Case-Sensitive File Paths on Git for Windows: Stop Changing the Capitalization of m’Dang Branches

Git’s been a part of my daily business for a little more than a year now, and I ran into what can only be described as a shenanigan shortly after I started. The first feature branch I ever created was named something like Adam/a-feature. I did some work and merged it into master. Yay. Then it was time to work on a new feature, so I created another feature branch. This time, however, I decided that I wanted to use a lowercase “adam” as the branch prefix, something like adam/another-feature. Seems okay enough, right? Not so fast, my friend.

I was creating these branches in Bitbucket and syncing them locally with SourceTree. My new branch, adam/another-feature came down as expected, and I was able to do my work. Something weird would happen when I pushed my changes to the remote branch, though. SourceTree would report success, but it would indicate that I still had changes that needed to be pushed. Adding to my confusion, I could see that there were now two branches in Bitbucket: adam/another-feature and Adam/another-feature! What gives?

Well, it turns out this is due the the case-insensitivity of Windows. Branches are stored as files within the .git directory, and creating a new branch will create a file in the .git/refs/heads directory. So when I created my first branch, Adam/some-feature, it created the folder .git/refs/heads/Adam. Then, when I created my second branch, adam/another-feature, Git found and used the existing folder, .git/refs/heads/Adam, and used that.

Long story short, if you wish to change your capitalization scheme for branch prefixes in Git for Windows after you’ve already used a prefix with a different scheme, head on over to .git/refs/heads and make the change there!


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