Paul Roub

A Software Tool Geek in His Natural Habitat

Finding Non-Version-Controlled Files in Vault and Fortress

I’ve been talking to some Vault users who felt that Vault was letting them down — specifically, that the client wasn’t helping them spot newly-added files, and make sure they were checked in. Orphaned files lead to broken builds, gnashing of teeth ensues.

It’s easy to forget this when (as most of us here at SourceGear do) you spend much of your life using and thinking about IDEs. Using Vault and Fortress in Visual Studio or Eclipse, it takes an effort to keep your project’s new files out of version control.

I’ll state up front that we don’t solve this problem as well as we should at the moment, and we’re going to address that. In the meantime, a quick primer on how we do solve the problem — and actually, we do a better job than might be immediately apparent.

There are two ways in which we’ll find new files for you.


The first is via the "Show non-version-controlled files ghosted in the file list" and "Show non-version-controlled folders in the folder tree" options. With these enabled, viewing a directory in Vault will show grayed-out, "ghosted" entries for files (or folders) in the working directory, but not in Vault, like so:

The problem is, especially for new files, this is a folder-at-a-time feature. There’s no at-a-glance way to see all new files in all subfolders.

Detect New Files to Add

This is better handled by the Detect New Files to Add feature. What’s not immediately obvious is how that feature does allow recursive searching of a folder. An example may help.

Here’s a simple folder structure — one subfolder, a few files.

Some of these files are checked in to Fortress, some are not:

We fire up Detect New Files to Add

And initially, we see the new file in the root folder (the one folder we’re currently viewing).

We check the box next to "dwtest", and Fortress searches this folder and all of its known subfolders, to find non-version-controlled files. Note that the .dll file we saw earlier is ignored — there’s a predefined list of file types to exclude from searches like this (which can, of course, be modified on the fly or via the Admin tools).

But what if we don’t want to add all of those files? No problem. Select any files you want to kick off the list, then click Remove.

Add a comment, or not, then click OK to add everything still on the list.

What’s missing?

The most glaring omission here is that we detect new files only. If you’ve added a new folder, Detect New… won’t spot it. Luckily, this is a much-less-common occurrence, and less likely to go unnoticed. But still. Needs to be better. And it will be.

Speak up

(Hopefully) needless to say, while I’m always happy to hear praise for our products, I’m just as eager to hear what’s not working for you. Have a Vault or Fortress pet peeve? A most-missed nonexistent feature? Don’t hesitate to let me know.