Git Rm Command

Git Rm Command

In Git, the term rm stands for remove. It is used to remove individual files or a collection of files. The key function of git rm is to remove tracked files from the Git index. Additionally, it can be used to remove files from both the working directory and staging index.

The files being removed must be ideal for the branch to remove. No updates to their contents can be staged in the index. Otherwise, the removing process can be complex, and sometimes it will not happen. But it can be done forcefully by -f option.


The git rm command

The git rm command is used to remove the files from the working tree and the index.

If we want to remove the file from our repository. Then it can be done by the git rm command. Let’s take a file say newfile.txt to test the rm command. The git rm command will be operated as:

$ git rm <file Name>  

The above command will remove the file from the Git and repository. The git rm command removes the file not only from the repository but also from the staging area. If we check the status of the repository, then it will show as deleted

$git rm cloudnclear.txt

$git status


On branch master

Changes to be commited:

(use “git restore –staged <file>… ” to unstage)

deleted : cloudnclear.txt

The current status of the repository has been updated as deleted.

In the above output, the file cloudsnclear.txt has been removed from the version control system. So the repository and the status are shown as deleted. If we use only the rm command, then it will not permanently delete the file from the Git. It can be tracked in the staging area.

Git Rm Cached

Sometimes you want to remove files from the Git but keep the files in your local repository. In other words, you do not want to share your file on Git. Git allows you to do so. The cached option is used in this case. It specifies that the removal operation will only act on the staging index, not on the repository. The git rm command with cached option will be uses as:

$ git rm –cached <file name>   

The above command will remove a file from the version control system. The deleted file will remain in the repository. Somehow this command will act as rm command. Let’s understand it with an example.

Suppose we want to remove a file from Git, take newfile1.txt for operation to remove this file, use the below command:

$ git rm –cached newfile1.txt  

The above command will delete the file from the version control system, but still, it can be tracked in the repository. It also can be re-added on the version control system. To check the file status, use the status command as:

$ git status  

Undo the Git Rm Command

Execution of git rm command is not permanent; it can be reverted after execution. These changes cannot be persisted until a new commit is made on the repository. We can undo the git rm command. There are several ways to do so. The most usual and straight-forward way is git reset command. The git reset command will be used as follows:

$ git reset HEAD  

Or we can also use:

$ git reset –hard  

The above command will reset the position of the head. So that it will get the position of its just previous point.

There is another way to undo the git rm command. We can also do it by git checkout command. A checkout has the same effect and restores the latest version of a file from HEAD. It will be used as follows:

$ git checkout.   

Limits of Git Rm command

The git rm is operated only on the current branch. The removing process is only applied to the working directory and staging index trees. It is not persisted in the repository history until a new commit is created.

For more Git Related post click here.

  1. Git init Command
  2. Git add Command
  3. Git Commit Command
  4. Git Clone Command
  5. Git Config Command
  6. Git Alias Command
  7. Git Checkout Command
  8. Git Pull Command
  9. Git Push Command
  10. Git Fetch Command
  11. Git Status Command
  12. Git Revert Command
  13. Git LOG Command
  14. Git Cheat Sheet