I recently upgraded my TortoiseSVN installation to version 1.7.1. This forced me to upgrade my working copy as well. The upgrade removed all (but one) of the .svn directories from all subdirectories leaving only one in the root.

Now out of the blue (of course; I suspect my antivirus software) there is an error when I for example try to clean up the working copy. I am also not able to commit anything.

The error message when cleaning up is:

Cleanup failed to process the following paths: C:\svn

Can't open file 'C:\svn.svn\pristine\73\73bcc5fa7819f84f56b81dfa0236f0aac7b7d404.svn-base': The system cannot find the file specified.

I traced the error to be related to the presence of one directory within the working copy. If I rename it then everything works. When it is present I get the error. I also deleted it and checked it out again. No change, the error persists.

With previous versions I could repair damages in the .svn easily: just delete the offending folder and check out again. I cannot do this anymore because now the .svn dir is centralized.

What could I do to repair my working copy?

6 Answers 6


Can't open file 'C:\svn.svn\pristine\73\73bcc5fa7819f84f56b81dfa0236f0aac7b7d404.svn-base

I just had a similar error and I actually had to make that file with notepad and then cleanup worked.

  • 1
    But is that safe to do? Will "svn cleanup" make that file non-empty again? (Because it certainly was before, no?)
    – hans_meine
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 8:39
  • I can verify that this method works, I am not sure what is the outcome/loss from creating such an empty file - but not creating it, didn't allow me to "proceed with the commit" Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 5:37

Instead of creating an empty file (which I did not dare to do), I did a temporary fresh checkout of just the affected directory (specifying the same revision) and copied the missing file from the new .svn subfolder into the broken working directory's one.

In order to further illustrate this, in my case, the file svn complained about was .svn/pristine/d1/d12a84ef7be5dad86b76e1a45fc3da4698d38796.svn-base, which is exactly the path to be found in the fresh, partial checkout.


We had the same problem after upgrading from older version to Tortoise SVN 1.7.7.

Since I found no other solution, I deleted the local working copy and checked it out again. It's working fine now.


I got the issue while I aborted a merge. I couldn't perform any SVN action. On doing an SVN cleanup it gave an error that it cannot find a specified file which lead to cleanup failure.

I created a dummy file with that exact name in the specified folder and did a SVN clean.

Then I was able to proceed.


I had a similar problem, where it was saying that a file C:\working_copy\dir\file.xml could not be found. I had deleted the dir directory. In my case, simply adding a new dir folder & file.xml file (with empty text) allowed the cleanup to continue, then I could properly re-update the working copy.


My issue was that I would need to reconfigure all project in my IDE if I check out from scratch repository, I didn't care about saving changes.

I have removed .svn directory and checkout repository in the same directory.

Issue was resolved: I was able to do all svn operations and project was still configured in IDE

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