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MSTest.exe command-line options

MSTest.exe is the command-line command that is used to run tests. This command has several options that you can use to customize your test run. You can use many of these options in conjunction with one another; in fact, you must use certain options in conjunction with other options, as described in the following sections. You can specify these options in any order on the MSTest.exe command line.

MSTest.exe does not interpret the options or the values you specify for them in a case-sensitive manner.

The following tables list all the options for MSTest.exe and short descriptions of them. You can see a similar summary by typing MSTest /h at a command line.

General Command Line Options

/testcontainer:[ file name ]

Load a file that contains tests.

Example: /testcontainer:tests.dll

For more information, see /testcontainer.

/testmetadata:[ file name ]

Load a file that contains test metadata. For more information, see /testmetadata.

/testlist:[ test list path ]

Specify the test list, as specified in the metadata file, to be run. For more information, see /testlist.

/category:[ test category filter ]

Specify and filter which test categories to run. For more information, see /category.

/test:[ test name ]

Specify the name of a test to be run. For more information, see /test.

/noisolation

Run tests within the MSTest.exe process. This choice improves test run speed but increases risk to the MSTest.exe process.

/testsettings: [ file name ]

Use the specified test settings file.

Example: /testsettings:Local.Testsettings

For more information, see /testsettings.

/runconfig:[ file name ]

Use the specified run configuration file.

Example: /runconfig:localtestrun.Testrunconfig

For more information, see /runconfig.

Note Note

This command-line option is maintained for compatibility with previous versions of Visual Studio. Test run configurations have been replaced by test settings in Visual Studio Premium.

/resultsfile:[ file name ]

Save the test run results to the specified file.

Example: /resultsfile:testResults.trx

For more information, see /resultsfile.

/detail:[ property id ]

Specify the name of a property that you want to show values for, if any, in addition to the test outcome. For more information, see /detail.

/help

Display the MSTest.exe usage message (short form: /? or /h).

/nologo

Display no startup banner and copyright message.

/usestderr

Use standard error to output error information.

Command-Line Options for Publishing Test Results

For more information about these options, see Command-Line options for publishing test results.

/publish:[ server name ]

Publish results to the database for the team project collection of the specified server.

/publishresultsfile:[ file name ]

Specify the results file name to be published. If no results file name is specified, use the file produced by the current run.

/publishbuild:[ build id ]

Publish test results using this build ID.

/teamproject:[ team project name ]

Specify the name of the team project to which the build belongs.

/platform:[ platform ]

Specify the platform of the build against which test results should be published.

/flavor:[ flavor ]

Specify the flavor of the build against which test results should be published.

The following sections describe many of the options for MSTest.exe in more detail. The options that were used for publishing test results are not included here. For information about those options, see Command-Line options for publishing test results.

/testcontainer:[ file name ]

The test container is a file that contains the tests you want to run. For example, for ordered tests, the test container is the .orderedtest file that defines the ordered test. For unit tests, it is the assembly built from the test project that contains the unit test source files.

Note Note

For unit tests, this is the assembly that contains test code, not the assembly that contains the code of the application that you are testing. For example, if your solution contains a project named BankAccount and a corresponding test project named BankAccountTest, specify /testcontainer:BankAccountTest.dll.

Note Note

Because the test metadata file also lists tests that you can run, you must not specify both the /testcontainer and /testmetadata options in a single command line. Doing this would be ambiguous and would produce an error.

/testmetadata:[ file name ]

You can use the /testmetadata option to run tests in multiple test containers.

The test metadata file is created for your solution when you create test lists using the Test List Editor window. This file contains information about all the tests listed in the Test List Editor window. These are all the tests that exist in all test projects in your solution.

The test metadata file is an XML file that is created in the solution folder. This file is shown in Solution Explorer under the Solution Items node. A test metadata file has the extension .vsmdi, and is associated with the Test List Editor window. That is, if you double-click a .vsmdi file in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer), the file opens Visual Studio and its contents. All the tests in a solution's test projects are displayed in the Test List Editor window.

You can change the test metadata file only by making changes that are reflected in the Test List Editor window, such as creating or deleting tests, or changing a test's properties.

Note Note

Because the test container contains tests that you can run, you must not specify both the /testcontainer and /testmetadata options in a single command line. Doing this would be ambiguous and would produce an error.

When you use the /testmetadata option, it is recommended that you indicate specific tests to run by using the /test option or the /testlist option, or both.

/testlist:[ test list path ]

The /testlist option is a list of tests, as specified in the test metadata file, to be run. To run the tests that are contained in multiple test lists, use the /testlist option multiple times. Any ordered tests in the test list will be run.

Note Note

You can use the /testlist option only if you also use the /testmetadata option.

You can use the /testlist option and the /test option together. This is equivalent to selecting both a test list and one or more individual tests in the Test List Editor window and then choosing Run Tests.

/category:[ test category filter ]

Use the /category option to specify which test category to run.

Note Note

You must use the /testcontainer option in order to use the /category option.

You can only use the /category option one time per command line, but you can specify multiple test categories with the test category filter. The test category filter consists of one or more test category names separated by the logical operators '&', '|', '!', '&!'. The logical operators '&' and '|' cannot be used together to create a test category filter.

For Example:

  • /category:group1 runs tests in the test category "group1".

  • /category:"group1&group2" runs tests that are in both test categories "group1" and "group2." Tests that are only in one of the specified test categories will not be run.

  • /category:"group1|group2" runs tests that are in test category "group1" or "group2". Tests that are in both test categories will also be run.

  • /category:"group1&!group2" runs tests from the test category "group1" that are not in the test category "group2." A test that is in both test category "group1" and "group2" will not be run.

    Note Note

    If your filter consists of a single category such as /category:group1, you do not have to enclose the filter in quotation marks. However, if your filter references more than one category such as /category:"group1&group2" then the filter has to be enclosed in quotation marks.

/test:[ test name ]

Use the /test option to specify individual tests to run. To run multiple tests, use the /test option multiple times.

Note Note

You can use the /test option with either the /testcontainer option or with the /testmetadata option, but not with both.

You can use the /testlist option and the /test option together. This is equivalent to selecting both a test list and one or more individual tests in the Test List Editor window and then choosing Run Tests.

The string that you specify with the /test option is a used to match the names of tests in either a test container or a test metadata file. This means that you can specify multiple tests by using a single value for /test. For example, specifying /test:ittest would produce matches for tests named DebitTest and CreditTest because both test names contain the substring 'ittest'.

Note Note

The value that you specify with the /test option is tested against not only the name of the test, but also the path of that test, as seen in Solution Explorer, or, with unit tests, to their fully qualified name.

Two usage examples follow:

Unit-test example: The file UnitTest1.cs in the project TestProject2 contains a unit test named TestMethod1. Specifying a value of 'ittest' for the /test option would also match this test, because the string is tested against the fully qualified name "TestProject2.UnitTest1.TestMethod1" and the string 'ittest' also appears in 'UnitTest1'.

Generic-test example: The following command line runs the specified generic test and, in the test results, displays the full path of the test.

mstest /testcontainer:"C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\My Documents\Visual Studio\Projects\TestProject2\TestProject2\generictest1.generic" /test:testproject32\generic

/noisolation

Use this option to run tests within the MSTest.exe process. Using this option causes no other changes to the test run configuration. The purpose of this option is to improve test run speed. However, it increases the risk to the test run as a whole because an unhandled exception thrown by the test code would cause the MSTest.exe process to crash.

/testsettings:[ file name ]

Use this option to specify a test settings file. For example: /testsettings:local.Testsettings

You can specify a test settings file in other ways, such as with the /testmetadata option. The rules that govern the specification of test settings files are described here.

  • If you use the /testsettings option, the file that it specifies will be used, whether you also use the /testmetadata option.

  • If you use the /testmetadata option to point to a metadata file that specifies the active test settings file, that test settings file will be used if you do not use the /testsettings option.

  • If you do not use the /testsettings option and you also do not specify a test settings file in the test metadata file, the test run uses the default test settings file.

    Note Note

    For more information about test settings files, see Create Test Settings for Automated System Tests Using Microsoft Test Manager.

/runconfig:[ file name ]

Note   This command-line option is maintained for compatibility with previous versions of Visual Studio. Test run configurations have been replaced by test settings in Visual Studio Premium.

Use this option to specify a run configuration file. For example: /runconfig:localtestrun.Testrunconfig

You can specify a run configuration file in other ways, such as with the /testmetadata option. The rules that govern the specification of run configuration files are described here.

  • If you use the /runconfig option, the file that it specifies will be used, whether or not you also use the /testmetadata option.

  • If you use the /testmetadata option to point to a metadata file that specifies the active run configuration file, that run configuration file will be used if you do not use the /runconfig option.

  • If you do not use the /runconfig option and you also do not specify a run configuration file in the test metadata file, the test run uses the default run configuration file.

/resultsfile:[ file name ]

Use this option to save the test run results to the named file. For example: /resultsfile:testResults.trx.

/usestderr

Using this option will cause the following information to be written to standard error:

  • Tests with a result of Failed, Aborted, Error, Timed out, Not Runnable, or Not Executed.

  • Run level errors.

  • Errors in parsing the command line arguments.

  • Run summary when the test run has a failing result.

Without this option all output is sent to standard output.

/detail:[ property id ]

This option is used to display additional test case properties, if they exist. You can pass more than one instance of the /detail option, each with only one property ID, in single command line. Valid property id's for the /detail option follow:

adapter

id

projectrelativepath

computername

isautomated

readonly

debugtrace

link

spoolmessage

description

longtext

stderr

displaytext

name

stdout

duration

outcometext

storage

errormessage

owner

testcategoryid

errorstacktrace

parentexecid

testname

executionid

priority

testtype

groups

projectname

traceinfo

Note Note

The actual selection of property IDs that you can use with the /detail option varies according to test type. Therefore, this list is only an approximation. In particular, if you are using custom test types, the selection of properties will be different. To know which propertyIDs you can use, examine the test results file produced by the test run. For more information about test results files, see How to: Save and Open Test Results in Visual Studio.

If a property exists for specified test case, its information is included in the output result summary.

For example, the command line:

mstest /testcontainer:Errors.dll /detail:testtype

produces the following output, that contains test type information:

... 
Results                    Top Level Tests 
--------                   ----------------- 
Inconclusive               TestProject2.BankAccountTest.CreditTest 
[testtype] = Unit Test 
...
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