Changing your Visual Studio TFS Merge tool

I’ve used WinMerge for a while now and really enjoy it.  It is definitely much better than the merge tool that ships as part of the TFS plugin for Visual Studio.  Last week during one of my presentations, someone asked me how to change the default behavior in Visual Studio so that it uses your diff tool of choice.  So here it is:

  • Download WinMerge:
  • From Visual Studio go to Tools –> Options –> Source Control –> Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • Click on the “Configure User Tools” button
  • Click on the “Add” button and enter the following values:
    • Extension: .*
    • Operation: Compare
    • Command: C:\Program Files (x86)\WinMerge\WinMergeU.exe
    • Arguments: /ub /dl %6 /dr %7 %1 %2


That’s it!  From now on WinMerge (or whatever you configured) will come up when you do a file compare.    There’s a great post from a few years back that shows you all the different settings if you are looking to use a different merge application:

About esteban

Esteban is the Founder and Chief Technologist at Nebbia Technology, an ALM consulting and Azure-powered technology company. He is a software developer with a passion for ALM, TFS, Azure, and software development best practices. Esteban is a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM MVP and ALM Ranger, Pluralsight author, and the president of ONETUG (Orlando .NET User Group).

4 thoughts on “Who needs a version control system?

  1. Julio

    Hi Esteban, really a very interesting and post, I think that use version control is a must and the points that you exposes are very clearly, I only want add that version control is a basic Step to begin with any software methodology like Scrum, and if you use tfs you have a really complete tool to help you in all the proccess to build software.


  2. Ganesh kulpe


    I want to marge two branch with change set only from shell scripting. If you have any idea or script please provide me .


  3. Neil W

    I use TFS 2015 cu3 and was attempting to create a code branch programmatically using the RESTAPI, but surprisingly and frustratingly, it’s not supported from what I could see. I came across your powershell script and it works beautifully.
    Can you believe your script is still being used 6 years later?

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