How can I make Git "forget" about a file that was tracked, but is now in .gitignore?

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Top 5 Answer for How can I make Git "forget" about a file that was tracked, but is now in .gitignore?

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92

.gitignore will prevent untracked files from being added (without an add -f) to the set of files tracked by Git, however Git will continue to track any files that are already being tracked.

To stop tracking a file you need to remove it from the index. This can be achieved with this command.

git rm --cached <file> 

If you want to remove a whole folder, you need to remove all files in it recursively.

git rm -r --cached <folder> 

The removal of the file from the head revision will happen on the next commit.

WARNING: While this will not remove the physical file from your local, it will remove the files from other developers machines on next git pull.

vote vote

90

The series of commands below will remove all of the items from the Git index (not from the working directory or local repository), and then will update the Git index, while respecting Git ignores. PS. Index = Cache

First:

git rm -r --cached . git add . 

Then:

git commit -am "Remove ignored files" 

Or as a one-liner:

git rm -r --cached . && git add . && git commit -am "Remove ignored files" 
vote vote

74

git update-index does the job for me:

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

Note: This solution is actually independent on .gitignore as gitignore is only for untracked files.


Update, a better option

Since this answer was posted, a new option has been created and that should be preferred. You should use --skip-worktree which is for modified tracked files that the user don't want to commit anymore and keep --assume-unchanged for performance to prevent git to check status of big tracked files. See https://stackoverflow.com/a/13631525/717372 for more details...

git update-index --skip-worktree <file> 

To cancel

git update-index --no-skip-worktree <file> 
vote vote

62

git ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard -z | xargs -0 git rm --cached git commit -am "Remove ignored files" 

This takes the list of the ignored files, removes them from the index, and commits the changes.

vote vote

52

I always use this command to remove those untracked files. One-line, Unix-style, clean output:

git ls-files --ignored --exclude-standard | sed 's/.*/"&"/' | xargs git rm -r --cached 

It lists all your ignored files, replaces every output line with a quoted line instead to handle paths with spaces inside, and passes everything to git rm -r --cached to remove the paths/files/directories from the index.

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