git-rm remove from - How to make Git “forget” about a file that was tracked but is now in .gitignore?

10 Answers

The series of commands below will remove all of the items from the Git Index (not from the working directory or local repo), and then updates the Git Index, while respecting git ignores. PS. Index = Cache


git rm -r --cached . 
git add .


git commit -am "Remove ignored files"
tracking without deleting

There is a file that was being tracked by git, but now the file is on the .gitignore list.

However, that file keeps showing up in git status after it's edited. How do you force git to completely forget about it?

git ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard -z | xargs -0 git rm --cached
git commit -am "Remove ignored files"

This takes the list of the ignored files and removes them from the index, then commits the changes.

move it out, commit, then move it back in. This has worked for me in the past. There is probably a 'gittier' way to accomplish this.

What didn't work for me

(Under Linux), I wanted to use the posts here suggesting the ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard | xargs git rm -r --cached approach. However, (some of) the files to be removed had an embedded newline/LF/\n in their names. Neither of the solutions:

git ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard | xargs -d"\n" git rm --cached
git ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard | sed 's/.*/"&"/' | xargs git rm -r --cached

cope with this situation (get errors about files not found).

So I offer

git ls-files -z --ignored --exclude-standard | xargs -0 git rm -r --cached

This uses the -z argument to ls-files, and the -0 argument to xargs to cater safely/correctly for "nasty" characters in filenames.

In the manual page git-ls-files(1), it states:

When -z option is not used, TAB, LF, and backslash characters in pathnames are represented as \t, \n, and \\, respectively.

so I think my solution is needed if filenames have any of these characters in them.

EDIT: I have been asked to add that --- like any git rm command --- this must be followed by a commit to make the removals permanent, e.g. git commit -am "Remove ignored files".

Use this when:

1. You want to untrack a lot of files, or

2. You updated your gitignore file

Source link:

Let’s say you have already added/committed some files to your git repository and you then add them to your .gitignore; these files will still be present in your repository index. This article we will see how to get rid of them.

Step 1: Commit all your changes

Before proceeding, make sure all your changes are committed, including your .gitignore file.

Step 2: Remove everything from the repository

To clear your repo, use:

git rm -r --cached .
  • rm is the remove command
  • -r will allow recursive removal
  • –cached will only remove files from the index. Your files will still be there.

The rm command can be unforgiving. If you wish to try what it does beforehand, add the -n or --dry-run flag to test things out.

Step 3: Re add everything

git add .

Step 4: Commit

git commit -m ".gitignore fix"

Your repository is clean :)

Push the changes to your remote to see the changes effective there as well.

I think, that maybe git can't totally forget about file because of its conception (section "Snapshots, Not Differences").

This problem is absent, for example, when using CVS. CVS stores information as a list of file-based changes. Information for CVS is a set of files and the changes made to each file over time.

But in Git every time you commit, or save the state of your project, it basically takes a picture of what all your files look like at that moment and stores a reference to that snapshot. So, if you added file once, it will always be present in that snapshot.

These 2 articles were helpful for me:

git assume-unchanged vs skip-worktree and How to ignore changes in tracked files with Git

Basing on it I do the following, if file is already tracked:

git update-index --skip-worktree <file>

From this moment all local changes in this file will be ignored and will not go to remote. If file is changed on remote, conflict will occure, when git pull. Stash won't work. To resolve it, copy file content to the safe place and follow these steps:

git update-index --no-skip-worktree <file>
git stash
git pull 

File content will be replaced by the remote content. Paste your changes from safe place to file and perform again:

git update-index --skip-worktree <file>

If everyone, who works with project, will perform git update-index --skip-worktree <file>, problems with pull should be absent. This solution is OK for configurations files, when every developer has their own project configuration.

It is not very convenient to do this every time, when file has been changed on remote, but can protect it from overwriting by remote content.

The answer from Matt Fear was the most effective IMHO. The following is just a PowerShell script for those in windows to only remove files from their git repo that matches their exclusion list.

# Get files matching exclusionsfrom .gitignore
# Excluding comments and empty lines
$ignoreFiles =  gc .gitignore | ?{$_ -notmatch  "#"} |  ?{$_ -match  "\S"} | % {
                    $ignore = "*" + $_ + "*"
                    (gci -r -i $ignore).FullName
$ignoreFiles = $ignoreFiles| ?{$_ -match  "\S"}

# Remove each of these file from Git 
$ignoreFiles | % { git rm $_}

git add .

If you don't want to use the CLI and are working on Windows, a very simple solution is to use TortoiseGit, it has the "Delete (keep local)" Action in the menu which works fine.

This is no longer an issue in the latest git (v2.17.1 at the time of writing).

The .gitignore finally ignores tracked-but-deleted files. You can test this for yourself by running the following script. The final git status statement should report "nothing to commit".

# Create empty repo
mkdir gitignore-test
cd gitignore-test
git init

# Create a file and commit it
echo "hello" > file
git add file
git commit -m initial

# Add the file to gitignore and commit
echo "file" > .gitignore
git add .gitignore
git commit -m gitignore

# Remove the file and commit
git rm file
git commit -m "removed file"

# Reintroduce the file and check status.
# .gitignore is now respected - status reports "nothing to commit".
echo "hello" > file
git status

In case of already committed DS_Store:

find . -name .DS_Store -print0 | xargs -0 git rm --ignore-unmatch

Ignore them by:

echo ".DS_Store" >> ~/.gitignore_global
echo "._.DS_Store" >> ~/.gitignore_global
echo "**/.DS_Store" >> ~/.gitignore_global
echo "**/._.DS_Store" >> ~/.gitignore_global
git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore_global

Finally, make a commit!