Recovering Lost Commits in Git

Git is a very powerful tool, and with great power comes great responsibilities. If not used and handles properly, It might cause you to lose your commits. There might be situations when you may find all of your work missing at once.

If you have regularly committed your work, there is a way to recover these lost commits.
This tutorial will aim at using the

 git reflog

and the

git cherry-pick

commands to recover your lost commits in Git.

Note: Using the reflog will only work for a certain amount of time after the commits are lost. Git cleans the reflog periodically, so don’t wait too long!


The first step to recovering your lost commits is to recover the list of all your previous commits and actions done on the repository.

Note: Keep in mind that the given commit hashes and signatures may differ from that of your local repository. Replace all relevant information with the info corresponding to your log.

Run this command

git reflog

After running the command this is what you will see as the output.

$ git reflog
c9f9669 HEAD@{0}: commit: Fixed test cases to run on Unix
b3ca8a4 HEAD@{1}: pull: Fast-forward
54ba188 HEAD@{2}: pull origin master: Fast-forward
e659a21 HEAD@{3}: reset: moving to HEAD~1
12944d8 HEAD@{4}: reset: moving to HEAD~1
6f40152 HEAD@{5}: reset: moving to HEAD~1
3de61ba HEAD@{6}: pull: Fast-forward
e659a21 HEAD@{7}: reset: moving to HEAD^1
12944d8 HEAD@{8}: reset: moving to HEAD^1
6f40152 HEAD@{9}: reset: moving to HEAD^1
3de61ba HEAD@{10}: commit: Removed Query object   
6f40152 HEAD@{11}: pull: Merge made by the 'recursive' strategy.
12944d8 HEAD@{12}: commit: API touchups   --- We want to recover this commit.
e659a21 HEAD@{13}: commit: Test enhancements
07419e1 HEAD@{14}: pull: Fast-forward

Find of the Hash of the commit you want to recover, For ex-12944d8.
Now use the following command to bring your lost commit back.

 git cherry-pick 12944d8 

Recovered Commit

That’s it! Your work should be recovered soon with the following success commands:

Finished one cherry-pick.
[master 12944d8] API touchups
3 files changed, 36 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

In case of a Merge conflict

If there is a merge conflict, the following message will show up.

error: could not apply 12944d8... API touchups
hint: after resolving the conflicts, mark the corrected paths
hint: with 'git add ' or 'git rm '
hint: and commit the result with 'git commit'

using the git status command can help you identify what has to be done.

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