Having done this a few times before and always ending up scouring the documentation regarding exactly how to enable the options I need, I’m hereby committing it to long-term memory…

Subversion 1.4.0 and later support running Subversion directly as a Windows Service. This allows you to access your repository via TortoiseSVN, svn.exe, etc. using:


You can find information in the Subversion FAQ as well as a link to a document describing exactly how to set it up. There is no tool provided to configure the Windows Service. So you’re stuck using sc.exe, the Service Control command line tool, which ships with various versions of Windows. It is rather quirky, even for command line tools. Note that the name/value pairs are “Name=” followed by a space followed by “Value”. The equals sign is part of the name and won’t work if the equals sign is omitted or if you insert a space before the equals sign.*

Here’s how I typically configure Subversion to run as a service:

sc create <ServiceName> binPath= “\”<PathToSvnBin>\svnserve.exe\” –service -r <SrcRepoRoot>” DisplayName= “Subversion Service” depend= Tcpip start= auto obj= <Computer or Domain\ServiceAccount> password= <Password>


<ServiceName> is the name of the service (as used in commands such as net stop <ServiceName>).

<PathToSvnBin> is the fully-qualified path to svnservce.exe. N.B. You have to surround it with \” to escape the path if it contains spaces.

<SrcRepoRoot> is the fully-qualified path to the directory that contains all your repositories.

<ComputerOrDomain\ServiceAccount> is the user account under which you want to run the service. You need to include the computer or domain name (depending on if it’s a local or domain account, respectively).

For my environment, it ends up looking like this:

sc create svnserve binPath= “\”C:\Program Files\Subversion\bin\svnserve.exe\” –service -r c:\SrcRepos” DisplayName= “Subversion Service” depend= Tcpip start= auto obj= Server\SvnDaemon password= P@ssw0rd

I usually use a local computer account, SvnDaemon, for running my repositories. After creating the account, I remove it from the Users group. By removing the account from Users, no one can log in using that account and it also removes it from the main log-in screen in Windows XP and Vista. In Local Security Policy… Local Policies… User Rights Assignment…, grant SvnDaemon the “Log on as a service” privilege. Explicitly grant Full Control to c:\SrcRepos.

Last thing you need to do is punch a hole in your firewall to allow connections on the standard svn port, which is TCP 3690.

Now you can start the service via “net start svnserve”. Your firewall might prompt you to grant permission for svnserve.exe to listen on the Subversion port.

Time to test. Launch the TortoiseSVN RepoBrowser and enter “svn://server/RepoName”. You should be able to now browse your repository.

* Note that PowerShell doesn’t grok the “Name=” syntax. PowerShell tries to interpret it as some sort of assignment. I haven’t bothered digging in to find out how to instruct PowerShell to treat the “Name=” literally. In the meantime, it works just fine from cmd.exe. Confused