Notes on undeleting files in git-annex

Published: Friday, May 8, 2015 Last modified: Monday, Apr 8, 2024

Working workflows

Deleting a file in my media workflow

git ls-files $file --error-unmatch && git annex metadata -t drop $file && git rm $file


git ls-files $file --error-unmatch checks $file is actually in git. I make the assumption here that if the file is in git, then it has been already added to git-annex.

git annex metadata -t drop $file tags the file as dropped. This is useful if I accidentally import or copy it in again.

git rm $file actually deletes the file

UN-deleting a file

git reset HEAD $file
git checkout HEAD $file


To make sure everything is OK, you must git annex add and git commit before deleting!!

Otherwise you will get confusing error: pathspec '$file' did not match any file(s) known to git. messages.

IIUC if you delete a file that just git annex add, it is possible you can fish it out of .git/annex/objects but the filename would be obfuscated. git log --stat git-annex & git-log --name-only git-annex will give you visibility of the internals.

Remove contents of deleted file

This removes all “drop” tagged media:

git annex drop --metadata=tag=drop --force