CVS (Concurrent Versions System) is an open-source network-transparent version control system for individual developers to large, distributed teams.

CVSNT is made available under the terms of the GNU General Public License and can be installed on Windows (NT, 2000, XP) Linux and Unix installations.

The latest CVSNT version can be downloaded from:

A GUI front-end for CVS can be downloaded from:

How to access a remote CVS repository.


Operating system used
Windows XP Home Edition Version 5.1 SP 2

Software prerequisites

  1. Before a user can access a remote CVS repository, the CVSROOT must be set:

    set CVSROOT=:<protocol>:<username>@<ip-address>:<repository>

    If pserver protocol is used:
    set CVSROOT=:pserver:[email protected]:/CVSRepository

    If sserver protocol is used:
    set CVSROOT=:sserver:[email protected]:/CVSRepository

    Note: The ip-adress (or domain name) is where the remote CVS server is running.


    If the CVSNT's Repository prefix feature is not used, for example the CVS location name is set to C:/CVSRepository, then you must use:

    If pserver protocol is used:
    set CVSROOT=:pserver:[email protected]:C:/CVSRepository

    If sserver protocol is used:
    set CVSROOT=:sserver:[email protected]:C:/CVSRepository

    CVSNT 2.0.51:

    CVS Prefix

    CVSNT 2.5.03:

    CVS Prefix

  2. After the CVSROOT is set, the user need to login first:

    cvs login

    You should see the following:

    Logging in to :pserver:[email protected]:2401:/CVSRepository
    CVS password:*******

  3. The user has now access to the CVS repository. To list all the directories in the CVS repository:

    cvs ls -l -R

  4. If a user wants to access another CVS repository, their is no need to set the environment variable CVSROOT:

    cvs -d :<protocol>:<username>@<ip-address>:<repository> login
    cvs -d :<protocol>:<username>@<ip-address>:<repository> ls -l -R

    As you have noticed you have to type in a lot of text.
    It is therefore recommened just to temporarily set the CVSROOT.