How to make git mark a deleted and a new file as a file move?

0 votes
asked Jan 11, 2009 by pablo

I've moved a file manually and then I've modified it. According to Git, it is a new file and a removed file. Is there any way to force Git into treating it as a file move?

10 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 11, 2009 by hank-gay

Do the move and the modify in separate commits.

0 votes
answered Jan 11, 2009 by bombe

Git will automatically detect the move/rename if your modification is not too severe. Just git add the new file, and git rm the old file. git status will then show whether it has detected the rename.

additionally, for moves around directories, you may need to:

  1. cd to the top of that directory structure.
  2. Run git add -A .
  3. Run git status to verify that the "new file" is now a "renamed" file

If git status still shows "new file" and not "renamed" you need to follow Hank Gay’s advice and do the move and modify in two separate commits.

0 votes
answered Jan 11, 2009 by kent-fredric

It's all a perceptual thing. Git is generally rather good at recognising moves, because GIT is a content tracker

All that really depends is how your "stat" displays it. The only difference here is the -M flag.

git log --stat -M

commit 9c034a76d394352134ee2f4ede8a209ebec96288
Author: Kent Fredric
Date:   Fri Jan 9 22:13:51 2009 +1300

        Category Restructure

     lib/Gentoo/                |   10 +++++-----
     lib/Gentoo/{ => Repository}/     |    2 +-
     lib/Gentoo/{ => Repository}/ |   12 ++++++------
     lib/Gentoo/{ => Repository}/  |   10 +++++-----
     lib/Gentoo/{ => Repository}/    |   10 +++++-----
     5 files changed, 22 insertions(+), 22 deletions(-)

git log --stat

commit 9c034a76d394352134ee2f4ede8a209ebec96288
Author: Kent Fredric
Date:   Fri Jan 9 22:13:51 2009 +1300

    Category Restructure

 lib/Gentoo/                |   36 ------------------------
 lib/Gentoo/            |   51 ----------------------------------
 lib/Gentoo/             |   41 ---------------------------
 lib/Gentoo/          |   10 +++---
 lib/Gentoo/Repository/     |   36 ++++++++++++++++++++++++
 lib/Gentoo/Repository/ |   51 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 lib/Gentoo/Repository/  |   41 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 lib/Gentoo/Repository/    |   55 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 lib/Gentoo/               |   55 -------------------------------------
 9 files changed, 188 insertions(+), 188 deletions(-)

git help log

       Detect renames.

       Detect copies as well as renames. See also --find-copies-harder.
0 votes
answered Jan 2, 2013 by giles-roberts

If you're using TortoiseGit it's important to note that Git's automatic rename detection happens during commit but the fact that this is going to happen isn't always displayed by the software beforehand. I had moved two files to a different directory and performed some slight edits. I use TortoiseGit as my commit tool and the Changes made list showed the files being deleted and added, not moved. Running git status from the command line showed a similar situation. However after committing the files, they showed up as being renamed in the log. So the answer to your question is, as long as you haven't done anything too drastic, Git should pick up the rename automatically.

Edit: Apparently if you add the new files and then do a git status from the command line, the rename should show up before committing.

Edit 2: In addition, in TortoiseGit, add the new files in the commit dialog but don't commit them. Then if you go into the Show Log command and look at the working directory, you'll see if Git has detected the rename before committing.

The same question was raised here: and has been logged as a bug to fix here: It turns out it's a display issue with TortoiseGit's commit dialog and also kind of exists in git status if you haven't added the new files.

0 votes
answered Jan 12, 2014 by bod

If you're talking about git status not showing the renames, try git commit --dry-run -a instead

0 votes
answered Jan 13, 2014 by jon-rea

There is a probably a better “command line” way to do this, and I know this is a hack, but I’ve never been able to find a good solution.

Using TortoiseGIT: If you have a GIT commit where some file move operations are showing up as load of adds/deletes rather than renames, even though the files only have small changes, then do this:

  1. Check in what you have done locally
  2. Check in a mini one-line change in a 2nd commit
  3. Go to GIT log in tortoise git
  4. Select the two commits, right click, and select “merge into one commit”

The new commit will now properly show the file renames… which will help maintain proper file history.

0 votes
answered Jan 8, 2015 by alex-ilie

For me it worked to stash save all the changes before the commit and pop them out again. This made git re-analyze the added / deleted files and it correctly marked them as moved.

0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by mostafa-elhoushi

Use git mv command to move the files, instead of the OS move commands:

Please note that git mv command only exists in Git versions 1.8.5 and up. So you may have to update your Git to use this command.

0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by cedd

I had this problem recently, when moving (but not modifying) some files.

The problem is that Git changed some line endings when I moved the files, and then wasn't able to tell that the files were the same.

Using git mv sorted out the problem, but it only works on single files / directories, and I had a lot of files in the root of the repository to do.

One way of fixing this would be with some bash / batch magic.

Another way is the following

  • Move the files and git commit. This updates the line endings.
  • Move the files back to their original location, now that they have the new line endings, and git commit --amend
  • Move the files again and git commit --amend. There is no change to the line endings this time so Git is happy
0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by hativ

When I edit, rename, and move a file at the same time, none of these solutions work. The solution is to do it in two commits (edit and rename/move seperate) and then fixup the second commit via git rebase -i to have it in one commit.

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