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Undo Git Init: A Guide

James Gallagher - December 29, 2020

There is no specific undo command for the git init command. You can undo the effects of this command by removing the .git/ folder in a project.

This guide discusses why you may want to undo the git init command and the effects of doing so. We’ll walk through an example of undoing git init so you can learn how to perform this task on your own.

Git Init: A Refresher

To initialize a Git repository , we must use the git init command. This command creates all of the configuration files and folders necessary to work with the Git version control system in a given folder.

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You only need to run the git init command if you are creating a repository from scratch. Cloned repositories are accompanied with all the configuration information you need.

When you run git init, a folder called .git/ is created. Within this folder, you will find a list of files that relate to the branches of a repository, what HEAD you are viewing, and other crucial pieces of information about Git.

The .git/ folder is hidden. This is because the folder begins with .git/. This folder is hidden to protect you from accidentally deleting its contents.

If we use the ls command , we can see this folder:

ls -la

The -la flag lets us see all the files in a folder, including hidden files:

total 8
drwxr-xr-x   4 James  staff   128 Sep 18 07:02 .
drwxr-xr-x+ 91 James  staff  2912 Sep 18 07:02 ..
drwxr-xr-x  12 James  staff   384 Sep 18 07:02 .git
-rw-r--r--   1 James  staff 	1 Sep 18 07:02

This is what a basic repository would look like after it has been initialized. We have a folder called .git/ with our configuration. is the only file in our repository.

Undo Git Init

The Git command line does not give us a “git init undo” command. This is because undoing a git init operation is as simple as removing the .git/ folder.

We can remove this folder using the rm -rf command :

rm -rf .git/

This command does not need sudo privileges because the .git/ folder should share the same privileges as all the files and folders in your repository.

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On Windows machines, you can delete the .git/ folder using the following Git shell command:

rmdir /s .git

This command removes the folder .git and all of the subdirectories the folder contains.

Do You Need to Undo Git Init?

Before you remove the .git folder from a project, ask yourself whether you need to delete the folder.

A common reason why you may want to delete the .git/ folder is that you have initialized a repository in the wrong directory and need to start over.

Deleting the .git/ folder comes with serious ramifications. If you have not created any commits in a project, deleting the folder will only cause you to lose a few configuration files. If you have created commits and you have not pushed them to a remote repository, you will lose the entire history of your project that was stored in git.

Only consider deleting the .git/ folder as a last resort if you encounter an issue with a configuration file that you cannot resolve. Always check for a better method of solving any issue you encounter with Git.

As a final warning, there is no going back after you delete the .git/ folder.


While there is no undo git init command, you can undo its effects by removing the .git/ folder from a project. You should only do this if you are confident in erasing the history of your repository that you have on your local machine.

Now you have the knowledge you need to undo a git init operation like an expert!

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James Gallagher

About the author: James Gallagher is a self-taught programmer and the technical content manager at Career Karma. He has experience in range of programming languages and extensive expertise in Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. James has written hundreds of programming tutorials, and he frequently contributes to publications like Codecademy, Treehouse,, Afrotech, and others.

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