How to access Team Foundation Server Source Control from Windows Explorer?

Most of the time I use TFS source control within Visual Studio. However, sometimes I just want to add or edit some files from within Windows Explorer without bothering to launch Visual Studio. If you have such needs as well, you can follow the steps below to achieve it.

Firstly, download and install Team Foundation Server Power Tools, which includes Windows Shell Extensions. It provides integration with Windows Explorer which enables you to perform most operations with TFS via Windows Explorer.

After the installation, if you right-click an item in a TFS workspace, you will see the Team Foundation Server context menu.

TFS Context Menu in Windows Explorer

When you click a source control command, you will get the prompt to log into TFS Server. I am using Dynamsoft TFS Hosting service.

Log into TFS Server

Here I add a new htm file and check in the change to TFS from Windows Explorer.

TFS Check In

Then if we go to Source Control Explorer in Visual Studio and check the history of the project , we can see the changeset I submitted from Windows Explorer.

View history of the project

  • Richard S

    Thank you! We got it work for a while ago.

  • Bob Templeton

    You must first use Visual Studio or TFS Team Explorer to map the workspace to a directory on your computer. The TFS shell extensions will be available on all subdirectories in this mapped workspace after you do that.

  • Bob Templeton

    Nope. Team Explorer and TFS Power tools is all that is needed.

  • Matthias

    It seems that a Visual Studio installation is a prerequisite. Unfortunately..

  • Richard S

    You sa “After the installation, if you right-click an item in a TFS workspace” – What if I do not have a TFS workspace? I am a developer that has Visual Studio and can do as in your demo above but I am trying to get this to work on a collegue computer where no Visual Studio exist – there fore no TFS workspace exist. How do I do?