Here’s a step-by-step guide to removing all Git commit history while retaining the current state of your files. This will also remove all branches and tags. For these instructions, I use Visual Studio Code, but this can be done all from Git Bash.
Because my GitHub is public and often traversed, I want to remove all commit history and keep things clean.
- Backup Your Repository: Make sure to backup your repository before proceeding, as these steps are irreversible.
- Inform Team Members: If you’re working in a team, inform them about this operation since it will rewrite the repository’s history.
Clone the Repository to Visual Studio Code:
- Navigate to GitHub and find the repository you wish to clone.
- Clone the repository to Visual Studio Code.
Remove All Branches and Tags:
- You can do this via GitHub or another Git client. This is crucial if you want to wipe the entire Git history.
Execute Commands in Visual Studio Code Terminal:
Execute the following commands in the terminal:
Create a New Orphan Branch. Replace “new_branch” with your desired branch name.
git checkout --orphan new_branch
Stage All Changes.
git add -A
git commit -am "Fresh initialization"
Delete Main Branch. Make sure you are not on the “main” branch when you run this command.
git branch -D main
Rename Current Branch to Main.
git branch -m main
Force Push to Remote Main Branch. This will overwrite all history on the remote “main” branch.
git push -f origin main
Cleanup and Optimize Local Repository.
git gc --aggressive --prune=all
That’s it! You’ve now removed all the Git commit history and started fresh. Remember that this is a destructive and irreversible action once pushed to a shared repository, so proceed cautiously.