Git fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/heads/master

I am using Dropbox to sync a git repository, but now when I try and push I am getting an error:

fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/heads/master (MacBook-Pro's conflicted copy 2012-10-07)'

So, it seems that Dropbox detected a conflict and created a copy. Ok, no problem, so I deleted the conflicted file. Still, getting the above git error though.

$ git checkout master
    M   index.html
    Already on 'master'
$ git add .
$ git commit -a -m "Cleanup repo"
    [master ff6f817] Cleanup repo
    1 file changed, 5 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)
$ git push
    fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/heads/master (MacBook-Pro's conflicted copy 2012-10-07)'
    The remote end hung up unexpectedly`

How can I fix this? Thanks.


make a backup of your repo if you aren't sure about this one, because these commands are irreversible.

first, go to your repo directory.

cd myrepo

then recursively search for the conflicted files and delete them

find . -type f -name "* conflicted copy*" -exec rm -f {} \;

lastly, remove any "conflicted" references from git's packed-refs file

awk '!/conflicted/' .git/packed-refs > temp && mv temp .git/packed-refs

The conflicted file could be in multiple places, I would look into:


Or you might look everywhere in the .git subdirectory: find . -name '*conflicted*'

Or, otherwise, list the active branches with git branch -a and delete (git branch -d) anything suspicious.

This also happen to our team when my colleague push his changes and shutdown the PC before Dropbox get updated.

I solved it so simply.

Just deleted the conflicted copy. (XXXX's conflicted copy yyyy-mm-dd)

And pull it normally.

Note that my colleague had the changes before messed up. And he push his changes again. This time no shutdown. :)

I was able to delete all the conflicted files from my .git folder, but I continued to get errors about files that no longer existed.

The fix for me was opening up .git/refs/packed_refs and deleting lines that contained the text "conflicted".

For me it was giving error: fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/tags/r0.2:3'

You can go to /.git/packed_refs file and delete the line for refs/tags/r0.2:3

Then it started working. But why it happened in the first place I don't know.

Try a git checkout master first to get on the healthy, well-named branch.

I was getting same error

fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/heads/somebranch (1)'

for the following command

git branch

Then, I searched for erroneous name (branch name followed by (1) ) using the command

find . -name 'somebranch (1)'

And it showed the following result

./.git/refs/heads/somebranch (1)

Which is some duplicated version of somebranch IMO. So, I removed this by executing the find command following by delete

find . -name 'somebranch (1)' -print -exec rm -rf {} \;

Then the branch command run successfully

git branch

I encounterd the similar error such as

fatal: Reference has invalid format: 'refs/heads/user-search-api (Sithu's conflicted copy 2016-01-08)'

Simply deletion of the file .git/refs/heads/user-search-api (Sithu's conflicted copy 2016-01-08) in the remote Dropbox repository did solve the problem.

Need Your Help

Change visibilty to richboxtext inlines

windows-phone-7 visibility paragraph

Hi I have noticed that Microsoft did not include a visibility property to their paragraph object,

How to get .post to open a url instead of generating html?

javascript php jquery html magento-1.9

So on my php page I have this which takes me to the shopping cart page.