Notes To Myself: Fixing TortoiseCVS breakage (permissions, crashes, missing overlays) on Windows 7 64-bit

Problem 1) TortoisePlink.exe crashes when attempting CVS operations.

Win7 throws the error message “A problem caused this program to stop working correctly” (gee, thanks, that’s a most helpful crash dump) and checks The Interclouds for solutions (finding none). Groveling down to the actual crash report (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer -> Windows Logs -> Application, scrolllll down to the most recent relevant “Error” entry, and bathe your mouse-clicking finger in icewater) reveals:

Faulting application name: TortoisePlink.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x4d3d6cef
Faulting module name: MSVCR90.dll, version: 9.0.30729.4940, time stamp: 0x4ca2ef57
Exception code: 0xc0000417
Fault offset: 0x00051380
Faulting process id: 0xfc4
Faulting application start time: 0x01cf7b616bc5e4c9
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files\TortoiseCVS\TortoisePlink.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\WinSxS\x86_microsoft.vc90.crt_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.30729.4940_none_50916076bcb9a742\MSVCR90.dll
Report Id: ab10ecd7-e754-11e3-aa78-b8ca3abe82c0

Solution: At the time of this writing, the version of TortoisePlink that comes with TortoiseCVS is several years old, even for the experimental “new” (2012) RC1 build, the datestamp claims 2011 and the filesize is 200-some KB. A related project, TortoiseSVN, has a much newer version (400-some KB; datestamp claims 4/2014). Unfortunately I found no trustworthy places to download a standalone copy. So, download and install TortoiseSVN, copy-pasta its TortoisePlink.exe over the copy in TortoiseCVS, and you can then uninstall TortoiseSVN if you like.

Alternate solution: TortoiseCVS now has internal SSH support. If you don’t need to pass any external arguments to the SSH stuff (e.g. the “avoid re-entering password” trick (-pw mypassword)) or use the SSH-keypair-in-place-of-password thing, you can go into all your ‘Root’ files (inside the hidden .CVS directories added all over the place) and change every occurrence of :ext: to :ssh: , which will use the internal support instead of fobbing it off to the crashing TortoisePlink. Note that you will have to do this for EVERY. SINGLE. FILE.

Problem 2) Permission Denied error when trying to “CVS Commit” and possibly other operations.

Some other operations (“CVS Diff”) might still work. Example error message:

In P:\WVR_RIF\04_Design\Electronic\Software\wvr_workspace\wvr_navy_v1: “C:\Program Files
(x86)\CVSNT\cvs.exe” commit -M .cproject

cvs [commit aborted]: cannot open file .cproject for comparing: Permission denied
cvs commit: Committed on the Free edition of March Hare Software CVSNT Client
Upgrade to CVS Suite for more features and support:

Error, CVS operation failed

My own repositories happen to be on a network drive (my employer’s setup), so I don’t know if this error is unique to this situation.

Solution: This error seems to have been introduced in a more recent version. The solution is similar to that above, except you need to downgrade to a version without the bug. TortoiseCVS actually ships with two separate collections of programs, TortoiseCVS proper (32- and 64-bit) and a separate “CVSNT” (32-bit only, at least the version that comes with TortoiseCVS), which does some of the underlying dirty work. The bug is in the “CVSNT” portion of this matryoshka. I don’t know the exact version where the bug was introduced, but copying the version from my old PC (cvs.exe dated 7/5/2006; identifying as “cvsnt 2.5.03 (Scorpio) Build 2382”, and the rest of the folder) did the trick.

Sidenote: Notice also that recent versions accompany this specific error message with a smarmy note about updating to a paid version for “support”. Indeed, TortoiseCVS appears to be somewhat abandoned in favor of the paid/professional “CVSNT” by the same author. Makes one wonder…

Problem 3) File/folder icon overlays do not appear, or only appear sometimes but not always (e.g. every other reboot).

Solution: Windows Explorer provides a limited number of ‘slots’ (16 to be exact?) for programs to define icon overlays. In Win7 x64 (at least), about a half-dozen of these are eaten up for “SkyDrive”, Microsoft’s foray into cloud file hosting. (What, you did not voluntarily install SkyDrive, and possibly never even heard of it? Welcome to the club.) Anyway, to fix:

Open registry editor and navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers . Now start nuking entries that seem least likely to be useful to you (SkyDrive, Offline Files, …) until the total is down to 16 or less.

Note, if you’ve done any version mix-n-match and/or reinstalled TortoiseCVS (I’m not sure exactly what triggers it), you may have a bunch of obsolete entries in there from Tortoise itself. For example, my machine has a TortoiseNormal and a 1TortoiseNormal, etc. It appears that the current version of TortoiseCVS (1.12.5 stable, 1.12.6 beta) uses the unnumbered ones – start by trying nuking those. If this doesn’t work, just nuke ALL the Tortoise entries from orbit and then uninstall-reinstall the program “TortoiseOverlays” (may be available standalone from some other source, e.g. TortoiseSVN, or by fully uninstalling TortoiseOverlays and reinstalling TortoiseCVS, which includes it.).

Problem 4) ” end of file from server (consult above messages if any)”

Solution (maybe): The hits just keep coming, don’t they? This error could mean just about anything (server side, client side, bad-behaving firewall or network appliance, sunspot activity, voodoo curse…), but one likely culprit is a crash in an external program (namely, TortoisePlink.exe) used to perform the connection. One easy thing to check is to run TortoisePlink.exe on its own (e.g. doubleclick) and see if it crashes. In my case, this threw the error:

“The program can’t start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.”

In theory, installing TortoiseCVS also installs the necessary runtimes, but somehow during the circle-jerk of uninstall-reinstall cycles to diagnose the other problems above (or some other app I installed the next day, or who knows really), this file got wiped out. Installing it from Microsoft cleared that up.

Alternate solutions: I’ve had this problem with previous TortoiseCVS installs, but the “end of file from server” message came not immediately, but only after replying to the password prompt. In this case, it was “fixed” by supplying the “-pw mypassword” argument to the external SSH tool, bypassing the password dialog (and presumably crash). Your IT folks may frown on you doing this however, since it leaves your password in cleartext on the machine.

Another thing you can try (assuming it’s a client side problem) is as above, change all the “:ext:” to “:ssh:” in all your CVSROOTs. Well, try it on ONE first and see if it fixes the problem before spending the rest of your day updating the rest of them.

One Response to “Notes To Myself: Fixing TortoiseCVS breakage (permissions, crashes, missing overlays) on Windows 7 64-bit”

  1. Paolo says:

    Thank you, the trick of switchink the TortoisePlink.exe file from TortoiseSVN seems to work!

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