Removing TFS workspaces from old users or old computers

Posted by Wim on January 31, 2012

When working with Microsoft Team Foundation Server, sometimes it can be necessary to cleanup old workspaces.


For example, when a computername is re-used, and the same local directory is used by the new user to map a TFS folder.

You need the tool tfs.exe, which is installed together with Visual Studio. The easiest way is to start a Visual Studio Command Prompt (search using the Windows start menu).

I tested the procedure below on Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010, but the procedure should be version-agnostic.

In the commands below, replace serveraddress with your TFS http or https address, e.g. You can find it in Visual Studio:

  • menu Team
  • menu-item Connect to Team Foundation Server…
  • button Servers…

The existing workspaces for some “computername” can be queried with this TFS command:

In the Visual Studio command prompt, start Powershell:


This Powershell session inherites the path (and other) environment variables to the correct Visual Studion installation.

# update the next line with the correct TFS server
$serveraddress = ''
tf.exe workspaces "/computer:$($env:COMPUTERNAME)" /owner:* /format:detailed "/server:$serveraddress"

You get a list of all workspaces, with the existing mappings. It is the workspace name (behind “Workspace:”) and the owner that you need in order to delete the workspace.

Now run this TFS command in the same powershell session, to remove the workspace “workspacename” for owner “owner”:

$workspacename = 'workspacename'
$owner = 'owner'
tf.exe workspace /delete "$($workspacename);$($owner)" /server:$serveraddress

Be aware that the workspacename and the computername are often the same, but can be different. On my machine, the first workspacename was the same as the computername, the next workspaces were suffixed with _0, _1, …