Using Visual SourceSafe – How to backup & restore VSS DB

This article is a part of SourceSafe / VSS Tutorial

SourceSafe provides an Archive utility, with which we can periodically backup our VSS Database or projects and transport files/projects between SourceSafe databases. SourceSafe also provides a Restore tool which allows us to restore the data from an archive.

  • How to archive SourceSafe database
  • How to restore SourceSafe database


To archive a SourceSafe database:

1. First, make sure no one is using the database we are going to archive or the Analyze utility will not run during the process of archive.

2. Open the database in SourceSafe Administrator and start the Archive Wizard through menu Archive -> Archive Projects.

3. Choose the project to archive from the project list.

Choose project to archive
(Choose project to archive)


4. Click Add to add more projects we would like to archive and then click Next.

Add projects you would like to archive
(Add projects you would like to archive)


5. Specify a name for the archive file.

Specify name for the archive file
(Specify name for the archive file)


6. Specify the version range of the project to archive. We may choose to archive all of the data or archive the data older than a specific version.

Specify the version range to archive
(Specify the version range to archive)


7. Click Finish and SourceSafe will archive the projects to an .ssa file.


To restore the projects from an archive file:

1. Start the Restore Wizard through SourceSafe Administrator menu Archive -> Restore Projects.

2. Select the archive file that contains the projects we would like to restore.

Select archive file
(Select archive file)


3. Select the projects we want to restore to the database. We can check the Display subproject option to see all the subprojects.

Select projects to restore
(Select projects to restore)


4. Specify the destination to restore the project. We may restore the project to where it was archived from or to a different location.

Select restore destination
(Select restore destination)


5. After the restore operation is finish, we may log in SourceSafe to check if the projects we want have been properly restored.


Note: If we want to restore a complete backup of a VSS DB, it is recommended that we restore the backup to a new VSS database rather than an existing database.


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15 thoughts on “Using Visual SourceSafe – How to backup & restore VSS DB

  1. i am performing regular backups using the wizard “get latest version” but dunno how to restore it.please help me

  2. i want to asked a qwestion how to make controller in vss. and how to use visusl source safe .install to use.

  3. Hi,

    I have a vss backup file taken some time back but I do not know which VSS version it is as the harddisk got crashed but could not find the .ssa file instead it has the folders like data, temp and users along with srcsafe configuration file.
    Can you please help me how to restore the vss to a folder.
    Thanks in advance


  4. Made a bat file for automatic transfer that creates a datefile, put it in Task Scheduler.

    Need to be admin login, this logs, and backup everything.

    echo off

    FOR /F “TOKENS=1,2 eol=/ DELIMS=/ ” %%A IN (‘DATE/T’) DO SET mm=%%B
    FOR /F “TOKENS=1,2 DELIMS=/ eol=/” %%A IN (‘echo %CDATE%’) DO SET dd=%%B
    FOR /F “TOKENS=2,3 DELIMS=/ ” %%A IN (‘echo %CDATE%’) DO SET yyyy=%%B
    SET date=%mm%%dd%%yyyy%

    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual SourceSafe\ssarc.exe” -d- -i -yadmin,secret -olog.txt “-cArchive Everything” %date%_archive.ssa $/

  5. Hi.

    I have problem while check in for particular file in VSS ,
    file size is 1.3 MB.
    its reporting error like “There was s failure uploading the URL”.
    will u tell me why this is happening?and what should I do to resolve it?

  6. IF we are able to recover the disk and perform a backup will that replace FOLDERS that have been deleted which are going to be necessary for proper file replacement?

    Thanks much, so very much!

  7. Deepak,

    I’m using vss version 8.0 and I’m thinking try this:

    0. any user will do…admin would be nice.

    1. open sourcesafe and navigate to the root.

    2. select menu>tools>files report…should present a dialog box titled ‘Files Report’.

    3. Specify ‘file’, ‘all displayed files’, ‘filenames only’

    4. click preview.

    unless you’re admin you might receive some warnings about not having permission to view the files/folders. that’s ok…click to continue. eventually it’ll stop and show your report.

    the checked-out files are listed as the ones with a user and a working folder.

    Good luck.

  8. Can you delete files that exist in a version that has been archived and perform perform a successful restore?
    Bonnie G.

  9. Hello,

    I have an issue, after restoring vss Archive, projects under the sources safe are empty, but the Archive size 100 MB, Please suggest me what i am doing wrong


  10. Hi Donu,

    If you do not know the password of that user, you cannot check in the file for him/her.

    You can do the following things:
    1. Copy the file which is modified by the user (if you want to keep the modifications).
    2. Undo the check out through the VSS Admin tool.
    3. Check out the file.
    4. Replace the local file with the one you copied in step #1.
    5. Check in.

  11. Hello!

    I have problem with vss. Can you tell my how can I check-in another user modyfication, problem is that user now not work on this project and i can check his modyfication from his account? what can I do?

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