How to fix `rm -f .git/index`

Gabe Berke-Williams

Ever gotten this message?

fatal: Unable to create '/path/to/repo/.git/index.lock': File exists.

If no other git process is currently running, this probably means a
git process crashed in this repository earlier. Make sure no other git
process is running and remove the file manually to continue.

The way to fix this:

rm .git/index.lock

If you instead do this (note the lack of “.lock” at the end):

rm .git/index

then your git repo will behave in very weird ways. For instance, git status won’t work, and other things break in odd ways. Here’s the fix:

git read-tree --reset HEAD

You’ll lose unstaged changes, but you’ll have your repo back.