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Original author(s)  Francis Irving
Development status  Active
Developer(s)  TortoiseCVS Contributors
Initial release  4 August 2000; 16 years ago (2000-08-04)
Stable release  1.12.5 / 24 January 2011; 6 years ago (2011-01-24)
Preview release  1.12.6 RC1 / 9 August 2012; 4 years ago (2012-08-09)

TortoiseCVS is a CVS client for Microsoft Windows released under the GNU General Public License. Unlike most CVS tools, it includes itself in Windows' shell by adding entries in the contextual menu of the file explorer, therefore it does not run in its own window. Moreover, it adds icons onto files and directories controlled by CVS, giving additional information to the user without having to run a full-scale stand-alone application.


The name is a pun on the word shell. The tortoise in the logo is called Charlie Vernon Smythe (CVS).

The project was started by Francis Irving when he was employed by Creature Labs to provide a better interface to CVS for his colleagues. Some of the code was derived from WinCVS and CVSNT. The first release was 4 August 2000.


TortoiseCVS will always add argument "-c" to most CVS operations when communicating with a CVS server. This causes standard non-CVSNT servers to fail as these are not aware of this argument.

Ports and forks

  • TortoiseSVN, a similar tool for use with Subversion, inspired by TortoiseCVS [1]
  • TortoiseDarcs, a similar tool for use with Darcs, derived from TortoiseCVS [2]
  • TortoiseBzr, a similar tool for use with Bazaar, inspired by TortoiseCVS and TortoiseSVN [3]
  • TortoiseHg, a similar tool for Mercurial [4]
  • TortoiseGit, a port of TortoiseSVN to Git using msysgit [5]
  • git-cheetah, a similar tool for use with Git [6]
  • Dubbelbock TFS is a similar tool for use with Team Foundation Server [7]
  • References

    TortoiseCVS Wikipedia

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