SME Pages

Installation of TortoiseCVS

29th November 2004 Ian Wells


The tagline for TortoiseCVS is Enjoyable version control.

It is very easy to use and meets my modest requirements. An alternative is WinCVS if a more comprehensive client is needed.

The User Guide in HTML and HELP formats is comprehensive, well written, and now found in the program directory.

This HowTo tries to cover setting up TortoiseCVS, leaving the User Guide and other sources to cover actually using CVS.

The Download page contains both stable and unstable versions. Version 1-8-8 was the latest at time of writing.
The screenshots are from the 1-4-x version and will be updated soon.

Some comparison tools are useful when using CVS to see differences between files and directories.


Installation and configuration

Install TortoiseCVS with the default options and restart the computer when requested.

After the PC has rebooted.

right-click on the desktop,
and see the new CVS options.
  cvsrclk (1K)

To set up the preferences, select CVS then Preferences
(see menu above).

Main Tab

Change the Overlay Icons if desired.

Select the diff application to be used.
  img01 (8K)

To use only SSH version 2 select the TortoisePlinkSSH2.bat file which is in the same directory as the tortoise executable.
You will need to edit this file to use the correct path if TortoiseCVS was not installed in C:\Program Files\TortoiseCVS
  img06 (11K)
Plink Security Alert

When connecting to the server for the first time you will see a pop-up similar to the one shown.

This is a feature of the SSH protocol and is explained in Chapter 2.2 of the PuTTY manual.
  img02 (12K)

The First Module

Before starting to check in & out it is advisable to set up access with a Public-Private Key Pair, to avoid entering your password constantly.

When TortoiseCVS is used to check in/out the first module it will be necessary to set up some server settings.

After entering the information once it will be possible to click a previous CVSROOT to use the same settings.

Module Tab

This is where you enter the information about your CVS server.

Protocol: Secure shell should be used.

Server: The name of your server.

Repository directory: The full path to the CVS repository on the server.

User name: The user must exist on the server.

Module: The CVS module name.
  img03 (6K)

Web Log

To see this configuration box,
select CVS - Web Log whilst holding down the Ctrl key.

For ViewCVS enter the path to viewcvs.cgi

For CVSweb enter the path to cvsweb.cgi

  img04 (6K)

Explorer Options

After checking out a module it is useful to customise the columns that explorer shows for the local CVS directories.
The CVS columns can be selected after selecting More... (Right Click on a column header for this menu)

In the screenshot the CVS Revision and CVS Status columns have already been added.

img05 (9K)

Public-Private keys

It is possible to use SSH and a public-private Key Pair to avoid constant entering of your password.
The following steps are required:

The creation and installation of a Key Pair is detailed in SSH Public-Private Keys.
I have also written a short PuTTY guide to show the steps needed to use Pageant.