How to find and restore a deleted file in a Git repository – Dev

The best answers to the question “How to find and restore a deleted file in a Git repository” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

Say I’m in a Git repository. I delete a file and commit that change. I continue working and make some more commits. Then, I find I need to restore that file.

I know I can checkout a file using git checkout HEAD^ foo.bar, but I don’t really know when that file was deleted.

  1. What would be the quickest way to find the commit that deleted a given filename?
  2. What would be the easiest way to get that file back into my working copy?

I’m hoping I don’t have to manually browse my logs, checkout the entire project for a given SHA and then manually copy that file into my original project checkout.

ANSWER:

  1. Use git log --diff-filter=D --summary to get all the commits which have deleted files and the files deleted;
  2. Use git checkout $commit~1 path/to/file.ext to restore the deleted file.

Where $commit is the value of the commit you’ve found at step 1, e.g. e4cf499627

ANSWER:

Find the last commit that affected the given path. As the file isn’t in the HEAD commit, that previous commit must have deleted it.

git rev-list -n 1 HEAD -- <file_path>

Then checkout the version at the commit before, using the caret (^) symbol:

git checkout <deleting_commit>^ -- <file_path>

Or in one command, if $file is the file in question.

git checkout $(git rev-list -n 1 HEAD -- "$file")^ -- "$file"

If you are using zsh and have the EXTENDED_GLOB option enabled, the caret symbol won’t work. You can use ~1 instead.

git checkout $(git rev-list -n 1 HEAD -- "$file")~1 -- "$file"

ANSWER:

I came to this question looking to restore a file I just deleted but I hadn’t yet committed the change. Just in case you find yourself in this situation, all you need to do is the following:

git checkout HEAD -- path/to/file.ext

ANSWER:

To restore all those deleted files in a folder, enter the following command.

git ls-files -d | xargs git checkout --