How to remove/delete a large file from commit history in the Git repository?


I accidentally dropped a DVD-rip into a website project, then carelessly git commit -a -m ..., and, zap, the repo was bloated by 2.2 gigs. Next time I made some edits, deleted the video file, and committed everything, but the compressed file is still there in the repository, in history.

I know I can start branches from those commits and rebase one branch onto another. But what should I do to merge the 2 commits so that the big file doesn't show in the history and is cleaned in the garbage collection procedure?


Use the BFG Repo-Cleaner, a simpler, faster alternative to git-filter-branch specifically designed for removing unwanted files from Git history.

Carefully follow the usage instructions, the core part is just this:

$ java -jar bfg.jar --strip-blobs-bigger-than 100M my-repo.git

Any files over 100MB in size (that aren't in your latest commit) will be removed from your Git repository's history. You can then use git gc to clean away the dead data:

$ git reflog expire --expire=now --all && git gc --prune=now --aggressive

After pruning, we can force push to the remote repo*

$ git push --force

*NOTE: cannot force push a protect branch on GitHub

The BFG is typically at least 10-50x faster than running git-filter-branch, and generally easier to use.

Full disclosure: I'm the author of the BFG Repo-Cleaner.

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