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Message: SourceSafe was unable to finish writing a file

May 20, 2016 at 9:42 AM
I am trying to migrate a Source Safe database to Subversion, using SSC2SVN and a local installation of VisualSVN Server.

I have successfully used VSS2SVN for the migrating of quite a few Source Safe databases before. Today, however, I get a lot of messages
SourceSafe was unable to finish writing a file. Check your available disk space, and ask the administrator to analyze your SourceSafe database.
I looks as if the directory structure is successfully generated, but files are not present.

Some things I have checked:
  • The disk is certainly not full, over 100GB on the local disk, where VisualSVN Server has its repositories and where VSS2SVN has its temp directory.
  • I ran the SourceSafe analyze.exe tool before migration and it fixed some minor inconsistencies.
  • I could get a Latest version from Source Safe, after setting a working folder.
  • I can browse the VisualSVN repository.
Surprisingly, this exact message is present in the first screenshot on the homepage of this tool, suggesting it is not problem. However, I do not see any files in my Subversion repository.

Stackoverflow has a question with the same message:
Visual-SourceSafe error - unable to finish writing a file, so I think this message is bubbling up from the SourceSafe API, but none of the answers solve my issue.
May 20, 2016 at 12:44 PM
Edited May 20, 2016 at 12:44 PM
I have done some more work on this and have a better understanding of what is happening.

I ran the analyze tool once more and found that there were still some errors: 19 lines like:
There is a diff chain size mismatch in file '<file name>' (bdaaaaaa) at version <version> (versions earlier than that version can no longer be retrieved from the database).
The final message :
Some errors or inconsistencies were found and fixed.
suggests that at least something was fixed, but running the analysis once more yields exactly the same errors.

With the Source Safe client tool, the error can be obtained by listing the history of one of the reported files and doing a Get for a version earlier than the reported version. This issue is described in FIX: Error message when you use the Get Latest Version option in Visual SourceSafe 2005 to try to obtain the latest version of an XML file and, indeed, the problematic files are XML-files.

So, to conclude, this issue is with Source Safe itself and cannot be solved with VSS2SVN. Running Source Safe analyze will report details about the problematic files and versions. In my case, these version were old enough to accept missing earlier versions.
May 25, 2016 at 5:49 PM

Thanks for your message, sorry you're having problems with the tool. I'm glad you've worked out the issue though. As you noted in your message, the screenshot included the same message, and for the exact same reason - my own VSS database was damaged in several places and I too had revisions I couldn't recover. Part and parcel of VSS it seems ;)

As I recall, all of my own corrupt files were VB6 class or module files, not XML.

Fortunately an issue I've yet to encounter in my SVN repositories!

Good luck with your migration! I've never looked back since I dumped VSS.

Richard Moss