How to force overwrite local changes with 'git pull'
Have you ever been working on a project in git and ran into an error telling you that you can’t use
git pull because you have local changes?
error: Untracked working tree file 'App.vue' would be overwritten by merge
This is usually some changes have been committed to the repo you are pulling from - but you have a similar file locally. For example, if a file gets accidentally added to a repo called
README.md, and you already have
README.md on your local version.
Sometimes though, you want to force overwrite your files with the ones found in the repo. In this scenario, your local changes will be replaced by the ones found on the remote repository.
Forcing git pull
To force a
git pull, you want to do three things:
- first sync up and fetch all remote repository changes.
- backup your current branch - since when we force the pull, all changes will be overwritten.
- force the
The important thing to do here is a backup, where you commit all your local changes to a backup branch. You can also copy your files somewhere else if you’re worried about overwriting them. If you do not commit/backup your local changes to another branch, they will be overwritten so please be careful. :)
To force a
git pull, we run the following commands to create a backup branch, and then force the
git pull on the master branch:
git fetch --all
# Creates a new branch
git branch my-backup-branch
# Switch to the new branch.. we'll use it to backup our local changes
git switch my-backup-branch
# Add all files to a commit
git add .
# Commit the new branch, so that it is saved
git commit -m "Backup of branch"
# Switch back to our main branch, `master`
git switch master
# Force git pull using `git reset --hard`
git reset --hard origin/master
Forcing Git Pull
The key command to force a git pull from a remote repository is
git reset --hard origin/master. The other commands are to ensure you don’t lose any data, by making a backup!
git fetch --all syncs up our remote to our local. Then,
git branch my-backup-branch creates a new branch, which we switch to for the backup. After that, I’ve added in a
commit, so that we commit any changes on that backup branch,
my-backup-branch, so the contents remain saved. If you don’t commit your changes to the backup branch, you will lose them.
Then we switch back to our main,
master branch, assuming your main branch is called
master. If it’s called something else, you will have to use that command. You can see all other branches available to switch to by running
git branch --list.
Finally, we use
git reset --hard origin/master to force git pull. This will force overwrite any local changes you made.
And you’re done. Now your local changes will be backed up on the branch
my-backup-branch, and all remote changes will be forced into your
Can’t find origin/master
If you can’t find
origin/master, you may now have that branch on your origin. Instead, try running
git branch -r to see any remote branches, so you can pick the one you want to
git reset from.
More Tips and Tricks for Git
- How to make Git forget a tracked file now in .gitignore
- How to add a Blank Directory to your Git Repository
- Git Stash - Everything about stashing changes in git
- Git Merge: Merging Changes from other Branches
- Setting upstream with Git
- How to force overwrite local changes with 'git pull'
- Using Git to see recent changes in specified a time period
- The Complete Beginners Guide to Getting Started with Git
- Git blame - How to find out who modified a line with Git
- How to amend and update a git commit