As reported here: http://svn.haxx.se/dev/archive-2011-07/0216.shtml svn_client_status5 has a parameter depth_as_sticky. According to the doc string: If depth_as_sticky is set and depth is not svn_depth_unknown, then the status is calculated as if depth_is_sticky was passed to an equivalent update command. this should report *everything* there is, even items that are excluded in the working copy (svn_depth_exclude) if also 'update' is true and the passed depth is svn_depth_infinity. This used to work a while ago, but now it does not return anything that isn't in the working copy already anymore. I don't know when this stopped working since I don't use this feature very often, but I'm now testing sparse working copies and so I've noticed that it stopped working.