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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
© Rakhesh Sasidharan


How to move/ separate the .git folder out of your working tree

This is common knowledge now but I’d like to make a post just so I can refer to it from other posts. 

By default the .git folder – which is your Git repository – is stored in the same folder as your other files (the “working tree”). But it is possible to separate it from the working tree if you so desire. 

Two things are needed in this case: (1) the working tree must have some way of knowing where the Git repository is located, and (2) the Git repository must know where its working tree is. 

The easy way to do this is to clone or init a repository with the --separate-git-dir /path/to/some/dir switch. For example:

The working directory “Test” only contains a file called .git (instead of a directory called .git). This file contains a pointer to where the actual repository is. 

And if you go to that folder and check the config file you will see it points to the working directory (note the core.worktree value):

And this brings us to the non-easy way of separating the working tree from the repository. If you have an existing repository, simply move the .git folder to wherever you want and add a .git file as above and modify the config file. And if you are cloning a repository, after cloning do as above. :)

A neat thing about git init is that you can run it with the --separate-git-dir switch on an existing working tree whose repository is within it, and it will move the repository out to wherever you specify and do the linking:

Useful stuff to be aware of. 

How to move/ separate the .git folder out of your working tree by rakhesh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.