Fixing ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ Errors: A Step-by-Step Guide

When you’re working with Git, a version control system that lets you track changes and collaborate on projects, running into errors can be a headache. One common issue is the ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ error. Don’t worry, though! Fixing this error is a breeze once you know what to do. Just follow a few simple steps, and you’ll be back to smooth coding in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: Fixing ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ Errors

Before diving into the steps to fix the ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ error, it’s crucial to understand what these steps will accomplish. Essentially, they’ll help you identify the cause of the error and provide solutions to resolve it.

Step 1: Check for Merge Conflicts

Identify if there are any merge conflicts in your repository.
When Git tries to merge changes from different branches and encounters conflicting changes, it throws a merge conflict error. To check for merge conflicts, run git status in your terminal. If there are conflicts, it will list the files that need your attention.

Step 2: Resolve Merge Conflicts

Manually edit the files to resolve the conflicts.
After identifying conflicting files, open them in your code editor. Look for the areas marked with ‘<<<<<<>>>>>>’ to find the conflicting changes. Edit the files to keep the changes you want, save them, and then run git add followed by git commit to apply the resolution.

Step 3: Check for File Permissions

Ensure that Git has the proper permissions to modify files in your repository.
Sometimes, the error can occur because Git doesn’t have the necessary permissions to change files in your project. You might need to change the file permissions using the chmod command or run Git commands with sudo if you have the necessary privileges.

Step 4: Clean the Repository

Use the git clean command to remove untracked files from your working directory.
Untracked or ignored files can sometimes cause the error. Running git clean -fd will remove these files. Be cautious with this step as it will permanently delete untracked files, and you can’t undo this action.

Step 5: Reset Your Repository

If all else fails, reset your repository to a previous state.
As a last resort, you can use git reset to revert your repository to a previous commit. This command can be destructive, so make sure to back up your work before proceeding. Use git reset --hard to reset the working directory to match the last commit.

After completing these steps, you should have resolved the ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ error. Your Git repository will be back on track, and you can continue your work without any interruptions.

Tips: Avoiding ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ Errors

  • Always pull the latest changes from your remote repository before starting work.
  • Commit your changes frequently to avoid large, complex merges.
  • Communicate with your team to coordinate changes and prevent conflicts.
  • Use Git’s stash feature to save changes temporarily without committing.
  • Keep your repository clean by regularly deleting branches that are no longer needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes the ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ error?

This error is commonly caused by merge conflicts, permission issues, or the presence of untracked files in your repository.

Can I use a GUI tool to resolve merge conflicts?

Yes, there are several Git GUI tools available that can help you visualize and resolve merge conflicts more easily.

Is it safe to run git clean -fd?

git clean -fd is a powerful command that will permanently delete untracked files. Only use it when you’re sure you don’t need these files.

What should I do if I can’t resolve a merge conflict?

If you’re struggling to resolve a merge conflict, consider reaching out to a teammate who can help you, or look back at the commit history to understand the changes better.

Can I prevent the ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ error?

While you can’t prevent every potential cause, following best practices like regular commits and communication can help reduce the likelihood of this error occurring.


  1. Check for merge conflicts with git status.
  2. Resolve conflicts by editing files manually.
  3. Check file permissions to ensure Git can modify files.
  4. Clean the repository of untracked files with git clean -fd.
  5. Reset the repository to a previous state with git reset --hard.


Dealing with ‘git did not exit cleanly (exit code 1)’ errors can be frustrating, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth process. Understanding the root of the problem is key, whether it’s merge conflicts, permission issues, or untracked files cluttering your workspace. Once you’ve pinpointed the cause, the steps outlined in this article will guide you to a solution. Remember, Git is a powerful tool, but it requires careful handling to avoid mishaps. Following the tips provided, such as committing regularly and keeping your repository clean, can help prevent these errors from happening in the first place. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help or consult further resources. Happy coding, and may your repositories always be error-free!