Subversion: Unlinking a local folder from a Subversion folder on the server

Purpose of this post:

To demonstrate how to disconnect Subversion from controlling a folder on your local drive using TortoiseSVN.  The commands in TortoiseSVN are very vague and in this case, counter-intuitive.

Intended Audience:

Programmers new or somewhat new to Subversion Version Control System.

Target Platform and Tools:

This will be on a Windows client platform (server platform is not relevant to this discussion) using the TortoiseSVN Windows Shell extension (It adds a right-click menu to folders in Windows Explorer).

Expectations of the reader:

It’s assumed that the reader:

  • has already downloaded and installed TortoiseSVN.
  • has access to a Subversion server.
  • Can perform basic operations on Subversion with TortoiseSVN.
  • understands the basic concepts of version or source control (repository, check in (commit), check out (update), etc…)
  • is a programmer or system administrator.
  • is reading this post to learn how to unlink a local folder from a Subversion repository, while performing the operation on a Windows client with TortoiseSVN.
  • has a folder somewhere on their hard drive with source files in it that are already being controlled by Subversion.
What this post does NOT do:
  • Teach you about the basics of version control (or source control).
  • Teach you how to install any components of any software.
  • anything other than provide what you need to know to disconnect a local folder from a Subversion repository.
  • talk about any particular programming language.
  • try to convince you that Subversion is better or worse than any other version control system.
What is “Unversioning” or “Unlinking” or “Disconnecting”?

Neither of these are “official” terms.  As a matter of fact, there does not appear to be an official term for this type of operation.  In short, what we’re talking about here is the act of stopping a local folder from being connected to a Subversion repository in any way.  You’d think this would be simple to find, but it’s not.

How to Unversion or Unlink or Disconnect:
  1. In Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer!!!), right-click your local folder that’s currently under Subversion control that you wish to no longer be under Subversion control.
  2. Choose “TortoiseSVN”, then “Export”.
  3. The “Browse for folder” dialog box comes up.  Use that to find the SAME folder you just right-clicked on then click the “OK” button.
  4. TortoiseSVN will recognize that it’s already versioned and will offer you the opportunity to unversion it with the following dialog box:
    • image
  5. Click “Yes”.

Your folder will no longer be versioned or linked to subversion.  It’s now just another folder on your hard drive.

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