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How to clone all remote branches in Git?


Question

I have a master and a development branch, both pushed to GitHub. I've cloned, pulled, and fetched, but I remain unable to get anything other than the master branch back.

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but I have read the manual and I'm getting no joy at all.

2020/08/14
1
4196
8/14/2020 9:17:40 AM

Accepted Answer

First, clone a remote Git repository and cd into it:

$ git clone git://example.com/myproject
$ cd myproject

Next, look at the local branches in your repository:

$ git branch
* master

But there are other branches hiding in your repository! You can see these using the -a flag:

$ git branch -a
* master
  remotes/origin/HEAD
  remotes/origin/master
  remotes/origin/v1.0-stable
  remotes/origin/experimental

If you just want to take a quick peek at an upstream branch, you can check it out directly:

$ git checkout origin/experimental

But if you want to work on that branch, you'll need to create a local tracking branch which is done automatically by:

$ git checkout experimental

and you will see

Branch experimental set up to track remote branch experimental from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'experimental'

That last line throws some people: "New branch" - huh? What it really means is that the branch is taken from the index and created locally for you. The previous line is actually more informative as it tells you that the branch is being set up to track the remote branch, which usually means the origin/branch_name branch

Now, if you look at your local branches, this is what you'll see:

$ git branch
* experimental
  master

You can actually track more than one remote repository using git remote.

$ git remote add win32 git://example.com/users/joe/myproject-win32-port
$ git branch -a
* master
  remotes/origin/HEAD
  remotes/origin/master
  remotes/origin/v1.0-stable
  remotes/origin/experimental
  remotes/win32/master
  remotes/win32/new-widgets

At this point, things are getting pretty crazy, so run gitk to see what's going on:

$ gitk --all &
2017/04/25
4610
4/25/2017 8:57:54 AM

If you have many remote branches that you want to fetch at once, do:

$ git pull --all

Now you can checkout any branch as you need to, without hitting the remote repository.

2015/02/06

This Bash script helped me out:

#!/bin/bash
for branch in $(git branch --all | grep '^\s*remotes' | egrep --invert-match '(:?HEAD|master)$'); do
    git branch --track "${branch##*/}" "$branch"
done

It will create tracking branches for all remote branches, except master (which you probably got from the original clone command). I think you might still need to do a

git fetch --all
git pull --all

to be sure.

One liner: git branch -a | grep -v HEAD | perl -ne 'chomp($_); s|^\*?\s*||; if (m|(.+)/(.+)| && not $d{$2}) {print qq(git branch --track $2 $1/$2\n)} else {$d{$_}=1}' | csh -xfs
As usual: test in your setup before copying rm -rf universe as we know it

Credits for one-liner go to user cfi

2019/11/12

Using the --mirror option seems to copy the remote tracking branches properly. However, it sets up the repository as a bare repository, so you have to turn it back into a normal repository afterwards.

git clone --mirror path/to/original path/to/dest/.git
cd path/to/dest
git config --bool core.bare false
git checkout anybranch

Reference: Git FAQ: How do I clone a repository with all remotely tracked branches?

2015/10/19

You can easily switch to a branch without using the fancy "git checkout -b somebranch origin/somebranch" syntax. You can just do:

git checkout somebranch

Git will automatically do the right thing:

$ git checkout somebranch
Branch somebranch set up to track remote branch somebranch from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'somebranch'

Git will check whether a branch with the same name exists in exactly one remote, and if it does, it tracks it the same way as if you had explicitly specified that it's a remote branch. From the git-checkout man page of Git 1.8.2.1:

If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name, treat as equivalent to

$ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>
2013/05/09

Regarding,

$ git checkout -b experimental origin/experimental

using

$ git checkout -t origin/experimental

or the more verbose but easier to remember

$ git checkout --track origin/experimental

might be better, in terms of tracking a remote repository.

2013/07/09

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/67699
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