDir=%_location%\ACME.FASMonitor
set _destDir=ACME_SchedulerJobs\ACME.FASMonitor\

echo Deploying %_serviceName% to %_destDir%

%_msdeploy% -verb:sync -source:dirPath="%_sourceDir%",includeAcls='False' -dest:dirpath="\\%_destServer%\c$\%_destDir%",computerName=%_destServer%,userName=%_user%,password=%_password%,authtype=NTLM -useCheckSum -preSync:runCommand="C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\installutil.exe c:\%_destDir%\%_exeName%.exe /u",waitInterval="15000",waitAttempts=1,dontUseCommandExe="false" -postSync:runCommand="C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\installutil.exe c:\%_destDir%\%_exeName%.exe",waitInterval="15000",waitAttempts=1,dontUseCommandExe="false"
%_msdeploy% -verb:sync -source:runCommand="net start %_serviceName%",waitInterval="25000",waitAttempts=1 -dest:auto,computerName=%_destServer%,userName=%_user%,password=%_password%,authtype=NTLM

echo Done Deploying %_serviceName% to %_destDir%

Step 5: Run the deployment.

That’s it! with the setup above, the windows service will be built, deployed to the code drop location and then deployed and installed on the destination server.

Other uses

The example above shows how to deploy a windows service, but if you have a console app, it can be done the same way, but without the preSync/postSync actions. You can even take it a step further and run schtasks to disable/enable a task if the windows service/console app is associated with a scheduled task.



  1. Your batch file references several variables that don't seem to be defined anywhere:


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