Git: checkout / get back a deleted file w/ commit id

Problem: You've deleted a file and want to get it back but you can only remember just a part of the file name or even just a part of the comment you've assigned to the respective Git commit.

Now you want this file back which you've deleted a while ago.


1. Get the id of the commit where the file was deleted using one of the ways below.

  • git log --grep=word
  • git log -Sword
  • git log | grep --context=5 word
  • git log --stat | grep --context=5 word # recommended if you hardly remember anything
2. You should get something like: 
commit bfe68bd117e1091c96d2976c99b3bcc8310bebe7Author: Alexander Orlov <>Date:   Thu May 12 23:44:27 2011 +0200
    replaced deprecated GWT class    -, an outdated (?, replaced by a Maven goal) I18n generation script
commit 3ea4e3af253ac6fd1691ff6bb89c964f54802302Author: Alexander Orlov <>Date:   Thu May 12 22:10:22 2011 +0200
3. Now using the commit id bfe68bd117e1091c96d2976c99b3bcc8310bebe7 do:

git checkout bfe68bd117e1091c96d2976c99b3bcc8310bebe7^1

As the commit id references the commit where the file was already deleted you need to reference the commit just before bfe68b which you can do by appending ^1. This means: give me the commit just before bfe68b.


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