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Compare Initialization Variable

Visual Studio 2005

Specifies the method used to compare files during a get or checkout operation. During such operations, Visual SourceSafe does not place a new copy of a file in your working folder if the latest version is already there.

Compare = {Contents|Checksum|Time}

The following table defines the possible options for this variable. They are listed in order of increasing speed. As the speed of these methods increases, so does the risk that Visual SourceSafe might incorrectly retrieve a file. Therefore, the Contents method is recommended.


Compares the entire contents of your local copy to the master copy of the file. This is the slowest comparison method, but the most accurate.


Compares the local copy and the master copy using a checksum stored by Visual SourceSafe. If two files have the same checksum values, but are different, this method fails (this happens rarely). Use this option for most Visual SourceSafe comparison operations.


Compares the local copy and the master copy using date/time stamps. This is the fastest option, but its accuracy is influenced by the time and date settings of other computers using the file. You will generally use this option when your network supports synchronization of all networked computers. The exact method of time comparison depends on the setting of the SetTime initialization variable.

You can set this variable in your Ss.ini file directly or in Visual SourceSafe Explorer. In Visual SourceSafe Explorer, use the SourceSafe Options dialog box, Local Files tab. Make your setting In the Compare files by area.

Compares the entire contents of a local copy with the master copy to determine if the file has changed:

Compare = Checksum