SVN: This client is too old to work with working copy

Similar to the error message:

The working copy at XXX is too old (format XXX) to work with client version XXX (rXXX)’ (expects format XX). You need to upgrade the working copy first.

which indicates that the current client version is not able to work with a working copy made by an old svn version (in which case you need to perform an svn upgrade in the working copy), you can get the opposite error message saying:

This client is too old to work with working copy ‘XXX’. You need to get a newer Subversion client, or to downgrade this working copy.

This means that you have used a newer version to create the working copy or have upgraded the working copy with a newer version of svn. This is usually caused by one of the following:

  1. You have reinstalled an old version of svn.
  2. You have multiple versions of svn installed and are just using the wrong one.
  3. You get this error in a tool like Eclipse which ships with its own version of svn and the working copy was upgraded from the command line which uses a newer version of svn.

For the first problem, the solution is pretty simple: update your svn installation to a newer version.

For the second problem, execute the following to check which version of svn you are using:

svn --version

It will probably show you that you are using an outdated version of svn. If you do not need anymore, the best way to solve it is to uninstall this outdated svn version and make sure that the newer version is available in the path. If you do need it, then you’ll need to access this working copy using the full path to the newer svn executable.

If you’re getting this error in Eclipse using subclipse, check that you have the write version of subclipse installed as shown at the end of this post.

Note that a downgrade from version 1.7 to version 1.6 or lower is not possible because the internal formats are not compatible. In all cases a downgrade is definitely not the way you want to go. If you need to have working copies using different versions of subversion, the best solution is to use an absolute path to the svn executable.

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