Oh Shit! Git Amend Ate My Changes!

Today a developer did a git commit --amend and accidentally overwrote his entire HEAD. (I'm not sure how, but it did happen.) I knew that since git saves (what seems like) everything, if we could find the commit hash for his previous HEAD that we'd be able to cherry-pick it. We scrolled up through his terminal but couldn't find any reference to it =/ So that meant we needed to try finding it the hard way: .git/

So then I started looking through the git-dir and after a little digging, we found therein a log file for each branch (.git/logs/refs/heads/*), the contents of which lists the last several commit hashes made to the branch respectively. Alright! Each file contains a somewhat chronological list of the hashes generated by each change to the tree (rebase, pull, commit, cherry-pick, etc.). We were able to use git show on the hashes near the end of our branch's log file and recover the change!

Conclusion, steps to recover:
  1. git branch -- # e.g. my-feature
  2. tail .git/logs/refs/heads/my-feature
  3. git show $hash # using the hashes from the log file until you find the one you want
So it turns out the easiest way to do this is to use git reflog, which will list all the changes to your HEAD for the past X changes. Way easier!


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