path: root/Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt
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authorThomas Rast <>2009-02-14 20:56:51 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2009-02-15 05:18:54 (GMT)
commitd0268de6d755c72ff375ec95a0cc0dbd99dc31e2 (patch)
treed086d45e73af378f3838a4d3f79ec06bd783ff03 /Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt
parente9cc02f0e41fd5d2f51e3c3f2b4f8cfa9e434432 (diff)
Documentation: pruning recipe for destructive filter-branch
Add a section about how to shrink a repository's size after running git-filter-branch to remove large blobs from history. This comes up every week or so on IRC, and the commands required to handle every case are not very newbie-friendly, so hopefully writing them down somewhere leads to fewer questions. It may seem contradictory to document fallbacks for older Gits in newer docs, but we want to point people at this as a FAQ answer, and they will frequently not have the newest version installed. Thanks to Björn Steinbrink and Junio C Hamano for comments and corrections. Signed-off-by: Thomas Rast <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt')
1 files changed, 41 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt b/Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt
index 1fbbbb4..7ffe03f 100644
--- a/Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt
+++ b/Documentation/git-filter-branch.txt
@@ -339,6 +339,47 @@ git filter-branch --index-filter \
+Checklist for Shrinking a Repository
+git-filter-branch is often used to get rid of a subset of files,
+usually with some combination of `\--index-filter` and
+`\--subdirectory-filter`. People expect the resulting repository to
+be smaller than the original, but you need a few more steps to
+actually make it smaller, because git tries hard not to lose your
+objects until you tell it to. First make sure that:
+* You really removed all variants of a filename, if a blob was moved
+ over its lifetime. `git log \--name-only \--follow \--all \--
+ filename` can help you find renames.
+* You really filtered all refs: use `\--tag-name-filter cat \--
+ \--all` when calling git-filter-branch.
+Then there are two ways to get a smaller repository. A safer way is
+to clone, that keeps your original intact.
+* Clone it with `git clone +++file:///path/to/repo+++`. The clone
+ will not have the removed objects. See linkgit:git-clone[1]. (Note
+ that cloning with a plain path just hardlinks everything!)
+If you really don't want to clone it, for whatever reasons, check the
+following points instead (in this order). This is a very destructive
+approach, so *make a backup* or go back to cloning it. You have been
+* Remove the original refs backed up by git-filter-branch: say `git
+ for-each-ref \--format="%(refname)" refs/original/ | xargs -n 1 git
+ update-ref -d`.
+* Expire all reflogs with `git reflog expire \--expire=now \--all`.
+* Garbage collect all unreferenced objects with `git gc \--prune=now`
+ (or if your git-gc is not new enough to support arguments to
+ `\--prune`, use `git repack -ad; git prune` instead).
Written by Petr "Pasky" Baudis <>,