Undo git reset --hard with uncommitted files in the staging area

GitUndoGit CommitGit ResetGit Add

Git Problem Overview

I am trying to recover my work. I stupidly did git reset --hard, but before that I've done only get add . and didn't do git commit. Please help! Here is my log:

MacBookPro:api user$ git status
# On branch master
# Changes to be committed:
#   (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)

#   modified:   .gitignore

MacBookPro:api user$ git reset --hard
HEAD is now at ff546fa added new strucuture for api

Is it possible to undo git reset --hard in this situation?

Git Solutions

Solution 1 - Git

You should be able to recover any files back that you added to the index (e.g, as in your situation, with git add .) although it might be a bit of work. In order to add a file to the index, git adds it to the object database, which means it can be recovered so long as garbage collection hasn't happened yet. There's an example of how to do this given in Jakub Narębski's answer here:

However, I tried that out on a test repository, and there were a couple of problems - --cached should be --cache, and I found that it didn't actually create the .git/lost-found directory. However, the following steps worked for me:

git fsck --cache --unreachable $(git for-each-ref --format="%(objectname)")

That should output all objects in the object database that aren't reachable by any ref, in the index, or via the reflog. The output will look something like this:

unreachable blob 907b308167f0880fb2a5c0e1614bb0c7620f9dc3
unreachable blob 72663d3adcf67548b9e0f0b2eeef62bce3d53e03

... and for each of those blobs, you can do:

git show 907b308

To output the contents of the file.

Too much output?

Update in response to sehe's comment below:

If you find that you have many commits and trees listed in the output from that command, you may want to remove from the output any objects which are referenced from unreferenced commits. (Typically you can get back to these commits via the reflog anyway - we're just interested in objects that have been added to the index but can never be found via a commit.)

First, save the output of the command, with:

git fsck --cache --unreachable $(git for-each-ref --format="%(objectname)") > all

Now the object names of those unreachable commits can be found with:

egrep commit all | cut -d ' ' -f 3

So you can find just the trees and objects that have been added to the index, but not committed at any point, with:

git fsck --cache --unreachable $(git for-each-ref --format="%(objectname)") \
  $(egrep commit all | cut -d ' ' -f 3)

That enormously cuts down the number of objects you'll have to consider.

Update: Philip Oakley below suggests another way of cutting down the number of objects to consider, which is to just consider the most recently modified files under .git/objects. You can find these with:

find .git/objects/ -type f -printf '%TY-%Tm-%Td %TT %p\n' | sort

(I found that find invocation here.) The end of that list might look like:

2011-08-22 11:43:43.0234896770 .git/objects/b2/1700b09c0bc0fc848f67dd751a9e4ea5b4133b
2011-09-13 07:36:37.5868133260 .git/objects/de/629830603289ef159268f443da79968360913a

In which case you can see those objects with:

git show b21700b09c0bc0fc848f67dd751a9e4ea5b4133b
git show de629830603289ef159268f443da79968360913a

(Note that you have to remove the / at the end of the path to get the object name.)

Solution 2 - Git

I just did a git reset --hard and lost one commit. But I knew the commit hash, so I was able to do git cherry-pick COMMIT_HASH to restore it.

I did this within a few minutes of losing the commit, so it may work for some of you.

Solution 3 - Git

Thanks to Mark Longair I got my stuff back!

First I saved all the hashes into a file:

git fsck --cache --unreachable $(git for-each-ref --format="%(objectname)") > allhashes

next I put them all (removing the 'unreachable blob' thing) in a list and put the data all in new files...you have to pick your files and rename them again which you need...but I only needed a few files..hope this helps someone...

commits = ["c2520e04839c05505ef17f985a49ffd42809f",

from subprocess import call
filename = "file"
i = 1
for c in commits:
	f = open(filename + str(i),"wb")
	call(["git", "show", c],stdout=f)

Solution 4 - Git

@Ajedi32's solution in the comments worked for me in exactly this situation.

git reset --hard @{1}

Note that all these solutions rely on there being no git gc, and some of them might cause one, so I'd zip up the contents of your .git directory before trying anything so that you have a snapshot to go back to if one doesn't work for you.

Solution 5 - Git

Ran into the same issue, but had not added the changes to the index. So all commands above didn't bring me back the desired changes.

After all the above elaborate answers, this is a naive hint, but may be it'll save someone who didn't thought about it first, as I did.

In despair, I tried to press CTRL-Z in my editor (LightTable), once in every open tab — this luckily recovered the file in that tab, to its latest state before the git reset --hard. HTH.

Solution 6 - Git

Goodness, I pulled my hair until I ran into this question and its answers. I believe the correct and succinct answer to the question asked is only available if you pull two of the comments above together so here it is all in one place:

  1. As mentioned by chilicuil, run git reflog to identify in there the commit hash that you want to get back to

  2. As mentioned by akimsko, you will likely NOT want to cherry pick unless you only lost one commit, so you should then run git reset --hard <hash-commit-you-want>

Note for egit Eclipse users: I couldn't find a way to do these steps within Eclipse with egit. Closing Eclipse, running the commands above from a terminal window, and then reopening Eclipse worked just fine for me.

Solution 7 - Git

If you are editing your files with an IDE, it may also be keeping its own history independent of Git. In some circumstances it is much simpler to bypass Git entirely and use the IDE. For example, IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse both have this kind of automated local version control, which they refer to as "local history". In IntelliJ it's straightforward to retrieve a whole batch of lost changes across many files: in the Project pane, you can right-click an entire project or directory tree and select Show History in the Local History submenu. The git reset --hard should appear in the list as an "external change" (i.e. triggered from outside the IDE), and you can use the revert button or context menu item to revert everything to the state right before that external change happened.

Solution 8 - Git

This is probably obvious to the git professionals out there, but I wanted to put it up since in my frantic searching I didn't see this brought up.

I staged some files, and did a git reset --hard, freaked out a little, and then noticed that my status showed all my files still staged as well as all their deletions unstaged.

At this point you can commit those staged changes, as long as you don't stage their deletions. After this, you only have to work up the courage to do git reset --hard one more time, which will bring you back to those changes you had staged and now just committed.

Again, this is probably nothing new to most, but I'm hoping that since it helped me and I didn't find anything suggesting this, it might help someone else.

Solution 9 - Git

If you've recently reviewed a git diff then there's another way to recover from incidents like this, even when you haven't staged the changes yet: if the output of git diff is still in your console buffer, you can just scroll up, copy-paste the diff into a file and use the patch tool to apply the diff to your tree: patch -p0 < file. This approach saved me a few times.

Solution 10 - Git

The above solutions may work, however, there are simpler ways to recover from this instead of going through git-s complex undo. I would guess that most git-resets happen on a small number of files, and if you already use VIM, this might be the most time-efficient solution. The caveat is that you already must be using ViM's persistent-undo, which you should be using either way, because it provides you the ability to undo unlimited number of changes.

Here are the steps:

  1. In vim press : and type the command set undodir. If you have persistent undo turned on in your .vimrc, it will show a result similar to undodir=~/.vim_runtime/temp_dirs/undodir.

  2. In your repo use git log to find out the last date/time you made the last commit

  3. In your shell navigate to your undodir using cd ~/.vim_runtime/temp_dirs/undodir.

  4. In this directory use this command to find all the files that you have changed since the last commit

    find . -newermt "2018-03-20 11:24:44" \! -newermt "2018-03-23" \( -type f
    -regextype posix-extended -regex  '.*' \) \-not -path "*/env/*" -not -path

    Here "2018-03-20 11:24:44" is the date and time of the last commit. If the date on which you did the git reset --hard is "2018-03-22", then use "2018-03-22", then use "2018-03-23". This is because of a quirk of find, where the lower boundary is inclusive, and the upper bound is exclusive. https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/70404/242983

  5. Next go to each of the files open them up in vim, and do a "earlier 20m". You can find more details about "earlier" by using "h earlier". Here earlier 20m mean go back to the state of the file 20 minutes back, assuming that you did the git hard --reset, 20 mins back. Repeat this over all the files that was spitted out from the find command. I am sure somebody can write a script that will combine these things.

Solution 11 - Git

I'm using IntelliJ and was able to simply go through each file and do:

Edit -> reload from disk

Luckily, I had just done a git status right before I wiped out my working changes, so I knew exactly what I had to reload.

Solution 12 - Git

Remembering your file hierarchy and using the technique of Mark Longair with Phil Oakley modification yields dramatic results.

Essentially if you at least added the files to the repo but not committed it, you can restore by interactively using git show, inspect the log and use shell redirection to create each file (remembering your path of interest).


Solution 13 - Git

I was not able to recover the file using git commands. In my case, it was a CPP file. I knew a unique string in it and this helped. The command is:

sudo grep -a -B[number of rows before the text being searched] -A[number of rows after the text being searched] '[some unique text in the lost file]' /dev/sda3 > test.cpp

Searches the whole disk but in the end, it found the content of the lost file.


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