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VSS Data Export

VSS Data Export extracts all the file and project information from MS Visual SourceSafe to an SQL server or Access database. The application is ideal for:

  • Monitoring and enforcing SourceSafe usage policies.
  • Performing advanced queries.
  • Extraction of source history for record keeping (e.g. version, comments, labels).

The export may include labels, comments, checkout status, SourceSafe paths, local paths, item version information etc. etc. The only piece of data not extractable is the file data itself!!

VSS Data Export


VSS Data Export - User Guide




Minimum requirements:

  • NT4 or higher
  • MS Visual SourceSafe 6
  • MS Access 2000 or MS SQL Server 7 (or higher) or MSDE
  • On NT4 make sure MDAC2.5 is installed, on Windows2000 this is installed by default

To install, download the application and run the self extracting installation. Follow the installation wizard steps. 


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Using the application

VSS Configuration

Start the application from the VSS Data Export program group. The user interface is organized in two tabs. The first tab configures MS Visual SourceSafe export settings, the second configures the target database. 

VSS Data Export

Performing an export will at least require you to select the Visual SourceSafe database, enter the VSS login credentials and click Export. Through the VSS tab you can further specify the data to be exported. In this manner the export is faster and contains only the required elements. The following VSS export parameters can be configured:

  • The base SourceSafe path to start exporting from.
  • Selection to include/exclude sub-projects.
  • Selection between exporting projects only or both projects and file items.
  • Selection to include/exclude version and checkout information.
  • Selection to include/exclude deleted files and projects.

Browing VSS folders

Through the VSS Project browser you can quickly choose the root from which to start the export. This also enables you to browse deleted (but not purged) projects. If you do choose a deleted project make sure to enable export of deleted items by setting the 'Include Deleted Items' check-box, otherwise the export fails.


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Database Configuration

Database properties

Export progress bar


Exporting to MS Access

By default VSS Data Export will use an Access database as a target destination. When exporting to MS Access, just make sure that the DB tab has its 'Export To:' set to 'MS Access Database'. Hit the Export button to start exporting. The 'VSS Data Export Progress' dialog will open showing the export status. Once completed, click on 'Save As...' button in order to specify the destination mdb file where the data should be saved.


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Export to SQL Server/MSDE

Exporting to SQL Server 7 (or higher) involves two steps

  • Creating the database
  • Performing the export

On the DB tab select 'SQL Server/MSDE Database' in the 'Export To:' selection option. This will enable the SQL configuration settings. Specify the SQL/MSDE server machine name and the SQL login credentials. In order for us to create the database the SQL login user must have enough access rights to create databases.  Click on 'Create DB' button to start the database creation process. Once ready a database named vss2sql will be created on the destination server.

Creating the database is only required when running the application for the first time. Once created VSS Data Export will always re-use the same database. This means that SQL login credentials for performing an export need not have database creation access rights. Of course if the export needs to run against a new SQL server then Database creation must be run again.

After creating the database click on the Export button. The 'VSS Data Export Progress' dialog will open showing the export status. Once ready, run the SQL Enterprise Manager to see the data that was exported.

SQL enables performing exports from a single machine.  Once the data is within the SQL server, client applications such as MS Access could be used to retrieve the data from any machine. Using MS Access simply involves creating a project file linked to the SQL server database.

When used in combination with SQL, VSS Data Export always re-uses the same database. This gives the possibility to customize the database with frequently used queries making them available to all users. In case of MS Access the export always involves re-creating a new mdb, hence any saved queries are lost whenever re-running the export.


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Database Structure

VSS Data Export creates databases with four linked tables: Projects, Files, File Checkouts, and File Versions. The linkage enables you to easily join tables to form complex queries. The diagram that follows shows the table linkage view from MS Access.

Database Schema


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Sample SQL queries

List the files under the Project '$/OLE/DragDrop'

FROM FileTable
WHERE VSSPath LIKE "$/OLE/DragDrop/*";


Get the list of files labeled as "Build1234"

SELECT [FileTable].[VSSPath]
FROM FileTable INNER JOIN VerTable ON [FileTable].[FileID]=[VerTable].[FileID]
WHERE ([VerTable].[Label]="Build1234");


Get the list of Projects having files labeled as "Build1234"

SELECT DISTINCT [ProjectTable].[VSSPath]
FROM (ProjectTable INNER JOIN FileTable ON [ProjectTable].[ProjectID]=[FileTable].[ProjectID])
INNER JOIN VerTable ON [FileTable].[FileID]=[VerTable].[FileID]
WHERE ([VerTable].[Label]="Build1234");


Get all Projects checked-out to the user "Administrator"
SELECT DISTINCT [ProjectTable].[VSSPath]
FROM (ProjectTable INNER JOIN FileTable ON [ProjectTable].[ProjectID]=[FileTable].[ProjectID])
INNER JOIN COutTable ON [FileTable].[FileID]=[ COutTable].[FileID]
WHERE ([COutTable].[UserName]="Administrator");


List all deleted files that were not purged yet.

FROM FileTable
WHERE Not (IsDeleted=0);


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Export Reporting  

VSS Data Export creates a text report whenever performing an export. The report has a fixed path and filename <VSS Data Export dir.>\ExportResult.txt  This file is over-written with every new export. Hence if you need to save the report, the file must be copied to some other location.

You will find reporting most useful when running VSS Data Export in command-line non-interactive mode. The reports contain the information that follows:

Export Headers - This includes the date and time when the export was performed.

Export Parameters - The settings used to perform the export such as VSS database path, VSS User login name, SQL server details etc.

VSS Projects/Files Exported - A list of VSS paths identifying which items were exported.

Error Reports - If the export fails the report will contain valuable details through which it is normally easy to identify the cause of the problem.


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Command-line Exports

In all, VSS Data Export can be run in three modes listed below:

  • Standard Interactive Mode - This is the default mode in which the application runs if you select 'VSS Data Export' from the program group.
  • Command-Line Interactive Mode - In this mode VSS Data Export takes export parameters through command-line. It is still interactive since a number of dialogs pop-up at various stages of execution.
  • Command-Line Non-Interactive Mode - The application takes export parameters though command-line and performs the export silently without any dialogs. 

The two command-line modes are activated by specifying  /QUIET OFF for command-line interactive and /QUIET ON for command line non-interactive. Details on all possible parameters is available from the application program group, 'Command-line Export'. 

The most common use of the command-line non-interactive mode is to setup scheduled tasks using the Windows Task Scheduler. In this manner the VSS data can be automatically kept in sink with the target database. For a step-by-step description of how to setup automated exports and troubleshooting check the article Scheduling VSS Exports


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Scheduling VSS Exports

Click here for details on how to setup scheduled VSS exports using VSS Data Export and the windows scheduler.


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Feedback and Support

VSS Data Export is a freeware application. Nevertheless we would like to make sure that the application works without any problems and that its functionality meets your needs. Hence if you have any feedback or support please mail to:

When reporting export failure problems, please make sure to include a copy of the export report file. This is automatically generated whenever performing an export and is located under <VSS Data Export dir.>\ExportResult.txt


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