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The SVN system always has two components: a server and a client. You can think of this like a web server and a web browser. The client is the the browser that accesses the data on the server. The server manages the central master copy of your projects in a database that is referred to as the "repository".
Subversion itself is the server component. It manages your central project storage repository and is normally installed on a central server computer, which can be accessed via your local network or the Internet. It can be installed on the same computer where you do your work, but that is not recommended.
Your SVN server does not have to be a Windows computer. There are versions available for Linux, Unix and Mac OS X servers as well as for Windows. Windows versions are available from several sources, including Collabnet and Visual SVN.
This is the software that each user installs on their computer to communicate with the SVN server. It provides the interface that Help+Manual interacts with and some clients also include integration in Windows Explorer so that you can perform operations there directly. Here too, they are all free and open source. Currently, Help+Manual supports the Tortoise SVN, Collabnet and Visual SVN clients. The client for the older UberSVN distribution is also supported, but that distribution has now been discontinued by its producer and so we can no longer recommend it.
Please use Tortoise SVN as your Subversion client
We recommend using Tortoise SVN as your client unless you have a special reason for using one of the other clients. It is the best client for use on Windows by a very wide margin. It provides the best interface for Help+Manual and excellent integration in Windows Explorer. Note also that only versions 1.6 and above support the functions that are necessary for proper communication with Help+Manual.
Make sure that the Tortoise and SVN version numbers match
If you are using an SVN server instead of Tortoise on its own, the version of Tortoise should match the version of SVN you are using. Tortoise is developed and updated in lockstep with SVN, so the two versions should always match.
Current versions of SVN and Tortoise on 64-bit Windows
Tortoise 1.9.4 and later no longer install some components needed for 32-bit programs like Help+Manual on 64-bit Windows. This is not a problem, however. You can get the free components from Microsoft and Collabnet and everything will work fine. See Resolving Tortoise problems further below for full instructions.
Using SVN and Tortoise 1.9.2 or earlier
If you are using Tortoise and SVN version 1.9.2 or earlier, you just need to install Tortoise and SVN and you will be ready to go. They will work fine with Help+Manual in both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Do not use SVN 1.9.3 and Tortoise 1.9.3!
SVN and Tortoise 1.9.3 should be viewed as a problematic, interim version as far as Help+Manual is concerned and they should be avoided.
Current versions of SVN and Tortoise on 32-bit Windows
If you are using SVN and Tortoise 1.9.4 and later and 32-bit Windows you are also fine. Then you will be using the 32-bit Tortoise installation and you will have everything you need. Here too, you just need to install the matching versions of SVN and Tortoise.
Current versions of Tortoise SVN after 1.9.2 no longer install some needed runtime components for 32-bit programs automatically on 64-bit Windows. To resolve these problems you can either install the additional components or downgrade Tortoise and SVN to 1.9.2. Installing the missing components is really the best and safest solution, however.
Installing the missing communication components for 32-bit programs
This is provided by a simple 6MB package available free from Collabnet. See our blog posting on this for full instructions:
Installing the missing C++ runtime components
On 64-bit versions of Windows, you may also need to install some missing C++ runtime components from Microsoft manually, because Tortoise no longer installs these for you. You can download them on this page:
Restart Windows after installing. Once the missing communication and C++ components are in place, Tortoise should work fine with Help+Manual.
ALTERNATIVE: Downgrading SVN and Tortoise to version 1.9.2
If you don't need the current version of SVN and Tortoise, Help+Manual works fine with version 1.9. 2. Remember, however, that the versions of the SVN server and Tortoise should match. So if you are using Tortoise 1.9.2 you should also be using SVN 1.9.2. You can get the installer from the Tortoise repository on SourceForge:
Generally, however, it is much simpler and safer to use the current versions of SVN and Tortoise and add the missing components manually.