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VFS for Git

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What is VFS for Git?

VFS stands for Virtual File System. VFS for Git virtualizes the file system beneath your Git repository so that Git and all tools see what appears to be a regular working directory, but VFS for Git only downloads objects as they are needed. VFS for Git also manages the files that Git will consider, to ensure that Git operations such as status, checkout, etc., can be as quick as possible because they will only consider the files that the user has accessed, not all files in the repository.

Note: for new deployments, we strongly recommend you consider Scalar instead of VFS for Git. By combining the lessons from operating VFS for Git at scale with new developments in Git, Scalar offers a clearer path forward for all large monorepos.

Installing VFS for Git

VFS for Git requires Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Windows 10 version 1607) or later.

To install, use winget to install the microsoft/git fork of Git and VFS for Git using:

winget install --id Microsoft.Git
winget install --id Microsoft.VFSforGit

You will need to continue using the microsoft/git version of Git, and it will notify you when new versions are available.

Building VFS for Git

If you'd like to build your own VFS for Git Windows installer:

  • Install Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition or higher (https://www.visualstudio.com/downloads/).
    • Include the following workloads:
      • .NET desktop development
      • Desktop development with C++
      • .NET Core cross-platform development
    • Include the following additional components:
      • .NET Core runtime
      • Windows 10 SDK (10.0.10240.0)
  • Install the .NET Core 2.1 SDK (https://www.microsoft.com/net/download/dotnet-core/2.1)
  • Install nuget.exe
  • Create a folder to clone into, e.g. C:\Repos\VFSForGit
  • Clone this repo into the src subfolder, e.g. C:\Repos\VFSForGit\src
  • Run \src\Scripts\BuildGVFSForWindows.bat
  • You can also build in Visual Studio by opening src\GVFS.sln (do not upgrade any projects) and building. However, the very first build will fail, and the second and subsequent builds will succeed. This is because the build requires a prebuild code generation step. For details, see the build script in the previous step.

You can also use Visual Studio 2019. There are a couple of options for getting all the dependencies.

  • You can install Visual Studio 2017 side by side with Visual Studio 2019, and make sure that you have all the dependencies from Visual Studio 2017 installed
  • Alternatively, if you only want to have Visual Studio 2019 installed, install the following extra dependencies:

Visual Studio 2019 will automatically prompt you to install these dependencies when you open the solution. The .vsconfig file that is present in the root of the repository specifies all required components except the Windows 10 SDK (10.0.10240.0) as this component is no longer shipped with VS2019 - you'll still need to install that separately.

The installer can now be found at C:\Repos\VFSForGit\BuildOutput\GVFS.Installer.Windows\bin\x64\[Debug|Release]\SetupGVFS.<version>.exe

Trying out VFS for Git

  • VFS for Git requires a Git service that supports the GVFS protocol. For example, you can create a repo in Azure DevOps, and push some contents to it. There are two constraints:
    • Your repo must not enable any clean/smudge filters
    • Your repo must have a .gitattributes file in the root that includes the line * -text
  • gvfs clone <URL of repo you just created>
    • Please choose the Clone with HTTPS option in the Clone Repository dialog in Azure Repos, not Clone with SSH.
  • cd <root>\src
  • Run Git commands as you normally would
  • gvfs unmount when done

Note on naming

This project was formerly known as GVFS (Git Virtual File System). You may occasionally see collateral, including code and protocol names, which refer to the previous name.

Licenses

The VFS for Git source code in this repo is available under the MIT license. See License.md.

VFS for Git relies on the PrjFlt filter driver, formerly known as the GvFlt filter driver, available as a prerelease NuGet package.