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Rvervuurt February 2016

Where do deleted files go in SVN?

I just removed some files by using svn --force delete path/folder copy. However, the space between folder and copy made it think it had to delete multiple things, so now it removed my original folder.

I hadn't versioned my original folder yet, so all changes are gone. Luckily, I didn't change a lot in that specific folder, so this is mostly for future use if I end up doing the same stupid thing: How do I revert or restore files that have not been committed before? Where do I find these files? They did not get moved to my trash can.


Patrick Quirk February 2016

They are deleted, pure and simple. Unfortunately, the documentation for the delete command only says this:

Files (and directories that have not been committed) are immediately removed from the working copy unless the --keep-local option is given.

For proof, we have to look waaaay down in the SVN source, where svn_io_remove_file2 eventually calls apr_file_remove, which:

  • if you're on Windows invokes DeleteFile. This method just deletes the file; if the programmers wanted to send it to the Recycle Bin, they'd instead have to use SHFileOperation and pass it the FOF_ALLOWUNDO flag.
  • if you're on *nix (includes Mac OS), invokes unlink, which does the following:

    ... the file is deleted and the space it was using is made available for reuse

Note: I'd do a deeper link to points in the code, but the web-accessible SVN and APR repositories don't allow line-level linking :(

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Asked in February 2016
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