Monthly Archives: July 2017

About Visual Studio Team Services Online

TFS online, otherwise known as VSTS, isn’t something I’ve had a lot of exposure to.

I thought I would jot down a few notes about it here..

VSTS sites all have a url – much like sharepoint online sites end in

Whereas SharePoint online is provisioned and managed via Office 365 and it’s control panel, VSTS is a bit different.

It’s provisioned in Azure, and as of this writing it’s a bit of a toss up if you’re better off using the old portal or the new – for me, the new one threw errors during provisioning, but the old ‘classic’ portal worked just fine.

Once it’s provisioned it shows up in both.

You can think of Visual Studio Team Services almost like a turnkey application you’d get from some of those web hosts that allow a single button wordpress install – you create it in Azure, but you manage it from itself, that is to say that once you’ve provisioned Visual Studio Team Services, and get a url like, you’ll do all further configuration from that new URL – permissions, adding users, etc.

One area of confusion for me as an Azure administrator, was that I couldn’t see other Visual studio Team services in the new portal (they do show up in the old one), I also couldn’t set any meaningful permissions from either portal, making VSTS one of those services that the only way to manage it is for someone to give you rights to it after it is created.

Because of all this VSTS can be a bit of a “black box” at first – it doesn’t show up in azure like most azure services, yet it’s not managed from the office 365 portal like most of office 365.

What really helped me was to just create my own VSTS so I could see the UI, play around with it and see what it’s about.

If you do that and want to delete it later, this is also a bit perplexing. You might think you can delete it from azure since that’s where you created it, but you instead unlink an account from azure, then go to the url you were given (ie and go into settings and Delete the account from there.

Here’s the official article on how to delete an unneeded VSTS:

  • Jack

Steps to take when visualstudio online will not load

I had an odd thing happen today – I was invited to several different visualstudio online sites.

lets call them and

I was able to get to one of them just fine, and the other would not load no matter what I did – I even tried a different browser on a different PC, no luck.

I opened a case with microsoft and they suggested the following:

Regarding your issue: Please try the steps below

  1. Go to
  2. Clear all cookies
  3. Close browser
  4. Reopen browser in private mode
  5. Try to log in

This seemed to fix things, though I can’t explain why.

The reason I can’t explain it is, I had this issue in 3 configurations:

  • Chrome on mac
  • Safari on mac
  • Chrome on windows

I followed Microsoft’s steps on the Mac, using Safari, and was able to get right in afterwards.

Next I tried Chrome on windows without following the microsoft steps, and that worked too.

Logic would have it that I would need to repeat those steps the windows box before that worked, but that wasn’t the case, no idea why, but thought the steps should be posted for future reference just in case.