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Effective SourceSafe - shell extension for SourceSafe

, 7 Jan 2002
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A shell extension enabling basic SourceSafe functionalities in Windows shell.

Sample Image - screen.gif


Effective SourceSafe is a shell extension enabling basic SourceSafe functionalities in Windows shell. With this extension you can check in/out your source files directly in Windows Explorer. It has only been tested under Windows 2000/XP with SourceSafe 6.0, but it should work on older versions too. However, overlay icons will require ME or later.


For installation, type the following command in Start->Run:

regsvr32 x:\path_to_this_file\EssShell.dll

For uninstallation, type the following command in Start->Run:

regsvr32 /u x:\path_to_this_file\EssShell.dll

Then you must restart Windows Explorer by either logoff and login or restarting computer, otherwise the Ess icons won't be loaded by Explorer.

Connects to SourceSafe database

You need to specify a profile (VssShell.ini file) to specify SourceSafe database, and which files to be included for the shell extension. A typical profile looks like:

profiles = 1
OverlayIcons = true

VSSData = E:\VSSData\srcsafe.ini
User = David Yuheng Zhao
Pwd = 
VSSRoot = $/
LocalRoot = E:\Projects\
Include_1 = *.*
Exclude_1 = *\Debug\*.*
Exclude_2 = *\*Release*\*.*
Exclude_3 = *\Output\*.*
Exclude_4 = *.bsc
Exclude_5 = *.ilk
Exclude_6 = *.obj
Exclude_7 = *.res
Exclude_8 = *.pch
Exclude_9 = *.pdb
Exclude_10 = *.aps
Exclude_11 = *.vssscc
Exclude_12 = *.*~*
Exclude_13 = *.scc
Exclude_14 = dlldata.c
Exclude_15 = *.ncb
Exclude_16 = *.positions
Exclude_17 = *_i.c
Exclude_18 = *_p.c
Exclude_19 = *_h.h
Exclude_20 = *.tmp
Exclude_21 = thumbs.db

You must specify the correct path to the SourceSafe database (VSSData), user name (User) and password (Pwd). Then you also need to specify a project (VSSRoot) from VSS (e.g. $/ or $/my_project/) and the corresponding local path (LocalRoot).

Files to be monitored are defined by "include" and "exclude" rules, the default rules are for Visual C++ projects where compiler generated files are excluded.

The INI file will be reloaded automatically when you save the file.


If you have given correct parameters in essshell.ini, you should get some additional menu items when you right click any source file in the project folder. Please note that only relevant actions are available:

  • Add to source control
  • Get latest version
  • Check out
  • Check in
  • Undo check out
  • Exclude from source control * (Not implemented yet)
  • Delete at source control*
  • About ..

Items marked with (*) are only displayed when you hold shift key when you right click at the item. When you hold shift key, (R) may appear on several menu items, then these commands will be performed recursively.

Known issues

  • Performance - Windows Explorer may become slower when you enable the overlay icons, which shows whether a file is checked out. You can disable that by setting OverlayIcons to false.
  • Use default settings only - The shell extension uses default SourceSafe settings only, and you will be ignored when you get a file which is already checked out. I will work on this when I have time.
  • Crash in File Open/Save Dialog - If you browse to a project folder in a file open/save dialog and then close the dialog immediately, the application may crash. The reason is that ESS caches SourceSafe object for about 250 ms before it cleans up. This speeds up the redraw of overlay icons. If you close the window before cleaning, the object will be destroyed at DLL_PROCESS_DETACH and an exception arises. If you are familiar with this kind of problem, please advise me. You can disable overlay icon to avoid this problem, or just wait for a while before closing any open/save dialog.
  • Bugs - As the version is only 0.1, some bugs will be expected. Please send me a message here and I will try to figure it out.

Latest version


Effective SourceSafe is a freeware, so use it freely. If you like it and find it useful, please tell your friends about it. The latest information will be available here.

Version 0.1

Copyright © Ministars Software & David Y. Zhao 2001-2002.

All rights reserved.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

David Y. Zhao
Web Developer
Sweden Sweden
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionSource Code PinmemberDenzleiM19-Jun-11 23:52 
Hello David,
could you pleas eprovide the code here in this Code Project project?
The Sourceforge area doesn't exist anymore.
AnswerRe: Source Code PinmemberDenzleiM19-Jun-11 23:59 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberRamprasad_N14-Apr-11 22:06 
GeneralWorks perfectly PinmemberRamprasad_N14-Apr-11 22:03 
Generaldont work PinmemberThomaz Luiz de Torres Bandeira.11-Dec-07 8:19 
GeneralDon't Works here... PinmemberThomaz Luiz de Torres Bandeira.11-Dec-07 8:18 
GeneralDon't Works here... PinmemberThomaz Luiz de Torres Bandeira.11-Dec-07 8:17 
GeneralOther free shell extension for SourceSafe - SourceXplore Pinmemberachirlin19-Jul-07 10:34 
GeneralOther SCC Shell Extensions PinmemberDamian Powell14-Jul-03 1:08 
GeneralThe source code is released at PinmemberDavid Y. Zhao28-Jan-03 9:32 
GeneralRe: The source code is released at Pinmemberfifi8-Mar-03 12:23 
GeneralRe: The source code is there @ sourceforge :-) PinsussJornH9-Feb-04 7:38 
GeneralRe: The source code is there @ sourceforge :-) PinmemberMickey Perlstein3-Apr-06 4:14 
GeneralSourceCode and website Pinmembermloibl16-Jan-03 22:16 
GeneralSource code will be released soon PinmemberDavid Y. Zhao16-Jan-03 23:24 
Generalif anyone's interested PinsussJohn McKeeth12-Dec-02 2:25 
GeneralRe: Thanks! PinsussAnonymous12-Dec-02 12:29 
GeneralRe: if anyone's interested Pinmemberf r i s c h23-Mar-10 23:26 
GeneralRe: if anyone's interested PinmemberAskanet18-May-10 4:01 
GeneralI'm getting nothing as well PinmemberEnder_JC11-Dec-02 22:38 
GeneralRe: I'm getting nothing as well PinmemberSteveCulshaw12-Dec-02 2:48 
GeneralBasic - how to install PinmemberSteveCulshaw3-Dec-02 23:08 
GeneralRe: Basic - how to install PinmemberSteveCulshaw11-Dec-02 2:00 
GeneralEffective SourceSafe - Shell extension on NT 4.0 PinmemberJeff Antonson19-Jun-02 12:22 
GeneralWrong check out status PinmemberAndrei Green12-Jun-02 4:03 

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