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How to remove a big file wrongly committed to a Git repo

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Today I accidentally committed a multi GB file to the git repo of the project I was working on and pushed it. Damn! Because of that big file cloning the repo again would take a long long time. Removing the file locally and pushing again would not solve the problem as that big file is in Git's history.

So I took a few moments to Google around and learned that that there actually is a git command that can rewrite history: filter-branch. This is how I removed that big file from history:

git filter-branch --tree-filter 'rm path/to/your/bigfile' HEAD

git push origin master --force

Both commands took a while to complete, but after that I had a light repo again.

If you need to do this, be sure to keep a copy of your repo around in case something goes wrong.

Here's an old, but still seemingly still correct blogpost by Dalibor Nasevic with some more info on the subject.

Few weeks ago I froze gems on my blog and ended up with a very big repository. So, I wanted to clean up the mess and remove permanently gems folder from the repository. git rm wasn't doing the job well, it only removes the folder from the working tree and the repository still contains the objects of this folder. After a quick search, I found that git-filter-branch was the command I was looking for.

https://dalibornasevic.com/posts/2-permanently-remove-files-and-folders-from-a-git-repository

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