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Apparently trying to use a direct download link for the git-filter-repo
script results in Windows trying to give the file an unwanted extension.
Warn users about that stupidity.

While at it, also:
  * note in the pre-reqs section that we have later hints for Windows
    users about installing Python
  * provide an additional link for installing Python on Windows that
    isn't generic instructions about using Python on Windows but helps
    users find the latest python to install from the Microsoft store

Reported-by: Radu Terec <>
Signed-off-by: Elijah Newren <>
3 contributors

Users who have contributed to this file

@newren @marcows @erickeller

Table of Contents


Instructions on this page assume you have already installed both Git and Python (though the Notes for Windows Users has some tips on Python).

Simple Installation

All you need to do is download one file: the git-filter-repo script in this repository (direct link to raw file), making sure to preserve its name (git-filter-repo, with no extension). That's it. You're done.

Then you can run any command you want, such as

$ python3 git-filter-repo --analyze

If you place the git-filter-repo script in your $PATH, then you can shorten commands by replacing python3 git-filter-repo with git filter-repo; the manual assumes this but you can use the longer form.

If for some reason downloading a single file is too much of an installation hassle for you, or you really want some kind of "official installation", the other sections may have useful tips.

Optionally, if you also want to use some of the contrib scripts, then you need to make sure you have a file which is either a link to or copy of git-filter-repo, and you need to place that file in $PYTHONPATH.

Installation via Package Manager

If you want to install via some package manager, you can run

$ PACKAGE_TOOL install git-filter-repo

The following package managers have packaged git-filter-repo:

Packaging status

This list covers at least Windows (Scoop), Mac OS X (Homebrew), and Linux (most the rest). Note that I do not curate this list (and have no interest in doing so); tracks who packages these versions.

Detailed installation explanation for packagers

filter-repo only consists of a few files that need to be installed:

  • git-filter-repo

    This is the only thing needed for basic use.

    This can be installed in the directory pointed to by git --exec-path, or placed anywhere in $PATH.

    If your python3 executable is named "python" instead of "python3" (this particularly appears to affect a number of Windows users), then you'll also need to modify the first line of git-filter-repo to replace "python3" with "python".


    This is needed if you want to make use of one of the scripts in contrib/filter-repo-demos/, or want to write your own script making use of filter-repo as a python library.

    You can create this symlink to (or copy of) git-filter-repo named and place it in your python site packages; python -c "import site; print(site.getsitepackages())" may help you find the appropriate location for your system. Alternatively, you can place this file anywhere within $PYTHONPATH.

  • git-filter-repo.1

    This is needed if you want git filter-repo --help to succeed in displaying the manpage, when help.format is "man" (the default on Linux and Mac).

    This can be installed in the directory pointed to by $(git --man-path)/man1/, or placed anywhere in $MANDIR/man1/ where $MANDIR is some entry from $MANPATH.

    Note that git filter-repo -h will show a more limited built-in set of instructions regardless of whether the manpage is installed.

  • git-filter-repo.html

    This is needed if you want git filter-repo --help to succeed in displaying the html version of the help, when help.format is set to "html" (the default on Windows).

    This can be installed in the directory pointed to by git --html-path.

    Note that git filter-repo -h will show a more limited built-in set of instructions regardless of whether the html version of help is installed.

So, installation might look something like the following:

  1. If you don't have the necessary documentation files (because you are installing from a clone of filter-repo instead of from a tarball) then you can first run:

    make snag_docs

    (which just copies the generated documentation files from the docs branch)

  2. Run the following

    cp -a git-filter-repo $(git --exec-path)
    cp -a git-filter-repo.1 $(git --man-path)/man1 && mandb
    cp -a git-filter-repo.html $(git --html-path)
    ln -s $(git --exec-path)/git-filter-repo \
        $(python -c "import site; print(site.getsitepackages()[-1])")/

or you can use the provided Makefile, as noted below.

Installation via Makefile

Installing should be doable by hand, but a Makefile is provided for those that prefer it. However, usage of the Makefile really requires overridding at least a couple of the directories with sane values, e.g.

$ make prefix=/usr pythondir=/usr/lib64/python3.8/site-packages install

Also, the Makefile will not edit the shebang line (the first line) of git-filter-repo if your python executable is not named "python3"; you'll still need to do that yourself.

Notes for Windows Users

Windows likes to make things difficult. Common and historical issues:

  • Non-functional Python stub: Windows apparently ships with a non-functional python. This can even manifest as the app hanging or the system appearing to hang. Try installing Python from the Microsoft Store
  • Modifying PATH, making the script executable: For some reason lots of Windows users have a hard time modifying their PATH and/or making scripts executable. You can skip that step by just using python3 git-filter-repo instead of git filter-repo in your commands.
  • Different python executable name: It seems some users don't have a python3 executable but one named something else like python or python3.8 or whatever. You may need to edit the first line of the git-filter-repo script to specify the appropriate path. Or just don't bother and instead use the long form for executing filter-repo commands. Namely, replace the git filter-repo part of commands with PYTHON_EXECUTABLE git-filter-repo. (Where PYTHON_EXECUTABLE is something like python or python3.8 or C:\PATH\TO\INSTALLATION\OF\python3.exe or whatever).
  • Symlink issues: is supposed to be a symlink to git-filter-repo, so that it appears to have identical contents. If your system messed up the symlink (usually meaning it looks like a regular file with just one line), then delete and replace it with a copy of git-filter-repo.
  • Old GitBash limitations: older versions of GitForWindows had an unfortunate shebang length limitation (see git-for-windows issue #3165). If you're affected, just use the long form for invoking filter-repo commands, i.e. replace the git filter-repo part of commands with python3 git-filter-repo.

For additional historical context, see: