If you click Start, click Run, type "SS Help", click OK and nothing really happens, this post is for you.

At the end of yesterday's post, Avoiding the VSS Login Prompt, I mentioned a pair of  environment variables, PATH and SSDIR, almost in passing. 

PATH and SSDIR deserve more than passing mention though; for they are friends, good friends. 

The function of PATH and SSDIR

  • PATH specifies the path to your local, VSS client executables (usually the \Win32 folder in your VSS installation directory), SS.exe for command-line and script operations, SSExp.exe for the VSS Explorer, and SSAdmin.exe for the VSS Administrator.
  • SSDIR specifies the path to a VSS database, normally the one most frequently used (for lack of a more creative alternative, let's call this the Current Database), which is usually the PATH value minus "\Win32".
  • SSDIR determines the default database path for the Login dialog box.

Using SSDIR to change the current database on the fly

When you're working in a command shell or running a script containing VSS commands, you can change the current database for the duration of your user session by entering, "SET SSDIR=<path>", where path is the location of the target database's SRCSAFE.ini file. The ability to change the current database is particularly useful in scripts that do things like moving projects, files, or versions of such between two databases using archive and restore OR when copying a user list and its attending passwords and user permissions to a new database.  I'll return to this last task in a future post.  Until then, send me your comments and requests and run Analyze.exe on your favorite VSS database.

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