I must decide if I should remotely work for a customer managing a TFS server with thir source codes. I don't know perfectly this tool. I created all the necessary accounts.

In Solution Explorer inside Visual Studio I see the left panel with the server and the project to maintain. In the right panel I see my local directory of my computer.

This should be part of the so-called "TFS workspace".

I imagine the settings of this tool are kept remotely somewhere in the server.

Does the TFS administrator can edit the workspace?

For example I have mapped a project in this directory: Z:\Sources\ThisCustomer\

Is it possible, maybe not officially but with some "undocumented" ways, edit the local directory remotely? I mean editing the workspace sitting in front of TFS server as administrator.

If the administrator edit the workspace so the mapped directory is "Z:" and not what I set up, does this mean next time I start Visual Studio, this thing will read and send my whole disk to them?

  • What does your qustion about TFS have to do with privacy?
    – Ramhound
    Mar 3 at 16:08
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    @Ramhound, it appears Op is concerned that a TFS Admin might alter their workspace mapping to point to a private folder (not a code project), and subsequently cause the private files to be uploaded to the server. that's the Privacy angle to the question. Mar 3 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


When working with the TFVC version control protocol, Workspaces are just local storage for your code projects. when you retrieve a project from the server so you can work on it, it has to copy the code somewhere so thats what workspaces are for. They are just a local folder that is mapped in Visual Studio. You can access your workspace configuration from Team explorer.

Workspaces are comparable to the local directory you clone a git repository to if you are working with the Git version control protocol. While there are many differences between Git and TFVC, in this case the concept is pretty similar.

Workspaces are mostly managed by the developer, since they exist on the dev's workstation. That said though, TFS does track the individual developers workspaces on the server, just to track who/where/what is checked out at any given time, but aside from administrative tasks, the burden of management is on the developer.

There are some TFS tasks that may require an admin to modify the TFS server information about a developers workspace. For instance if a dev's PC died while they had a file checked out, or a dev leaves the company unexpectedly, it may be necessary to use the command line TFS tools to delete the old workspace for that PC from the server to remove record of that checkout.

In visual studio you must add files to a solution/project before they can be sent to the server. you will have to add and check in first. Additionally if the workspace configuration doesn't point to a code project, visual studio will do nothing, so there is no concern that an admin could set a workspace to a arbitrary non-code location and thus scoop up your files. unless the TFS admin has admin on your local workstation, you need not be concerned. if they do have admin on your workstation, then they can get your files much more easily another way.

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    There are some tf.exe commands to unmap the workspace. e.g. tf workspace /delete. We sometimes have to use this when a leaver doesn't unmap their workspaces, and has code checked out for edit. Mar 3 at 16:14
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    indeed, I just added a link to that very command. Cheers! Mar 3 at 16:15

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