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Using Git (and GitHub) on Windows

Want to learn how to use Git for Windows? This guide will show how to install Git on Windows, create a local repository and then push it to GitHub. Don't wait, start learning today!

Feb 4, 2019 • 6 Minute Read


This guide will show how to install Git on Windows, create a local repository, and then push it to GitHub.

Installing Git

Download the installer for Windows from the Git official site.

Execute the downloaded file. In the page Select Components you can leave the options at their defaults.

The Windows Explorer integration > Context menu entries option allows opening the Git command prompt (Git Bash) from any folder by clicking with the right mouse button on the folder and selecting Git Bash Here. The last option is also interesting in that it installs a better font for all console windows.

Note: Git for Windows comes with its own command prompt (Git Bash) that, besides git commands, has some useful Unix commands (and it looks better than the Windows default prompt).

On the next screen (Adjusting your path environment), I choose the most conservative option: Use Git Bash only. This will make git commands available only in Git Bash and will not alter your PATH variable. Click Next.

Another important setting: line endings. As you may know, Windows and Unix systems (Linux, Mac) have different formats of line breaks on text files. If you write a file with Windows line breaks, another person may have problems opening that file in Linux and vice-versa. The line endings setting allows you to normalize this.

I prefer choosing the second option (Checkout as-is, commit Unix-style line endings), that won't change the line breaks when the file arrives but will convert them to Unix-style when you commit. That way, you don't risk committing Windows-style line breaks and everything is kept in Unix-style. Don't worry, even though you are in Windows, most of the text editors can read Unix line breaks just fine.

After that one more Next, Finish, and Git is installed!

Creating a Local Repository

Let's test it. Create a folder, right-click, and choose Git Bash Here.

Before anything else, let's inform Git who you are so that your commits can be identified. Enter the commands, replace the quoted data with your real name and e-mail: (press Enter after each one).

      git config --global "Firstname Lastname"
git config --global "[email protected]"

Now let's initialize a Git repository on this folder:

      git init

See that (master) on the command line? It tells you the current branch you are in a Git repository. The master branch is the main branch on every Git repo.

Now let's add a new file and commit it. Look at the command sequence (press Enter after each one):

      touch test.txt
git add .
git commit -m "First commit"

First, we create an empty text file (you can create the file any way you like, not necessarily with the touch command). Then we add all new and modified files to the Git index (we tell Git which files we want to commit on the next commit). And finally we commit the changes with a message.

Sharing Your Code on GitHub

Cool! You have a Git repo in your machine but how about sharing your code on GitHub?

Initial Setup

If you don't have a GitHub account yet, go to and create one. It's free.

After you signup and login, let's add an SSH key so GitHub can link your account with this computer. That way it won't have to ask for your password on every commit.

On Git Bash enter the command:

      ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "[email protected]"

Use the same email you registered at GitHub.

On the next question, press Enter to choose the default value.

Now it will ask for a password. Enter a password (this is NOT your GitHub password). When it asks for a confirmation, enter the password again. Now enter the command:

      notepad ~/.ssh/

To open on Notepad the file that was created.

On GitHub, go to Settings and then SSH and GPG Keys. Click New SSH key. Enter a title to identify this computer and in the field Key paste all the contents of the file

Be careful to copy and paste all the contents of the file, beginning at "ssh-ras ..." up to your email (including it). Click Add SSH key.

Let's check if everything is ok. On Git Bash enter:

It will ask if you want to connect to a remote machine. Type yes and press Enter. Next, it will ask for a password. Enter the password you used on the ssh-keygen command.

If you see a message like:

      Hi user! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.

Then everything is correct!

Creating Your First Remote Repository

On GitHub, let's create a new repository (button New repository on your dashboard). Enter a name; it should not have spaces or special characters, as it will be part of the URL of your new repo. You can leave the rest of the options at their defaults.

You will be taken to the main page of your repository, that doesn't have any files yet.

On Git Bash (on the folder of your local repository) enter:

      git remote add origin [email protected]:user/repo_name.git

Note that user/repo_name must be entered the same way they appear in your repository URL, like:

Now, to send your files to GitHub, enter:

      git push origin master

Inform the password of the SSH key if it asks.

Reload the page of your repo on GitHub and you should see your committed files.


Even though Git originated on Linux (did you know that it was created by Linus Torvalds, the same guy who created Linux?), developers on all system can benefit from it. Git is an excellent SCM (source code management) system, widely adopted, and the open-source community on GitHub is vibrant! You can find code for pretty much anything you want, contribute with other developers and share your own solutions.