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How to Bulk Delete Files in Git in 5 Steps

You might be familiar with rm -rf and if you are, you probably also were warned to be very careful. So I’m pretty cautious about deletions for fear of accidentally deleting directories. Generally I’m not deleting a lot of files, so a simple git rm /path/to/file will suit just fine. However if you find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to bulk delete files, deleting each file is quite tedious.

You also might have noticed that when you do a git add . only the staged, modified files get added and you get the following message: “(use “git add/rm <file>…” to update what will be committed)”

So here’s how you bulk delete files:

  1. See what is actually staged via git status (btw this is generally a good practice). I’m assuming that your deleted files are “not staged for commit”.

  2. Stage your deleted files – git add -u

  3. Confirm that your deleted files are staged – git status

  4. Commit your now staged deleted files – git commit -m "your_message"

  5. Push your commit like normal – git push

For more info, this stackoverflow is also helpful! And many thanks to @joelbyler for patiently walking me through it!

Hope everyone is staying warm this winter!