English ▾ Topics ▾ Version 2.30.0 ▾ git-maintenance last updated in 2.45.2


git-maintenance - Run tasks to optimize Git repository data


git maintenance run [<options>]


Run tasks to optimize Git repository data, speeding up other Git commands and reducing storage requirements for the repository.

Git commands that add repository data, such as git add or git fetch, are optimized for a responsive user experience. These commands do not take time to optimize the Git data, since such optimizations scale with the full size of the repository while these user commands each perform a relatively small action.

The git maintenance command provides flexibility for how to optimize the Git repository.



Initialize Git config values so any scheduled maintenance will start running on this repository. This adds the repository to the maintenance.repo config variable in the current user’s global config and enables some recommended configuration values for maintenance.<task>.schedule. The tasks that are enabled are safe for running in the background without disrupting foreground processes.

The register subcomand will also set the maintenance.strategy config value to incremental, if this value is not previously set. The incremental strategy uses the following schedule for each maintenance task:

  • gc: disabled.

  • commit-graph: hourly.

  • prefetch: hourly.

  • loose-objects: daily.

  • incremental-repack: daily.

git maintenance register will also disable foreground maintenance by setting = false in the current repository. This config setting will remain after a git maintenance unregister command.


Run one or more maintenance tasks. If one or more --task options are specified, then those tasks are run in that order. Otherwise, the tasks are determined by which maintenance.<task>.enabled config options are true. By default, only maintenance.gc.enabled is true.


Start running maintenance on the current repository. This performs the same config updates as the register subcommand, then updates the background scheduler to run git maintenance run --scheduled on an hourly basis.


Halt the background maintenance schedule. The current repository is not removed from the list of maintained repositories, in case the background maintenance is restarted later.


Remove the current repository from background maintenance. This only removes the repository from the configured list. It does not stop the background maintenance processes from running.



The commit-graph job updates the commit-graph files incrementally, then verifies that the written data is correct. The incremental write is safe to run alongside concurrent Git processes since it will not expire .graph files that were in the previous commit-graph-chain file. They will be deleted by a later run based on the expiration delay.


The prefetch task updates the object directory with the latest objects from all registered remotes. For each remote, a git fetch command is run. The refmap is custom to avoid updating local or remote branches (those in refs/heads or refs/remotes). Instead, the remote refs are stored in refs/prefetch/<remote>/. Also, tags are not updated.

This is done to avoid disrupting the remote-tracking branches. The end users expect these refs to stay unmoved unless they initiate a fetch. With prefetch task, however, the objects necessary to complete a later real fetch would already be obtained, so the real fetch would go faster. In the ideal case, it will just become an update to a bunch of remote-tracking branches without any object transfer.


Clean up unnecessary files and optimize the local repository. "GC" stands for "garbage collection," but this task performs many smaller tasks. This task can be expensive for large repositories, as it repacks all Git objects into a single pack-file. It can also be disruptive in some situations, as it deletes stale data. See git-gc[1] for more details on garbage collection in Git.


The loose-objects job cleans up loose objects and places them into pack-files. In order to prevent race conditions with concurrent Git commands, it follows a two-step process. First, it deletes any loose objects that already exist in a pack-file; concurrent Git processes will examine the pack-file for the object data instead of the loose object. Second, it creates a new pack-file (starting with "loose-") containing a batch of loose objects. The batch size is limited to 50 thousand objects to prevent the job from taking too long on a repository with many loose objects. The gc task writes unreachable objects as loose objects to be cleaned up by a later step only if they are not re-added to a pack-file; for this reason it is not advisable to enable both the loose-objects and gc tasks at the same time.


The incremental-repack job repacks the object directory using the multi-pack-index feature. In order to prevent race conditions with concurrent Git commands, it follows a two-step process. First, it calls git multi-pack-index expire to delete pack-files unreferenced by the multi-pack-index file. Second, it calls git multi-pack-index repack to select several small pack-files and repack them into a bigger one, and then update the multi-pack-index entries that refer to the small pack-files to refer to the new pack-file. This prepares those small pack-files for deletion upon the next run of git multi-pack-index expire. The selection of the small pack-files is such that the expected size of the big pack-file is at least the batch size; see the --batch-size option for the repack subcommand in git-multi-pack-index[1]. The default batch-size is zero, which is a special case that attempts to repack all pack-files into a single pack-file.



When combined with the run subcommand, run maintenance tasks only if certain thresholds are met. For example, the gc task runs when the number of loose objects exceeds the number stored in the config setting, or when the number of pack-files exceeds the gc.autoPackLimit config setting. Not compatible with the --schedule option.


When combined with the run subcommand, run maintenance tasks only if certain time conditions are met, as specified by the maintenance.<task>.schedule config value for each <task>. This config value specifies a number of seconds since the last time that task ran, according to the maintenance.<task>.lastRun config value. The tasks that are tested are those provided by the --task=<task> option(s) or those with maintenance.<task>.enabled set to true.


Do not report progress or other information over stderr.


If this option is specified one or more times, then only run the specified tasks in the specified order. If no --task=<task> arguments are specified, then only the tasks with maintenance.<task>.enabled configured as true are considered. See the TASKS section for the list of accepted <task> values.


The git maintenance command is designed to simplify the repository maintenance patterns while minimizing user wait time during Git commands. A variety of configuration options are available to allow customizing this process. The default maintenance options focus on operations that complete quickly, even on large repositories.

Users may find some cases where scheduled maintenance tasks do not run as frequently as intended. Each git maintenance run command takes a lock on the repository’s object database, and this prevents other concurrent git maintenance run commands from running on the same repository. Without this safeguard, competing processes could leave the repository in an unpredictable state.

The background maintenance schedule runs git maintenance run processes on an hourly basis. Each run executes the "hourly" tasks. At midnight, that process also executes the "daily" tasks. At midnight on the first day of the week, that process also executes the "weekly" tasks. A single process iterates over each registered repository, performing the scheduled tasks for that frequency. Depending on the number of registered repositories and their sizes, this process may take longer than an hour. In this case, multiple git maintenance run commands may run on the same repository at the same time, colliding on the object database lock. This results in one of the two tasks not running.

If you find that some maintenance windows are taking longer than one hour to complete, then consider reducing the complexity of your maintenance tasks. For example, the gc task is much slower than the incremental-repack task. However, this comes at a cost of a slightly larger object database. Consider moving more expensive tasks to be run less frequently.

Expert users may consider scheduling their own maintenance tasks using a different schedule than is available through git maintenance start and Git configuration options. These users should be aware of the object database lock and how concurrent git maintenance run commands behave. Further, the git gc command should not be combined with git maintenance run commands. git gc modifies the object database but does not take the lock in the same way as git maintenance run. If possible, use git maintenance run --task=gc instead of git gc.


Part of the git[1] suite