Dealing with Git unlink file errors

February 17, 2016, 6:45 pm
Author: James Griffiths

Chances are when using Git for your version management needs you may have encountered an error warning in the terminal similar to the following:

Counting objects: 2106547, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (269562/269562), done.
Writing objects: 100% (2106547/2106547), done.
Total 2106547 (delta 636114), reused 2106547 (delta 636114)
Unlink of file '.git/objects/pack/pack-105e2cad4265551672452c ... 5127bac40.pack'
    failed. Should I try again? (y/n)

Pretty annoying right?

Fixing this is actually pretty simple...

Garbage collection

Assuming that you are using the terminal and, on the command line, are located in your local Git project repository, quit the current command by holding down Ctrl + C and run the following instead:

git gc

You should, once the git gc command has finished executing, be able to perform your Git operations as normal.

The git gc command (gc being short for garbage collection) helps optimise the local repository by performing the following:

  • Cleaning up unnecessary/unreachable files
  • Running compression on file revisions to help conserve disk space
  • Improves performance of local repository through 'good housekeeping'

Run this command on a regular basis and your local repository should run smoothly and efficiently without throwing up those awful errors warning you that attempting to unlink a file failed.

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