Git: cannot checkout branch - error: pathspec '...' did not match any file(s) known to git


I'm not sure why I'm unable to checkout a branch that I had worked on earlier. See the commands below (note: co is an alias for checkout):

[email protected]:~/source/unstilted$ git branch -a
* develop
  remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master
[email protected]:~/source/unstilted$ git co feature/user_controlled_site_layouts 
error: pathspec 'feature/user_controlled_site_layouts' did not match any file(s) known to git.

I'm not sure what it means, and I can't seem to find anything I can understand on Google.

How do I checkout that branch, and what may I have done to break this?


I found this post, and running git show-ref gives me:

97e2cb33914e763ff92bbe38531d3fd02408da46 refs/heads/develop
c438c439c66da3f2356d2449505c073549b221c1 refs/heads/feature/datts_right
11a90dae8897ceed318700b9af3019f4b4dceb1e refs/heads/feature/user_controlled_menu
c889b37a5ee690986935c9c74b71999e2cf3c6d7 refs/heads/master
c889b37a5ee690986935c9c74b71999e2cf3c6d7 refs/remotes/origin/HEAD
e7c17eb40610505eea4e6687e4572191216ad4c6 refs/remotes/origin/develop
c438c439c66da3f2356d2449505c073549b221c1 refs/remotes/origin/feature/datts_right
c889b37a5ee690986935c9c74b71999e2cf3c6d7 refs/remotes/origin/master
23768aa5425cbf29d10ff24274adad42d90d15cc refs/stash
e572cf91e95da03f04a5e51820f58a7306ce01de refs/tags/menu_shows_published_only
429ebaa895d9d41d835a34da72676caa75902e3d refs/tags/slow_dev

UPDATE on .git directory (user_controlled_site_layouts is in the refs/heads/feature folder):

$ ls .git/refs/heads/feature/
datts_right  user_controlled_menu  user_controlled_site_layouts
$ cat .git/refs/heads/feature/user_controlled_site_layouts

UPDATE on git show 3af84fcf1508c44013844dcd0998a14e61455034

$ git show 3af84fcf1508c44013844dcd0998a14e61455034
commit 3af84fcf1508c44013844dcd0998a14e61455034
Author: Ramon Tayag <[email protected]>
Date:   Thu May 12 19:00:03 2011 +0800

    Removed site layouts migration

diff --git a/db/schema.rb b/db/schema.rb
index 1218fc8..2040b9f 100755
--- a/db/schema.rb
+++ b/db/schema.rb
@@ -10,7 +10,7 @@
 # It's strongly recommended to check this file into your version control system.

-ActiveRecord::Schema.define(:version => 20110511012647) do
+ActiveRecord::Schema.define(:version => 20110503040056) do

   create_table "attachments", :force => true do |t|
     t.string   "name"
@@ -205,15 +205,6 @@ ActiveRecord::Schema.define(:version => 20110511012647) do
     t.integer  "old_id"

-  create_table "site_layouts", :force => true do |t|
-    t.string   "name"
-    t.text     "description"
-    t.text     "content"
-    t.integer  "site_id"
-    t.datetime "created_at"
-    t.datetime "updated_at"
-  end
   create_table "site_styles", :force => true do |t|
     t.text     "published"
     t.datetime "created_at"
5/23/2017 12:10:54 PM

I was getting this error when I tried to checkout new branch:

error: pathspec 'BRANCH-NAME' did not match any file(s) known to git.

When I tried git checkout origin/<BRANCH-NAME>, I got the detached HEAD:

(detached from origin/)

Finally, I did the following to resolve the issue:

git remote update
git fetch 
git checkout --track origin/<BRANCH-NAME>

I got this error for a branch that was remote and had no local tracking branch. Even though I'm certain I've checked out remote branches via a simple

git checkout feature/foo

in the past, to get around this error I had to

git checkout -t -b feature/foo origin/feature/foo

I have no idea what I did to get myself into that situation either.


If you deleted a branch with git branch -D yourbranchname and pulled/cloned again your repo, you may need to create your local branch again.


git checkout -b yourbranchname

I have the same questions, and got some information from this link: git fetch doesn't fetch all branches

So now, I may not sure how this situation happened, at least we can solve it:

Step 1. Check your "remote.origin.fetch" setting, should be like this

$ git config --get remote.origin.fetch


Step 2. Change "remote.origin.fetch" to fetch everything

$ git config remote.origin.fetch "+refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*"

$ git config --get remote.origin.fetch


Then, you can try "git pull" (maybe "git fetch origin" also works but I didn't try) to get all the branch.


Git Windows users beware - without the --icase-pathspecs or GIT_ICASE_PATHSPECS = 1 env var setting, that git pathspecs will be case-sensitive, in which case

git checkout origin/FooBranch "Some/Path/To/File.txt"

is not the same as

git checkout origin/FooBranch "some/path/to/file.Txt"

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