How to Clear Git Cache

Git Cache Lean Featured

As you work with Git, you will have many instances where, after adding new lines of code to your .gitignore file, the ignored files still show up in your “git commit” staging area. When you experience such instances, the best way to resolve the issue is to clear and clean your Git cache. This guide intends to show you how to clear your Git cache, but before diving into that, let’s briefly touch on what the Git cache is, what it does, and the advantages of clearing it.

What Is the Git Cache?

The Git cache, also called the staging area or index, contains the working tree directory, including the repository, commits, and branches that would be committed the instance you call the “git commit” command at any point in time.

The cache helps you make selected changes to the working tree before committing them or only download the most recent commits while caching most others.

Without the Git cache, the Git commit would inconveniently revert commit changes to the working tree before committing some of the commit changes in the next commit.

What Does the Git Cache Do?

The essence of the staging area or index is to enhance performance by resolving conflicting commit merges and minimizing the consistent need to redownload dependencies, libraries, and other content-types on the fly each time there’s a need to do so.

Where (and How) to Find the Git Cache

The Git cache is within a file named index within the .git directory.

To find or get to the Git cache file, run the following command to get to into the .git directory. Once you get the location of the .git directory, navigate into it using the cd command:

git rev-parse --git-dir
cd .git

Once in the directory, you can locate the index file using the ls command:

ls –la

To view the file, use the file command:

file index

The command will give you an output showing the file type, version, and the number of entries inside the Git cache file.

index: Git index, version 2, 5 entries
Git Cache 1

Clear the Git Cache File

To remove a specific file from the Git cache, use the git rm command followed by the specific file.

To recursively remove files from the cache, use the -r flag with the git rm command.

The general syntax for the command is:

git rm --cached filename

Replace the filename with the specific file you wish to remove from the Git cache.

For example, to remove the file “mte-info.c,” use the command:

git rm --cached mte-info.c

Next, verify the file has been removed successfully using the command:

file .git/index
Picture1 1

Note: executing the git rm --cached filename command does not delete the file from the working directory – only from the staging area.

On the other hand, to clear your entire cache and staging area, use the git rm command with the recursive -r option:

git rm -r –cached

Wrapping Up

As you have learned from this tutorial, clearing your Git cache is easy to do. Meanwhile, you should learn about Git alias to make Git usage more efficient.

John Wachira

John is a technical writer at MTE, when is not busy writing tech tutorials, he is staring at the screen trying to debug code.

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