How to Fix The Following Untracked Working Tree Files Would Be Overwritten by Checkout Error: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you're a developer, you've likely encountered the "The following untracked working tree files would be overwritten by checkout" error before. This error can be frustrating to deal with, but it's important to understand what it means and how to fix it. In this guide, we'll provide a step-by-step solution to help you resolve this error.

Understanding the Error

Before we dive into the solution, let's first understand what this error means. This error occurs when you try to switch to a different branch or commit, but you have untracked files in your working tree that would be overwritten by the checkout. In other words, Git is warning you that you may lose changes in these files if you continue with the checkout.

Solution to "The Following Untracked Working Tree Files Would Be Overwritten by Checkout" Error

To fix this error, you'll need to either commit or stash your changes before checking out the new branch or commit. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Run git status to see which files are untracked in your working tree.
  2. If you want to keep the changes in these files, you'll need to commit them. Run git add . to stage all changes and then run git commit -m "Commit message" to commit the changes.
  3. If you don't want to commit the changes yet, you can stash them. Run git stash to stash the changes.
  4. Once you've committed or stashed the changes, you can switch to the new branch or commit without encountering the error. Run git checkout [branch/commit name] to switch to the desired branch or commit.


Q: Can I undo a stash if I change my mind later?

Yes, you can undo a stash if you change your mind later. Run git stash list to see a list of stashes. Then, run git stash apply [stash name] to apply the stash. If you want to completely remove the stash, run git stash drop [stash name].

Q: Can I stash only some of my changes?

Yes, you can stash only some of your changes. Run git stash save --patch to stash only the changes you want. This will prompt you to select which changes to stash.

Q: How do I view the changes in a stash?

Run git stash show [stash name] to view the changes in a stash.

Q: Can I stash changes in a specific file?

Yes, you can stash changes in a specific file. Run git stash push [file name] to stash the changes in the specified file.

Q: How do I apply a stash to a different branch?

Run git stash branch [new branch name] [stash name] to apply a stash to a different branch.

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