Say you've got a backup of an old SVN repository. You want to grab a couple of files, but the backup looks like this:
C:\myrepo_backup\ format README.txt conf dab db hooks locks
You figure you probably need to run some fiddly import commands to restore it into a live SVN server so you can connect and browse it right? Wrong! SVN has a feature that makes this incredibly easy: the client can browse and check out directly from a backed up repository on your own local file system.
All you need to do is use the file:// URL scheme and point to your backup, for example:
svn checkout file:///C:/myrepo_backup myrepo
And yes if you're using Windows, TortoiseSVN does support this -- so you can very easily use Repo-browser to explore any SVN backup. Very handy!