Recovering from broken Git repo

A local Git repo can become corrupted in rare circumstances, perhaps doing a git commit just as a computer crashes or loses power. A common symptom of a corrupted local Git repo is any Git command except for perhaps git diff giving error:

fatal: your current branch appears to be broken

The changes are likely still present, as seen via git diff. Previous commits that were not pushed to remote are likely present as well in the form of the modified files, but the historical local Git commit deltas may not be recoverable. This recovery will in effect “squash” the local commits that weren’t previously pushed to remote.

NOTE: work done on other branches that weren’t pushed to remote may not be retrievable.


  1. Copy the directory tree of the affected local Git repo, preferably on another hard drive or in the cloud.
  2. git clone a fresh copy of the remote Git repo to a new directory
  3. use a program like Meld or Visual Studio Code to incrementally copy into the new directory the changes from the old corrupted directory. If there are a large number of changes, consider making the changes via multiple Git commits.