Published on October 21st, 2021 | by Sunit Nandi


Easiest Steps to Follow to Remove Files from Your Git Repository

Every person who wants to keep their sensitive information safe and secure stays away from adding secrets or files to a git repository. They do the same even for the private repository to keep the risks of confidential information getting exposed publicly at bay. However, many still end up adding an individual file or many files by mistake.

You can perform git remove without any hassle and with utmost effectiveness if you stay well aware of certain scenarios and key steps. Ridding a repository of personal info is no more a problem these days. Also, simply removing a secret or file from your git repository doesn’t mean that your job is over. It is of paramount importance to carry out deep cleaning in a thorough manner.

Deep Cleaning a Git Repository

In case of a not-so-complicated matter, git ensures commands, which can provide you with complete assistance in effectively getting rid of the files containing private information from a git repository. On the other hand, in the case of a highly complex matter, experienced git developers recommend a git-filter-repo tool that is instrumental in deep cleaning a whole git repository.

Read on to learn about the possible scenarios and result-driven methods to do away with sensitive files from a GitHub repository completely.

You are Yet to Push, and the File is in the Very Last Commit

See, in this case, you can do two things – keep the confidential file locally or change the last commit. Doing the latter can enable you to remove the file from your Git repository. Whereas, to ensure that you do not add the same file again mistakenly to your repository, the best step to take is to add the file to .gitignore.

You haven’t Yet Pushed, and the File is Far Down in History

  • BFG-Repo cleaning tool performs in a more efficient manner. It is capable of eliminating all files that have the same name in a directory on GitHub. This particular tool ensures top-notch protection to your latest commit.
  • To go back in history and effectively redo commits so that it appears to be correct in the first place, rely on an interactive rebase. It provides you with the unmatched power to remove a file or multiple files from a git repository.
  • Git filter-branch is known for running a script mentioned in a (remove a specific) file on each commit. Know that this method is pretty slow as it firstly checks every commit, runs the script, commits, and proceeds to the next commit. It is advisable to resort to this method to get rid of confidential information containing files from a git repository when there’s an existence of offending files in several branches.

Final Words

Many find it crucial to remove files in case of two scenarios other than the ones on which light is shed above. Getting rid of a file consisting of sensitive data from a repository becomes necessary when one has already been force pushed, or commits are on GitHub.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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