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Git for Windows

There is a proper Git for Windows, based on a minimal MSys distribution (since Git requires a shell which is not available on Windows by default).

See the msysGit project page for details and download.



Git is now a cygwin binary package, directly installable without needing to compile it. See CygwinBinaryInstall.

Otherwise, to be able to build git directly from source, you will need to install cygwin and the following packages:

  • tcltk (for gitk and git-gui)
  • perl
  • openssh
  • openssl (and -dev)
  • libiconv
  • zip (and -dev)
  • curl (and -dev), optional if compiled with NO_CURL=1
  • expat (and -dev), optional if compiled with NO_CURL=1
  • make
  • gcc
  • binutils (sorta necessary to compile!)
  • patchutils (at least for the tests)
  • cpio (at least for the tests)
  • xmlto to build the man pages
  • util-linux: just to have getopt (required by xmlto)
  • asciidoc to build documents (
  • python to build documents
  • subversion-perl (if you want to use git-svn)

With these packages installed download the git source package from the git homepage and then unpack it with:

tar xvzf git-x.y.z.tar.gz (or tar xvjf git-x.y.z.tar.bz2)

Then, build git and install it in your ~/bin directory by doing:

make install

If want to be extra careful, you can always run the regression tests:

make test

You are now ready to use GIT. Check that your path includes ~/bin and you are off!

Extra notes

  • Use git on local NTFS disks -- Network drives disks don't support the filesystem semantics GIT needs; for interoperability purposes you can store bare repositories on FAT32 disks.
  • Be careful with the case in filenames. Similarly, avoid special chars in filenames.
  • Run git gc early and often. There are slowdowns with many unpacked objects. Be careful to not create very big packfiles (bigger than 2 Gb).
  • Avoid using ActiveState Perl if possible. Ask in the MailingLists if you must.
  • Try to avoid interrupting (Ctrl-C) processes - it breaks cygwin.
  • Consider setting core.fileMode to false (git repo-config core.fileMode false) if file modes are frequently the only differences detected by Git. Many Windows applications make the execute bit be set in Cygwin when they save a file. Besides Cygwin detects file mode by stupid combination of content analysis, file name extension and moon phase.
  • Insert "set CYGWIN=binmode" after the first line of C:\cygwin\cygwin.bat, so you can use Ctrl-z in cygwin's bash to suspend a program.
  • Make sure not to put 'tty' into your CYGWIN environment variable, this breaks gitk/git-gui.
  • Windows usually writes end-of-line as CRLF, while Unix/POSIX writes LF. This can cause a variety of problems. There are current efforts to address this.
  • Setup binary mode for cygwin (there is an option in cygwin's setup program), otherwise Cygwin mangles everything read and written (Git repos have binary files in control structures).
  • Avoid big repos.
  • Avoid big blobs (very big files. Basically anything larger than 10Mb is too big).
  • Avoid big trees (directories with many files in them).
  • Avoid deep hierarchies.
  • Reboot regularly (memory fragmentation)
  • Defragment often (filesystems fragmentation)
  • See related discussion thread: Windows support.


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