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SOLVED (Mostly): MTM Hangs When Opening a Shared Step in the Desktop Client

by Angela 1. September 2015 09:57

This was a real head scratcher, and like many others who have run into this, I spent MANY hours digging through trace logs, event logs, dump files trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It ended up being a really obscure issue with Text Display size.

Anyway, let’s back up. The issue I am describing is one where from within the Microsoft Test Manager client you attempt to open a Shared Step – either from a test case or from the Shared Steps Manger. In either scenario, the shared step opens and before the actual steps load MTM greys out, you see the spinning blue circle of doom, and see the dreaded (Not Responding) message in the title bar:

image

Somewhere in the distance, a sad trombone plays softly…   I was seeing this issue across multiple versions of MTM, multiple operating systems, and against multiple TFS instances. But not everyone was seeing it. Only certain people with a wide variety of versions, update levels, and OSs. So I dig through the event log, looked at MTM trace logs, dump files from the Task Manager, repair MTM, clear cache files, etc. No change.

Then I turned to the MSDN forums.  After about 45 minutes of reading unrelated posts about various ways to hang up MTM, I finally ran across this. I though “No way! It couldn’t be something that obscure”. But I tried it, and lo and behold MTM stopped hanging. Truth be told I don’t even remember changing the text size, but I must have.  It’s so weird that this is the only thing it seemed to have hosed for me.

In case you’re seeing something similar and like me could not remember where the heck to make that change, right click the desktop and choose Screen Resolution then go to Make Text and Other items Larger or Smaller:
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Make sure you choose smaller - 100%, and perhaps buy some bifocals because now we are going to go blind trying to read tiny, tiny font. Be sure to log off and then log back in like the operating system tells you to.
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Now everything works as expected. I worked from home the next day, and CANNOT reproduce the issue. Making me wonder if it is because at home I do not have a second monitor. But other people running in second monitors cannot repro. Oy.

I have been working with the MTM product team to try to figure out the root cause, as this has been hard to pin down. I have a number of people who have different OS, MTM, and TFS versions, some of whom also run MTM in a second monitor – and ability to repro is inconsistent ::HEAD DESK::  If you feel like trying to reproduce this issue, leave me a comment and let me know what happened for you, and your OS/MTM/TFS version, if your text size is 100% or not, and if you are using a second monitor. Would love some more data points to throw at the debugging efforts.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Microsoft Test Manager | MTM | TFS | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013 | TFS 2012 | TFS 2010 | Test Case Management

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Polaris Solutions Holding an ALM Lunch and Learn on Agile Testing Success in St Louis Next Month

by Angela 24. February 2015 14:39

    Our St Louis office is holding a Lunch n Learn at the local Microsoft office in March. Agile testing is a challenge for most software teams, especially larger organizations with well-established QA groups and processes. Learn from one of our resident agile testing experts at the free event!

    More details:

    Description: If you are either planning to or are already practicing agile software development, Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) offer you a powerful platform to successfully plan, manage and execute agile testing.

    During this free lunch session we will cover in detail the different testing capabilities offered by TFS 2013 and MTM for Scrum and Agile methodologies, and will also share what we have learned from helping our clients as they implemented and matured their agile testing practices.

    Key Experiences:

    • The evolved role of testing in Agile Projects

    • Iteration test planning techniques

    • Test tracking with TFS and MTM

    • Different approaches to bug management

    • Test automation Do’s and Don’ts

    • Testing metrics that are worth measuring

    • Exploratory testing strategies

    • Best practices & lessons learned in the field

      Complimentary lunch will be provided to registered attendees.

      Presenter: Alejandro Ramirez is a Software Quality professional and Senior Consultant with Polaris Solutions. He has over 17 years of experience working in software in development, testing, and IT governance. His experiences range from small businesses, startups and non-profits, to Fortune 500 corporations in a variety of fields. He is certified in ITIL and Lean. He is also a blogger, speaker, mobility champion, and helps companies incorporate ALM strategies to continuously deliver valuable software.

      When: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM (CDT)

      Where: Microsoft Corporation, 3 Cityplace Drive Suite 1100 Creve Coeur, MO 63141

       

      Register for this Polaris Solutions event today!

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      Chicago ALM User Group Presents: Lab Management in the Cloud

      by Angela 12. February 2014 11:22

      So, you might have heard, but this cloud thing really isn’t just a fad. And if you’re a TFS user, you might have thought to yourself “Wow, Lab management is pretty rad, but I still don’t have the hardware of personnel required to manage all that infrastructure. It would be awesome if I could extend Lab Management into the cloud!” Sad trombone

      We felt that way too here at Polaris.  So we rolled up our sleeves and worked through some of the challenges to make it happen.  Chris Taylor is going to be talking a lot more about it, and doing some demos, at the February edition of the Visual Studio ALM user group this month, at the Aon Center in Chicago.

      Join Us Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

      Be sure to sign up soon! http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

      Description:

      With the introduction of Lab Management in 2010, Team Foundation Server presented the opportunity to do automated build-test-deploy on Microsoft Hyper-V servers.  Although the tool was extremely powerful and cost of entry far less than any physical implementations it didn’t offer the flexibility of working with pre-existing physical labs as well as other virtualization platforms like VMWare or Parallels.  In Team Foundation Server 2012 Microsoft addressed this by introducing the “Standard Lab” environment in parallel with the “SCVMM Lab” environments.  This now allowed for any combination (virtual or physical) of machines to be added to a lab environment and provided nearly all the same functionality as provided in the SCVMM based environments.

      At the same time, Microsoft had been working diligently on their Azure platform, all based in Windows Server 2012 and finally opened up the ability to both provision new virtual machines as well as exposed this functionality to other applications via the Windows Azure SDK. 

      Polaris Solutions saw the opportunity to use Windows Azure as a virtualization platform to run automated tests and deployments and the tools necessary to accomplish it.  Come learn about some of the tooling that has been constructed to compliment an existing TFS infrastructure and create hybrid-cloud solutions to further lower infrastructure and  testing costs while creating a more quality product.

      Speaker Bio:

      Chris Taylor is a Senior Consultant at Polaris Solutions based in Chicago.  Prior to joining Polaris Solutions, Chris spent over 5 years in the Payment Card Industry developing applications for commercial and government credit card programs while extending TFS to integrate seamlessly with traditional enterprise software practices while allowing teams to be more agile/iterative within themselves.  Since joining Polaris, Chris has been focused on improving software quality and integration test automation using Microsoft Lab Management, CodedUI, Windows Azure, and Windows 2008/2012 Hyper-V. 

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      Free Half Day Events in Oct/Nov: Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

      by Angela 18. September 2013 18:08

      Been curious about Microsoft’s latest release of their testing tools? Want to know more about managing your test environments, both on premise and in the cloud? How about when to use test automation and what tools Microsoft has to meet your automation needs?

      There is a great half-day testing event coming to a city near you if you live in the Midwest area, wanted to be sure to share it with everyone before it filled up. Since I am delivering the content I can tell you there are going to be some great topics being covered! Best part, it is free. Check out the details and agenda:

      How do I integrate better with the team?

      QA is near the end of the process chain, so one of the best things they can do to be successful is improve their efficiency and collaborate better with the development team.

      In this session, we want to answer all of these questions:

      • What if you could draft and select test cases early in the project and ensure you have test coverage by assigning them to requirements?
      • What if the bugs you discover could automatically include data about the underlying behavior of the application and the machine it’s running on?
      • Are you getting enough information about a release to know what to test?
      • Which new features have been implemented? Which haven’t?
      • Which bugs are supposedly resolved?

      We’ll discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities for improving collaboration between testers and developers.

      What should I automate?

      While manual testing is always going to have its place, there are several types of tests that can be automated for efficiency.

      In this session, we’ll discuss everything from automating functional and load tests to the automation of writing test case steps and designing for reuse.

      How do I set up a dev/test environment?

      Today’s applications are more complex than ever and it can be very challenging to set up and maintain these environments. Many organizations resort to a small number of shared environments, but you are trying to keep up with frequent developer builds, concurrent projects, and ever-changing data.

      This session introduces Microsoft’s Lab Management solution which allows developers and QA to self-provision their own environments. We’ll look at you can take advantage of virtualization (on-premises or cloud) to create environments, roll them back to known states, and attach them to bugs while minimizing the labor in your data center.

      During this event, your local MTM Specialist will provide you an inside look and show you the capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager. Furthermore, we’ll cover how quality is an accountability and addressable by the entire development organization.

      REGISTER NOW at a city near you using one of the links provided:

      10/10 Southfield, MI

      10/22 Milwaukee, WI

      10/23 Chicago, IL

      10/24 Indianapolis, IN

      10/28 Nashville, TN

      10/29 St. Louis, MO

      10/30 Kansas City, KS

      11/4 Columbus, OH

      11/6 Cleveland, OH

      11/6 Edina, MN

      Event starts promptly at 9am. Complimentary Food & Beverages provided in the morning

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      Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group - Holiday Party on Dec 12th 2012

      by Angela 1. December 2012 12:48

      Are you a regular attendee? Someone who hasn’t been to a meeting in a while? Someone who has never been and has been looking for the perfect topic? Well, c’mon down! Next week is our annual holiday meeting. In the past few months there has been a release of Visual Studio as well as an update, and not just any update but a MASSIVE update with lots of good new functionality. So go download it today!

      We'll have fun giveaways for everyone who attends, but some particularly awesome giveaways for people who are willing to get up and demo their favorite VS 2012 (so anything related to VS, MTM or TFS) feature! It doesn't have to be a long or complicated demo, but it does need to highlight something about the latest release or the update that you find particularly useful or cool. Shoot me an email at Angela.Dugan@PolarisSolutions.com with the feature you want to highlight so I can ensure we don't end up with duplicates. Everyone that does a demo gets an additional gift, but we will also vote for one or two big winners to receive something extra cool! More details to come...  We will have many speakers that night, hopefully including you!

      So far we have the following presenters and topics:

      image

      When: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
      Location: Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

      Agenda:6:00PM Food, drinks and prizes. 7:00PM VS 2012 Demo contest. 8:00PM Grand prizes awarded

      Register here: http://chicagoalmug.org/
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      Application Quality Enablement with TFS 2012 and MTM 2012 at SDC Tomorrow

      by Angela 14. November 2012 05:00

      Not sure if you’ve been to any of the sessions held by the Software Development Community in Chicago but they are always good. This month I get the opportunity to speak there myself and wanted to let folks know.  If you cannot make it to my session tomorrow, I will be presenting the information again at the Visual Studio launch event in Chicago (“The New Era of Work”) later this month as well.  Be sure to sign up for notifications of future SDC meetups, it’s a great group! 

      In the meantime, here is the info for my session tomorrow:

      When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 -- 5:45

      Where:  i.c.s -- 415 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL (map) -- 3rd Floor, Sign will be posted at the door.

      Session: Application Quality Enablement with TFS 2012 and MTM 2012 - With the rise of modern apps and the modern data center, we require a modern lifecycle approach that supports the need to increase velocity, deliver continuous value and manage change while enabling quality. See a unique and full lifecycle perspective on quality enablement with rich demos infused along the way to illustrate our the software testing/QA story. Demos will include:
      • Product Backlog
      • Storyboarding
      • Exploratory testing
      • Client Feedback

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      So You Were Forced to Use the dreaded TFS Collection /Recover Command, Now What?

      by Angela 11. October 2012 08:23

      Since we have used Recover on a production database and lived to tell the tale I thought I would share our experiences. If you read this post you will know that one of my client’s got themselves into a world of hurt where we needed to restore a nightly backup that was not detached.  I know, I know, detached backups are the way to go.  Well, now THEY know that too Winking smile  Nonetheless, sometimes you may find yourself needing to recover a TFS Team Project Collection (TPC) database, and if you’ve read the MSDN documentation you’ll know this is not an ideal situation. The Recover command is very lossy, BUT you get your data back. And in our case it was worth the risk.

      So here is the backstory…  Someone deleted a Test Plan with a month’s worth of data in it, and if you know MTM you know there is no “undelete”. Restoring a backup was our only hope. BUT our nightly backups are SQL backups of the entire SQL Server instance, so undetached (we are addressing this NOW). Plucking one TPC out of there and attaching it is just not an option. And we did not have hardware to restore the entire thing and detach it properly.  So here is what we did:

      1. Restore the backed up TPC from the nightly backup into our dev TFS environment
      2. Used the TFSConfig /Recover command, followed by TFSConfig /Attach to get it attached in dev
      3. Used the TFSConfig /Recover command to get the TPC into the proper state
      4. Detach the hosed TPC from production
      5. Restore that detached version of the TPC to production
      6. Attach the backup to production (we actually hit an interesting bug in TFS 2010 at this point, so the attach was quite harrowing and involved an emergency hotfix to our TFS sprocs, I may blog about later.)

      Now, I would love to say everything was perfect but the recover command did blow away some things that we had to get back into place before people could use the TPC again.  What we lost:

      1. All the security setting ever!
        • Collection level groups and permissions
        • Team Project (TP) level groups and permissions in every TP in the TPC
        • Permissions around Areas and Iterations in every TP in the TPC
        • Permissions around Source Control in every TP in the TPC
      2. SharePoint settings  (in every TP in the TPC). Settings on the SharePoint server themselves will be fine of course but you will probably see a “TF262600: This SharePoint site was created using a site definition…” error when you try to open the portal site that was once attached to those TPs. You will need to fix this in 2 places.
        • Go to TFS Admin Console, select the TPC you just restored and make sure the SharePoint Site settings for the TPC are correct. It will probably be set to “not configured” now.
        • Open team explorer (as an Admin user), and for each TP go to “Team Project Settings | Portal Settings” and verify everything there is correct. Ours were just plain gone so we had to enable the team project portal and reconfigure the URL.
      3. SSRS Settings – this will probably be fine if you restored the database as-is but we also renamed it as part of the restore, and so had to update the Default Folder Location through the Admin Console for the TPC in order for this to work again.

      So word to the wise, make sure you understand what the settings above are for all of the TPs in your TPC BEFORE you perform a Recover command because chances are you will have to manually set them all back up.

      Tags:

      ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | MTM | Microsoft Test Manager | Microsoft Test Professional | TFS | TFS 2010 | Team Foundation Server | VS 2010 | Visual Studio | TFS Administration

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      So you accidentally deleted your MTM Test Plan, Now What?

      by Angela 10. October 2012 04:14

      So this week, we had a little bit of fun, by which I mean a day that started with panic and scrambling when someone accidentally deleted a Test Plan (yes, a whole test plan) in MTM in production. A well established test plan with dozens of test suites and over a hundred test cases with a month’s worth of result data no less... Some important things of note:

      • test plans are not work items, they are just a “shell” and so are a bit easier to delete than they should be (in my opinion)
      • there is no super secret command-line only undelete like there is for some artifacts in TFS, so recreate from scratch or TPC recovery are your only options here to get it back
      • when you delete a test plan, you lose every test suite you had created.  Thankfully, not test cases themselves, those are safe in this situation.  Worst case, a plan can be created, although it is tedious and can be time consuming.
      • when you delete a test plan, test results associated with that test plan will be deleted*. Let that sink in – ALL OF THE TEST RESULTS FOR THAT TEST PLAN, EVER, WILL ALSO BE DELETED.  ::this is why there were flailing arms and sweaty brows when it happened::

      So at this point, you may be thinking it’s time to update your resume and change your phone number, but hold up. You may have some options to recover that data, so buy some donuts for your TFS admin(I like cinnamon sugar, BTW).  I should mention, there may be a lot of other options but these are the three I was weighing, and due to some things beyond my control we had to go with #2.

      1) Best Case Scenario: restore your DETACHED (this is required) team project collection database from a backup, cause you’re totally taking nightly backups and using the TFS Power Tool right? You lose a little data depending on how old that backup is, but it may be more important to get back your test runs than have to redo a few hours of work.

      2) Second Best Case Scenario: If you cannot lose other data, and are willing to sacrifice some test run data, then restore the TFS instance from a traditional SQL backup to a separate TFS instance (so, NOT your production instance), open up your test plan in that secondary environment, and recreate your test plan in production.  Not ideal, but if you didn’t have a ton of test runs this may be faster and you don’t sacrifice anything in SCM or WIT that was changed since the backup was taken.

      3) Worst Case Scenario: if your backups were not detached when you did your last backup, cry a little, then use the recover command to re-attach them. The gist is to use the TFSConfig Recover command on the collection to make it “attachable” again, then attach it to your collection. I have written a separate post on this because it can be complicated…

      Once you are back up and running, make sure rights to managing test plans is locked down!  It might not be obvious that you can even do this, or where to find it, since it is an “Areas and Iterations” level permission. But do it, do it now!  This permission controls the ability to create and delete Test Plans, so be aware of that. But for the most part, anyone with authority and knowledge to delete entire Test Plans, considering what they contain, should be the only person creating them.  If everyone needs the ability to create/delete these willy-nilly, then you are doing it wrong, in my opinion anyway.

      I am still in the midst of getting this back up and running so will update once we’re finished. There is an MSDN forum post out there regarding one bug I seem to have uncovered, if anyone wants to look at it and maybe fix my world by answering it Smile I am sure I’ll be able to add some more tips and tricks by then.

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      Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) Tip O’ the Day–Filtering test lists

      by Angela 3. July 2012 07:41

      Now, I am no @ZainNab, the guru of “Tips and Tricks”, but I occasionally run across features that have been staring me in the face for YEARS and yet somehow went completely unappreciated, sometimes unnoticed.  And then one day it hits me and OMG my life is easier, and I want to tell everyone.  Sure, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit sometimes given that I worked at Microsoft for 5.5 years focusing on the Visual Studio tools, but who hasn’t done that?  Not you? Really?  I am skeptical…  There are after all, a bajillion commands to try and remember. For real, if you don’t believe me, look at the entire book that Sara Ford and Zain wrote about it. It’s worth every penny and Amazon has a great deal on it, pick up a copy! Smile

      So, back to my point. I was sitting in MTM, looking at a fairly daunting list of PBI based test suites, thinking “now which PBI’s were the ones where I had test cases to run again?”  I started thinking about writing a query, but that only helps is YOU are assigned to the test case, it doesn’t really help with test RUN assignment. Then it all came flooding back.  Wait, there’s this FILTER button to sort that out.  And conveniently it’s right there in front of my face ::face palm::  I felt a little better when no one else admitted to noticing it was there either. Maybe they were just being nice to me.  Either way, in case you didn’t notice it, check it out. Before:

      Untitled

      After, I have MUCH fewer test suites that I have to look at:

      Untitled2

      That’s my Microsoft Test Manager tip o’ the day!  I won’t be posting them every day like Zain has been doing on his blog around Visual Studio 2010 for the past couple of years, of course I also don’t mainline 5 hour energy like he does Smile  I will do them whenever I can.  Hope this was helpful! Feel free to post any tips of your own or shoot me a note if you have other questions or comments.

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