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Merge pull request #3297 from dscho/docs-about-testing-git-in-place
Document how to build (and test) Git for Windows
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dscho committed Jun 26, 2021
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Expand Up @@ -15,6 +15,62 @@ for Windows' [Google Group](,
and [contribute bug

To build Git for Windows, please either install [Git for Windows'
SDK](, start its `git-bash.exe`, `cd`
to your Git worktree and run `make`, or open the Git worktree as a folder in
Visual Studio.

To verify that your build works, use one of the following methods:

- If you want to test the built executables within Git for Windows' SDK,
prepend `<worktree>/bin-wrappers` to the `PATH`.
- Alternatively, run `make install` in the Git worktree.
- If you need to test this in a full installer, run `sdk build
- You can also "install" Git into an existing portable Git via `make install
DESTDIR=<dir>` where `<dir>` refers to the top-level directory of the
portable Git. In this instance, you will want to prepend that portable Git's
`/cmd` directory to the `PATH`, or test by running that portable Git's
`git-bash.exe` or `git-cmd.exe`.
- If you built using a recent Visual Studio, you can use the menu item
`Build>Install git` (you will want to click on `Project>CMake Settings for
Git` first, then click on `Edit JSON` and then point `installRoot` to the
`mingw64` directory of an already-unpacked portable Git).

As in the previous bullet point, you will then prepend `/cmd` to the `PATH`
or run using the portable Git's `git-bash.exe` or `git-cmd.exe`.
- If you want to run the built executables in-place, but in a CMD instead of
inside a Bash, you can run a snippet like this in the `git-bash.exe` window
where Git was built (ensure that the `EOF` line has no leading spaces), and
then paste into the CMD window what was put in the clipboard:

clip.exe <<EOF
set GIT_EXEC_PATH=$(cygpath -aw .)
set PATH=$(cygpath -awp ".:contrib/scalar:/mingw64/bin:/usr/bin:$PATH")
set GIT_TEMPLATE_DIR=$(cygpath -aw templates/blt)
set GITPERLLIB=$(cygpath -aw perl/build/lib)
- If you want to run the built executables in-place, but outside of Git for
Windows' SDK, and without an option to set/override any environment
variables (e.g. in Visual Studio's debugger), you can call the Git executable
by its absolute path and use the `--exec-path` option, like so:
C:\git-sdk-64\usr\src\git\git.exe --exec-path=C:\git-sdk-64\usr\src\git help
Note: for this to work, you have to hard-link (or copy) the `.dll` files from
the `/mingw64/bin` directory to the Git worktree, or add the `/mingw64/bin`
directory to the `PATH` somehow or other.
To make sure that you are testing the correct binary, call `./git.exe version`
in the Git worktree, and then call `git version` in a directory/window where
you want to test Git, and verify that they refer to the same version (you may
even want to pass the command-line option `--build-options` to look at the
exact commit from which the Git version was built).
Git - fast, scalable, distributed revision control system
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