Git Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Deleting files


Git Essential Training

with Kevin Skoglund

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Video: Deleting files

In this movie we're going to learn how to delete files and track those deletions using Git. To do that, let's create a couple of files that we can throw out. We're going to keep first, second, and third file, let's make a couple of new ones here, and I'll just call this one This is a file to delete. We'll save that as file_to_delete1.txt, and then we'll just do a Save As, make it file_to_delete2. So, we'll close that up.
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  1. 2m 46s
    1. Introduction
      1m 7s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      1m 39s
  2. 19m 44s
    1. Understanding version control
      4m 8s
    2. The history of Git
      7m 58s
    3. About distributed version control
      5m 4s
    4. Who should use Git?
      2m 34s
  3. 26m 12s
    1. Installing Git on a Mac
      3m 44s
    2. Installing Git on Windows
      5m 37s
    3. Installing Git on Linux
      1m 30s
    4. Configuring Git
      7m 29s
    5. Exploring Git auto-completion
      5m 35s
    6. Using Git help
      2m 17s
  4. 15m 49s
    1. Initializing a repository
      1m 58s
    2. Understanding where Git files are stored
      2m 34s
    3. Performing your first commit
      2m 4s
    4. Writing commit messages
      5m 22s
    5. Viewing the commit log
      3m 51s
  5. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the three-trees architecture
      3m 57s
    2. The Git workflow
      3m 15s
    3. Using hash values (SHA-1)
      4m 7s
    4. Working with the HEAD pointer
      6m 25s
  6. 25m 52s
    1. Adding files
      5m 59s
    2. Editing files
      3m 56s
    3. Viewing changes with diff
      3m 35s
    4. Viewing only staged changes
      2m 28s
    5. Deleting files
      5m 29s
    6. Moving and renaming files
      4m 25s
  7. 19m 18s
    1. Introducing the Explore California web site
      2m 2s
    2. Initializing Git
      3m 48s
    3. Editing the support phone number
      6m 20s
    4. Editing the backpack file name and links
      7m 8s
  8. 38m 45s
    1. Undoing working directory changes
      3m 49s
    2. Unstaging files
      2m 37s
    3. Amending commits
      4m 50s
    4. Retrieving old versions
      4m 7s
    5. Reverting a commit
      3m 12s
    6. Using reset to undo commits
      3m 44s
    7. Demonstrating a soft reset
      4m 8s
    8. Demonstrating a mixed reset
      4m 7s
    9. Demonstrating a hard reset
      5m 8s
    10. Removing untracked files
      3m 3s
  9. 27m 22s
    1. Using .gitignore files
      8m 23s
    2. Understanding what to ignore
      4m 47s
    3. Ignoring files globally
      4m 49s
    4. Ignoring tracked files
      5m 26s
    5. Tracking empty directories
      3m 57s
  10. 26m 51s
    1. Referencing commits
      4m 52s
    2. Exploring tree listings
      3m 46s
    3. Getting more from the commit log
      7m 38s
    4. Viewing commits
      4m 4s
    5. Comparing commits
      6m 31s
  11. 39m 35s
    1. Branching overview
      4m 56s
    2. Viewing and creating branches
      2m 57s
    3. Switching branches
      2m 58s
    4. Creating and switching branches
      4m 53s
    5. Switching branches with uncommitted changes
      3m 26s
    6. Comparing branches
      4m 28s
    7. Renaming branches
      2m 28s
    8. Deleting branches
      4m 18s
    9. Configuring the command prompt to show the branch
      9m 11s
  12. 28m 32s
    1. Merging code
      3m 11s
    2. Using fast-forward merge vs. true merge
      6m 49s
    3. Merging conflicts
      7m 26s
    4. Resolving merge conflicts
      7m 5s
    5. Exploring strategies to reduce merge conflicts
      4m 1s
  13. 14m 34s
    1. Saving changes in the stash
      4m 5s
    2. Viewing stashed changes
      2m 39s
    3. Retrieving stashed changes
      4m 24s
    4. Deleting stashed changes
      3m 26s
  14. 1h 5m
    1. Using local and remote repositories
      6m 38s
    2. Setting up a GitHub account
      5m 39s
    3. Adding a remote repository
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a remote branch
      4m 3s
    5. Cloning a remote repository
      4m 26s
    6. Tracking remote branches
      4m 5s
    7. Pushing changes to a remote repository
      5m 8s
    8. Fetching changes from a remote repository
      5m 47s
    9. Merging in fetched changes
      4m 50s
    10. Checking out remote branches
      3m 22s
    11. Pushing to an updated remote branch
      2m 6s
    12. Deleting a remote branch
      3m 8s
    13. Enabling collaboration
      3m 40s
    14. A collaboration workflow
      8m 43s
  15. 16m 23s
    1. Setting up aliases for common commands
      5m 14s
    2. Using SSH keys for remote login
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring integrated development environments
      1m 4s
    4. Exploring graphical user interfaces
      4m 32s
    5. Understanding Git hosting
      2m 37s
  16. 55s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Git Essential Training
6h 26m Beginner Aug 24, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The course shows how to use Git, the popular open-source version control software, to manage changes to source code and text files. Using a step-by-step approach, author Kevin Skoglund presents the commands that enable efficient code management and reveals the fundamental concepts behind version control systems and the Git architecture. Discover how to track changes to files in a repository, review previous edits, and compare versions of a file; create branches to test new ideas without altering the main project; and merge those changes into the project if they work out. The course begins by demonstrating version control in a single-user, standalone context, before exploring how remote repositories allow users to collaborate on projects effectively.

Topics include:
  • Exploring the history of version control
  • Installing Git on Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Initializing a repository
  • Writing useful commit messages
  • Understanding the Git three-tree architecture
  • Tracking when files are added, edited, deleted, or moved
  • Viewing change sets and comparing versions
  • Undoing changes and rolling back to previous versions
  • Ignoring changes to select files
  • Creating and working with code branches
  • Merging branches and resolving merge conflicts
  • Stashing changes for later
  • Working with hosted repositories and remote branches
  • Developing an effective collaboration workflow
Git GitHub
Kevin Skoglund

Deleting files

In this movie we're going to learn how to delete files and track those deletions using Git. To do that, let's create a couple of files that we can throw out. We're going to keep first, second, and third file, let's make a couple of new ones here, and I'll just call this one This is a file to delete. We'll save that as file_to_delete1.txt, and then we'll just do a Save As, make it file_to_delete2. So, we'll close that up.

We've now got two files here. I'm going to add those to the repository. If I just do git status now, these show up as untracked files. So, if I delete these, well then they just stop being tracked files, right? When we talk about deleting files, we're talking about deleting them from the repo. We're talking about the things that are tracked files. So, the first thing we need to do is add these to our repo, and then we can go about deleting them. So, let's do git add, and we will add everything that's in our working directory. So now, if we do git status, we'll see that those are ready to be committed, git commit with a message Adding I'm going to call these 'red shirt' files.

That's like the red shirts in Star Trek. We're adding them just for the sole purpose of them being able to be deleted. So now, if we say git status, we'll see that there's nothing ready to commit, everything here is in the repository, including these two files that we're going to delete. Now, I wanted to have two files because there's two different ways that we're going to look at doing deletions. One way is that we just simply come over here, and we'll take file_to_delete1, and we're just going to drag it down to our trash, throw it away, that's it! Now, if we say git status, what does git tell us about it? It looks in the repository and says, hey! I have a file that I was tracking called file_to_delete1.txt.

I'm looking in what you've got in your working directory, and that file is not there, and it tells you it's been deleted. Now if we want to delete this file, we say git add file_to_delete. It looked in the directory and saw 2, we want file_to_delete1.txt. We're going to git add, and it comes up and doesn't tell us anything. Let's do git status again and take a look at what it says. Nothing changed, it's still listed as Changes not staged for commit. It's because when we do a delete, well we're not doing an add then we do add whenever we're adding a file or whenever we're adding changes.

With the delete, now we have to do something different, and it tells us that here. It says add/rm, either add changes or use rm to update what will be committed. So rm is for remove, and that's the Unix shorthand for remove as well. So, if we want to remove this file, I have to say git rm files_to_delete, and we can't use auto complete, because it will pick up the one that's in the directory. We have to actually type it out, or use auto complete and then make the edit, git remove file_to_delete1.txt. Now, we hit Return.

It says okay, I'm going to remove that. Now, we'd git status. Now, it comes up and says okay, changes to be committed. That's things that are in our staging area. Now file_to_delete1.txt is in our changes to be committed. Now, we do a regular commit, git commit with a message Deleted first red shirt file. First, one has gone now. Notice that it tells us Delete mode here that was deleted, one deletion was made, git status now.

Says everything is clean, git log, we now see that, that first red shirt file has been deleted. Now, it's the first way to use files. We just go into the file system and delete the file by hand, and then tell git remove that file. Just like we were adding changes, well now, we're doing a remove change. An easier thing though is just to do the whole remove from Git, tell Git remove file_to_delete2.txt. Now auto completion does work. It finds the file. When I hit Return, it did the exact same thing, it removed the file from the current directory.

It did have one slight difference though, which is that it completely erased it. It used a Unix remove, not a let's put things in the trash remove. So, in my trash, I have file_to_delete1 because I drug it in there, file2 is not in the trash, it has just vanished, it just completely gone. That is a difference, if you do want to keep things around, if you want to have that sort of fallback of having things in your trash, you can do that. Of course, it's in our repository, so we've got a saved version of it. If we ever need the saved version, we can use that one.

Let's do git status now and see what it tells us. It's already in our staging area. So, now in one step, we've both eliminated the file and added it to staging, whereas the other one was a two-step process. The other one we took the file to the trashcan, then used remove to put it in the staging area, and now let's add that last file with the commit, git commit -m and "Removed second red shirt file". So there we go, our two files to be deleted are now removed, and we learned two ways to do it.

The first is to move the file out of the working directory, in this case into the trash, and then tell Git about it, and the second is to tell Git to do the delete for us, and add it to the staging directory all at the same time.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Git Essential Training .

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Q: In the Chapter 10 movie "Configuring the command prompt to show the branch," when I type the function "__git_ps1," I do not get the expected result.
A: The function "__git_ps1" was recently moved to a new file,, as described here:

We will update the video. In the meantime, you may do the same steps you do for .git-completion.bash, but a second time using "" as shown here:
Q: When I use the code the instructor advises in the above video ("git config
--global "Nelda Street"), I still get an "Illegal Instruction"
error. I have OS 10.6.8. Am I doing something wrong?
A: The current installer version of git isn't compatible with older Mac OS versions.
The workaround solutions people offer are:
1. To add "-mmacosx-version-min=10.6" as described here:
2. Or to use the version of git that comes with Xcode, or to use homebrew to install git instead.
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