How do I undo 'git add' before commit?
I mistakenly added files to Git using the command:
git add myfile.txt
I have not yet run
git commit. Is there a way to undo this, so these files won't be included in the commit?
You can undo
git add before commit with
git reset <file>
which will remove it from the current index (the "about to be committed" list) without changing anything else.
You can use
without any file name to unstage all due changes. This can come in handy when there are too many files to be listed one by one in a reasonable amount of time.
In old versions of Git, the above commands are equivalent to
git reset HEAD <file> and
git reset HEAD respectively, and will fail if
HEAD is undefined (because you haven't yet made any commits in your repository) or ambiguous (because you created a branch called
HEAD, which is a stupid thing that you shouldn't do). This was changed in Git 1.8.2, though, so in modern versions of Git you can use the commands above even prior to making your first commit:
"git reset" (without options or parameters) used to error out when you do not have any commits in your history, but it now gives you an empty index (to match non-existent commit you are not even on).
Documentation: git reset
Read more... Read less...
git rm --cached <added_file_to_undo>
When I was new to this, I first tried
git reset .
(to undo my entire initial add), only to get this (not so) helpful message:
fatal: Failed to resolve 'HEAD' as a valid ref.
It turns out that this is because the HEAD ref (branch?) doesn't exist until after the first commit. That is, you'll run into the same beginner's problem as me if your workflow, like mine, was something like:
- cd to my great new project directory to try out Git, the new hotness
git add .
... lots of crap scrolls by ...
=> Damn, I didn't want to add all of that.
google "undo git add"
=> find Stack Overflow - yay
git reset .
=> fatal: Failed to resolve 'HEAD' as a valid ref.
It further turns out that there's a bug logged against the unhelpfulness of this in the mailing list.
And that the correct solution was right there in the Git status output (which, yes, I glossed over as 'crap)
... # Changes to be committed: # (use "git rm --cached <file>..." to unstage) ...
And the solution indeed is to use
git rm --cached FILE.
Note the warnings elsewhere here -
git rm deletes your local working copy of the file, but not if you use --cached. Here's the result of
git help rm:
--cached Use this option to unstage and remove paths only from the index. Working tree files, whether modified or not, will be left.
I proceed to use
git rm --cached .
to remove everything and start again. Didn't work though, because while
add . is recursive, turns out
-r to recurse. Sigh.
git rm -r --cached .
Okay, now I'm back to where I started. Next time I'm going to use
-n to do a dry run and see what will be added:
git add -n .
I zipped up everything to a safe place before trusting
git help rm about the
--cached not destroying anything (and what if I misspelled it).
If you type:
Git will tell you what is staged, etc., including instructions on how to unstage:
use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage
I find Git does a pretty good job of nudging me to do the right thing in situations like this.
Note: Recent Git versions (1.8.4.x) have changed this message:
(use "git rm --cached <file>..." to unstage)
git add moves changes from the current working directory to the staging area (index).
This process is called staging. So the most natural command to stage the changes (changed files) is the obvious one:
git add is just an easier-to-type alias for
Pity there is no
git unstage nor
git unadd commands. The relevant one is harder to guess or remember, but it is pretty obvious:
git reset HEAD --
We can easily create an alias for this:
git config --global alias.unadd 'reset HEAD --' git config --global alias.unstage 'reset HEAD --'
And finally, we have new commands:
git add file1 git stage file2 git unadd file2 git unstage file1
Personally I use even shorter aliases:
git a # For staging git u # For unstaging
An addition to the accepted answer, if your mistakenly-added file was huge, you'll probably notice that, even after removing it from the index with '
git reset', it still seems to occupy space in the
This is nothing to be worried about; the file is indeed still in the repository, but only as a "loose object". It will not be copied to other repositories (via clone, push), and the space will be eventually reclaimed - though perhaps not very soon. If you are anxious, you can run:
git gc --prune=now
Update (what follows is my attempt to clear some confusion that can arise from the most upvoted answers):
So, which is the real undo of
git reset HEAD <file> ?
git rm --cached <file>?
Strictly speaking, and if I'm not mistaken: none.
git add cannot be undone - safely, in general.
Let's recall first what
git add <file> actually does:
<file>was not previously tracked,
git addadds it to the cache, with its current content.
<file>was already tracked,
git addsaves the current content (snapshot, version) to the cache. In Git, this action is still called add, (not mere update it), because two different versions (snapshots) of a file are regarded as two different items: hence, we are indeed adding a new item to the cache, to be eventually committed later.
In light of this, the question is slightly ambiguous:
I mistakenly added files using the command...
The OP's scenario seems to be the first one (untracked file), we want the "undo" to remove the file (not just the current contents) from the tracked items. If this is the case, then it's ok to run
git rm --cached <file>.
And we could also run
git reset HEAD <file>. This is in general preferable, because it works in both scenarios: it also does the undo when we wrongly added a version of an already tracked item.
But there are two caveats.
First: There is (as pointed out in the answer) only one scenario in which
git reset HEAD doesn't work, but
git rm --cached does: a new repository (no commits). But, really, this a practically irrelevant case.
Second: Be aware that
git reset HEAD can't magically recover the previously cached file contents, it just resynchronises it from the HEAD. If our misguided
git add overwrote a previous staged uncommitted version, we can't recover it. That's why, strictly speaking, we cannot undo [*].
$ git init $ echo "version 1" > file.txt $ git add file.txt # First add of file.txt $ git commit -m 'first commit' $ echo "version 2" > file.txt $ git add file.txt # Stage (don't commit) "version 2" of file.txt $ git diff --cached file.txt -version 1 +version 2 $ echo "version 3" > file.txt $ git diff file.txt -version 2 +version 3 $ git add file.txt # Oops we didn't mean this $ git reset HEAD file.txt # Undo? $ git diff --cached file.txt # No dif, of course. stage == HEAD $ git diff file.txt # We have irrevocably lost "version 2" -version 1 +version 3
Of course, this is not very critical if we just follow the usual lazy workflow of doing 'git add' only for adding new files (case 1), and we update new contents via the commit,
git commit -a command.
* (Edit: the above is practically correct, but still there can be some slightly hackish/convoluted ways for recovering changes that were staged, but not committed and then overwritten - see the comments by Johannes Matokic and iolsmit)
Undo a file which has already been added is quite easy using Git. For resetting
myfile.txt, which have already been added, use:
git reset HEAD myfile.txt
After you staged unwanted file(s), to undo, you can do
Head is head of your file in the local and the last parameter is the name of your file.
I have created the steps in the image below in more details for you, including all steps which may happen in these cases: