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How to Remove a Directory from All Git Commits and Branches

If you work in consultancy, you might encounter a situation where you need to hand over a project repository to a competitor. However, the repository contains some proprietary code that shouldn't have been included in the first place. Is it possible to completely remove a directory from the git history? Let's explore how we can achieve this.


The first and most important note is that I was unable to achieve this on Windows. Instead, I had to create a virtual machine with Linux (Ubuntu 22.04).

Git and python3 were preinstalled. Unfortunately, git alone won't suffice. You need to install 'git-filter-repo', a handy tool for rewriting git history. You can get it from GitHub ( or use pip to install it. I went with pip for simplicity.

First, install pip:

apt install python3-pip

Then install git-filter-repo:

python3 -m pip install --user git-filter-repo

Check if the installation was completed successfully:

git filter-repo --version

Now we have everything we need to accomplish our task.

Mirroring the Repo

Now we need to mirror the repository. Let's assume that the target repo already exists.

Create a bare clone of the repository:

git clone --bare

Mirror-push to the new repository:

git push --mirror

And clone the new repo:

git clone

Altering the History

Now let's put git-filter-repo to work.

git filter-repo --path <folder-path> --invert-paths

Replace <folder-path> with the actual path to the folder you want to remove. The --invert-paths option ensures that the specified folder is removed from all commits in the repository. git-filter-repo automatically performs garbage collection, so you don't need to clean up unnecessary files manually.

As a final step update the Remote Repository with the Modified History

git push --force --all

Don't forget the --all option to push all the branches at once.

Can We Do It Better?

There is always room for improvement. As you may have noticed, we had first pushed the repo to the third-party location and only then removed the history. You can surely achieve a better result by doing it in the proper order yourself.

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About author

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Jan Binder
Experienced Salesforce Technical Architect and Team Lead with a proven track record of delivering successful enterprise projects for major global companies across diverse industries, including automotive, oil & gas, and construction.