Greg Hewgill Greg Hewgill - 3 months ago 17
Git Question

How to recover a dropped stash in Git?

I frequently use

git stash
and
git stash pop
to save and restore changes in my working tree. Yesterday I had some changes in my working tree that I had stashed and popped, and then I made more changes to my working tree. I'd like to go back and review yesterday's stashed changes, but
git stash pop
appears to remove all references to the associated commit.

I know that if I use
git stash
then .git/refs/stash contains the reference of the commit used to create the stash. And .git/logs/refs/stash contains the whole stash. But those references are gone after
git stash pop
. I know that the commit is still in my repository somewhere, but I don't know what it was.

Is there an easy way to recover yesterday's stash commit reference?

Note that this isn't critical for me today because I have daily backups and can go back to yesterday's working tree to get my changes. I'm asking because there must be an easier way!

Answer

If you have only just popped it and the terminal is still open, you will still have the hash value printed by git stash pop on screen (thanks, Dolda).

Otherwise, you can find it using this:

git fsck --no-reflog | awk '/dangling commit/ {print $3}'

This will show you all the commits at the tips of your commit graph which are no longer referenced from any branch or tag – every lost commit, including every stash commit you’ve ever created, will be somewhere in that graph.

The easiest way to find the stash commit you want is probably to pass that list to gitk:

gitk --all $( git fsck --no-reflog | awk '/dangling commit/ {print $3}' )

This will launch a repository browser showing you every single commit in the repository ever, regardless of whether it is reachable or not.

You can replace gitk there with something like git log --graph --oneline --decorate if you prefer a nice graph on the console over a separate GUI app.

To spot stash commits, look for commit messages of this form:

        WIP on somebranch: commithash Some old commit message

Note: The commit message will only be in this form (starting with "WIP on") if you did not supply a message when you did git stash.

Once you know the hash of the commit you want, you can apply it as a stash:

git stash apply $stash_hash

Or you can use the context menu in gitk to create branches for any unreachable commits you are interested in. After that, you can do whatever you want with them with all the normal tools. When you’re done, just blow those branches away again.

Comments