Missing TortoiseSVN Shell Icon overlays

This has been bugging me for weeks and today I finally found and resolved the problem so thought I should share in case anyone else has this problem too.

I couldn’t remember when I first noticed they were missing but when ever I checked a working folder on my laptop the tortoise svn icon overlays were missing. When I edited a file the red cross would appear as expected, but the green tick to say a file was up to date or the question mark for non-versioned files were missing, meaning I didn’t know if a file was up to date with the repo head or an ignored/non-versioned file.

This morning I came across a post on stack overflow that suggested modifying the registry to over-right the usual Microsoft default setting cock-up. In Windows, for memory reasons Im guessing, they have limited the number of allowed Shell Icon overlays to 11. Now at first this seems like a logical way to stop memory abuse in Explorer. But for some stupid reason (most likely so their overlays come first), they are actioned in alphabetical order, so any overlays in position 12+ are ignored. With M being in the middle of the alphabet this results in the majority of these slots being allocated by Microsoft Products. In this case Tortoise SVN (obviously starting with a T) was being pushed out of the allowed slots.

I found this out by doing a search in the registry for ‘ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers’ (NOTE: only open regedit if your comfortable using it, we don’t need to change anything just taking a peek so you should be ok). This reviled that most of the Shell Icon slots were being taken up by something called Microsoft Groove. Not having a clue what this is I turned to a popular search engine to find out.

Microsoft Groove is the name for their multi-user document collaboration tool, which makes sense that it would need some icon overlays as it is essentially the same thing as Tortoise SVN. I don’t do any online document collaboration so re-searched for how to remove it. The Microsoft knowledge base article advised to remove the feature from Office via the add/remove programs control panel but when I looked I couldn’t find anything that mentioned Groove but after a further search or two I found that it has now been renamed to Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, which was listed in my version of Office. I disabled the feature and restarted my laptop and I now have my overlay icons back.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Enough of me, let me know your thoughts below...

  1. Christian Christian says:

    thanks for this!

  2. Ryan Ryan says:

    Thanks for the tip.

  3. Gavin Gavin says:

    ah thanks for the link Stefan, I probably should have looked into the reason for the limit on overlay slots before posting.

  4. Stefan Stefan says:

    Just FYI:
    The reason for the limit of overlay slots in Windows has nothing to do with memory (it may have been back in the days when Windows needed to run on machines with 8MB of RAM) but with the limit of the ImageList.
    See this link for more details: