Ignore files that have already been committed to a Git repository

I have an already initialized Git repository that I added a .gitignore file to. How can I refresh the file index so the files I want ignored get ignored?

  • git change local ref
  • Make a new branch the master in git without messing up existing forks
  • How to nest git repositories?
  • Suggestions for Distributed Version Control in Eclipse
  • Adding a Git subrepository to Mercurial
  • Moving from Private GitHub Repo to Public and Private
  • Version Control Recommendations
  • Delphi: Moving away from VSS
  • 21 Solutions collect form web for “Ignore files that have already been committed to a Git repository”

    To untrack a single file that has already been added/initialized to your repository, i.e., stop tracking the file but not delete it from your system use: git rm --cached filename

    To untrack every file that is now in your .gitignore:

    First commit any outstanding code changes, and then, run this command:

    git rm -r --cached .

    This removes any changed files from the index(staging area), then just run:

    git add .

    Commit it:

    git commit -m ".gitignore is now working"

    To undo git rm --cached filename, use git add filename.

    If you are trying to ignore changes to a file that’s already tracked in the repository (e.g. a dev.properties file that you would need to change for your local environment but you would never want to check in these changes) than what you want to do is:

    git update-index --assume-unchanged <file>

    If you wanna start tracking changes again

    git update-index --no-assume-unchanged <file>

    See git-update-index(1) Manual Page.

    Also have a look at the skip-worktree and no-skip-worktree options for update-index if you need this to persist past a git-reset (via)

    Since people have been asking, here’s a convenient (and updated since commented on below) alias for seeing which files are currently “ignored” (–assume-unchanged) in your local workspace

    $ git config --global alias.ignored = !git ls-files -v | grep "^[[:lower:]]"

    To untrack a file that has already been added/initialized to your repository, ie stop tracking the file but not delete it from your system use: git rm --cached filename

    Yes – .gitignore system only ignores files not currently under version control from git.

    I.e. if you’ve already added a file called test.txt using git-add, then adding test.txt to .gitignore will still cause changes to test.txt to be tracked.

    You would have to git rm test.txt first and commit that change. Only then will changes to test.txt be ignored.

    Remove trailing whitespace in .gitignore

    Also, make sure you have no trailing whitespace in your .gitignore. I got to this question because I was searching for an answer, then I had a funny feeling I should open the editor instead of just cat’ing .gitignore. Removed a single extra space from the end and poof it works now 🙂

    i followed these steps

    git rm -r --cached .
    git add .
    git reset HEAD

    after that, git delete all files (*.swp in my case) that should be ignoring.

    If you want to stop tracking file without deleting the file from your local system, which I prefer for ignoring config/database.yml file. Simply try:

    git rm --cached config/database.yml
    # this will delete your file from git history but not from your local system.

    now, add this file to .gitignore file and commit the changes. And from now on, any changes made to config/database.yml will not get tracked by git.

    $ echo config/database.yml >> .gitignore


    To remove just a few specific files from being tracked:

    git update-index --assume-unchanged path/to/file

    If ever you want to start tracking it again:

    git update-index --no-assume-unchanged path/to/file                      

    As dav_i says, in order to keep the file in repo and yet removing it from changes without creating an extra commit you can use:

    git update-index --assume-unchanged filename

    Not knowing quite what the ‘answer’ command did, I ran it, much to my dismay. It recursively removes every file from your git repo.

    Stackoverflow to the rescue… How to revert a "git rm -r ."?

    git reset HEAD

    Did the trick, since I had uncommitted local files that I didn’t want to overwrite.

    There is another suggestion maybe for the slow guys like me =) Put the .gitignore file into your repository root not in .git folder. Cheers!

    If the files are already in version control you need to remove them manually.

    another problem I had was I placed an inline comment.

    tmp/*   # ignore my tmp folder (this doesn't work)

    this works

    # ignore my tmp folder

    None of the answers worked for me.


    1. Move the file out of the git-controlled directory
    2. Check the removal into git
    3. Move the file back into the git-controlled directory

    After moving the file back, git will ignore it.

    Works with directories too!

    Thanks to your answer, I was able to write this little one-liner to improve it. I ran it on my .gitignore and repo, and had no issues, but if anybody sees any glaring problems, please comment. This should git rm -r --cached from .gitignore:

    cat $(git rev-parse –show-toplevel)/.gitIgnore | sed “s//$//” | grep -v “^#” | xargs -L 1 -I {} find $(git rev-parse –show-toplevel) -name “{}” | xargs -L 1 git rm -r –cached

    Note that you’ll get a lot of fatal: pathspec '<pathspec>' did not match any files. That’s just for the files which haven’t been modified.

    I have found a weird problem with .gitignore. Everything was in place and seemed correct. The only reason why my .gitignore was “ignored” was, that the line-ending was in Mac-Format (\r). So after saving the file with the correct line-ending (in vi using :set ff=unix) everything worked like a charm!

    One other problem not mentioned here is if you’ve created your .gitignore in Windows notepad it can look like gibberish on other platforms as I found out. The key is to make sure you the encoding is set to ANSI in notepad, (or make the file on linux as I did).

    From my answer here: https://stackoverflow.com/a/11451916/406592

    On my server linux server (not true on my local dev mac), directories are ignored as long as I don’t add an asterisk:


    I don’t know why but it made me loose a couple of hours, so I wanted to share…

    Complex answers everywhere!

    Just use the following

    git rm -r --cached .

    It will remove the files you are trying to ignore from the origin and not from the master on your computer!

    After that just commit and push!

    One thing to also keep in mind if .gitignore does not seem to be ignoring untracked files is that you should not have comments on the same line as the ignores. So this is okay

    # ignore all foo.txt, foo.markdown, foo.dat, etc.

    But this will not work:

    foo*   # ignore all foo.txt, foo.markdown, foo.dat, etc.

    .gitignore interprets the latter case as “ignore files named "foo* # ignore all foo.txt, foo.markdown, foo.dat, etc.", which, of course, you don’t have.

    If you need to stop tracking a lot of ignored files, you can combine some commands:

    git ls-files -i --exclude-standard | xargs -L1 git rm --cached

    This would stop tracking the ignored files. If you want to actually remove files from filesystem, do not use the --cached option. You can also specify a folder to limit the search, such as:

    git ls-files -i --exclude-standard -- ${FOLDER} | xargs -L1 git rm

    Git Baby is a git and github fan, let's start git clone.