How to Install and Use Git on Windows

April 18, 2024


Git is a widely used open-source software tracking application that allows users to track projects across different teams and revision levels. It is available on most modern platforms. Since every developer uploads their code to the same remote repository, it does not matter which system they use to work on the code.

In this guide, you will learn to install Git on Windows and learn some of its basic functions.

How to install and configure Git on Windows - a tutorial.


  • A user account with administrator privileges.
  • Access to a command-line tool.
  • Your favorite coding text editor.
  • Username and password for the GitHub website (optional).

Note: For Linux and macOS installation guides, check out our articles on installing Git on UbuntuCentOS, and macOS.

How to Install Git on Windows

There are two ways to install Git on Windows:

  • Using the Git installer. The GUI installer wizard is available on the official Git website and allows you to configure the Git installation step-by-step.
  • Using Winget. A Linux-style CLI package manager for Windows that simplifies app installations but offers fewer configuration options as it assumes all default options.

Choose your preferred installation method based on how much control you want over the installation process and your preference for using the GUI or CLI.

Install Git on Windows via GUI

The GUI method involves downloading the Git installer wizard from the official website and configuring the installation in a traditional Windows step-by-step manner. This approach is useful if you want full control of the installation process and do not like using the CLI.

Note: During the installation, Git prompts you to select a text editor. If you don't have one, we strongly advise you to install it prior to installing Git. Our roundup of the best text editors for coding may help you decide.

Follow the steps below:

1. Navigate to the official Git downloads page and click the download link for the latest Git version for Windows:

Downloading the Git installer for Windows.

The link contains the latest 64-bit Git version for Windows. Alternatively, if you use a 32-bit system, download the 32-bit Git installer.

2. Double-click the downloaded file to extract and launch the installer.

3. Review the GNU General Public License, and when you are ready to install, click Next.

Accepting the GNU General Public License before installing Git on Windows.

4. The installer prompts you for an installation location. Leave the default one unless you want to change it, and click Next.

Select the installation destination for Git.

5. In the component selection screen, leave the defaults unless you need to change them and click Next.

Selecting the components for Git installation.

6. The installer offers to create a start menu folder. Click Next to accept and proceed to the next step.

Selecting the Git start menu folder.

7. Select a text editor you want to use with Git. Use the drop-down menu to select Notepad++ (or whichever text editor you prefer) and click Next.

If you prefer to use a CLI text editor in Git Bash, select nano or Vim from the list.

Choosing the default text editor for Git on Windows.

8. The next step allows you to choose a different name for your initial branch. The default is master. Unless you are working in a team that requires a different name, leave the default option and click Next.

Choosing the initial Git branch name during installation.

Note: If you are new to Git, check out our guides to Git branch name conventions and Git branching strategies.

9. The next step allows you to change the PATH environment. The PATH is the default set of directories included when you run a command from the command line. Keep the middle (recommended) selection and click Next.

Adjusting the PATH in Git for Windows.

10. The installer prompts you to select the SSH client for Git to use. Git already comes with its own SSH client, so if you don't need a specific one, leave the default option and click Next.

Choosing which SSH client to use for Git.

Note: Check out our comparison of SSH and HTTPS for Git and which one you should use.

11. The next option relates to server certificates. The default option is recommended for most users. If you work in an Active Directory environment, you may need to switch to Windows Store certificates. Select your preferred option and click Next.

Choosing the HTTPS transport backend for Git.

12. The following selection configures line-ending conversion, which relates to the way data is formatted. The default selection is recommended for Windows. Click Next to proceed.

Configuring the line-ending conversion in Git.

13. Choose the terminal emulator you want to use. The default MinTTY is recommended for its features. Click Next to continue.

Selecting which terminal emulator to use for Git.

14. The next step allows you to choose what the git pull command will do. The default option is recommended unless you specifically need to change its behavior. Click Next to continue with the installation.

Selecting the default behavior of git pull.

15. The next step is to choose which credential helper to use. Git uses credential helpers to fetch or save credentials. The default option is the most stable one. Select your preferred credential manager and click Next.

Selecting the credential manager for Git.

16. The next step lets you decide which extra options to enable. If you use symbolic links, which represent shortcuts for the command line, tick the box. Keep file system caching checked and click Next.

Configuring extra options during Git installation.

17. Depending on which Git version you are installing, it may offer to install experimental features. At the time this article was written, the installer offered options to include support for pseudo controls and a built-in file system monitor. For the most stable operation, do not install experimental features and click Install.

Configuring experimental options for Git.

18. Once the installation is complete, tick the boxes to view the Release Notes or launch Git Bash if you want to start using Git right away, and click Finish.

Completing Git installation on Windows.

Install Git on Windows via CMD

Installing Git on Windows using the command line requires a working Winget installation, an Internet connection for the program to download the necessary files, and access to the Command Prompt or PowerShell.

If you prefer using a package manager for installing and managing programs, follow the steps below:

1. Press the Windows key and type powershell. From the results, select the Run as administrator option for Windows PowerShell.

Opening Windows PowerShell.

2. In PowerShell, run the following command to install the latest Git version:

winget install --id Git.Git -e --source winget
Installing Git on Windows using winget.

The command downloads and installs Git for Windows. It assumes all the default settings and completes the installation automatically.

How to Launch Git in Windows

Git has two modes of use – a bash scripting shell (or command line) and a graphical user interface (GUI). This section shows how to launch Git after installation.

Launch Git Bash Shell

To launch Git Bash, open the Windows Start menu, type git bash, and press Enter (or click the application icon).

Launching Git Bash on Windows.

Launch Git GUI

To launch Git GUI, open the Windows Start menu, type git gui, and press Enter (or click the application icon).

Launching Git GUI on Windows.

Configuring Git on Windows

After installing Git, there are some options that you should configure to customize your Git environment. These configurations stick between upgrades, so they should be done only once after a fresh install. This section shows how to set up Git after installation.

Configure Identity

Your identity in Git is your username and email address which Git uses every time you create a commit. To set up your identity, open Git Bash and use the syntax below:

git config --global "[username]"

Replace [user_name] with the actual username you will use. If you have a GitHub account, you can use that username and email.

git config --global [email]

Replace [email] with the email you want to use.

Change Default Text Editor

The default text editor for Git is the same as your system's default editor unless you specify something different during the installation. You can change the text editor for Git after installation using the following syntax:

git config --global core.editor [path_to_editor_exe_file]

The path to the editor's executable file can differ based on how your editor is packaged and whether it is a 32-bit or 64-bit system. For example, to set Notepad++ as the default editor for Git, run the following command:

git config --global core.editor "'C:/Program Files/Notepad++/notepad++.exe' -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin"
  • -multiInst - This option tells Notepad++ to open files in a new instance rather than reusing an existing instance. It is useful if you want to edit multiple files simultaneously.
  • -notabbar - This option hides the tab bar in Notepad++, which is useful when working with a single file at a time.
  • -nosession - This option prevents Notepad++ from restoring the last session on startup. It opens Notepad++ with a clean slate without previously opened files.
  • -noPlugin - This option disables all plugins in Notepad++. It is useful if you want to minimize the startup time or if you prefer to work without plugins.

If you want to use a different editor, refer to the official configuration instructions and find the command for the editor you want to use.

Change Default Branch Name

The default branch in Git is master. However, some developers have started using main instead. If your organization wants to change the default branch name, you can do so using the syntax below:

git config --global init.defaultBranch [branch_name]

For example, to use main as the default branch name, run:

git config --global init.defaultBranch main

Git on Windows: Getting Started With Your First Repo

This section shows the basic steps for using Git on Windows - from checking your Git version to creating a test directory and making your first commit. Since we will be working with a remote repository, you will need a GitHub username and password.

How to Check Git Version

To check which Git version is installed on your system, open the PowerShell and run the following command:

git --version
Checking which version of Git is installed on Windows.

The output shows which Git version is installed on the system.

List All Git Commands

Git has a help file that lists the most commonly used Git commands. To see the help file, open Git Bash or Windows PowerShell and run the following command:

git help -a
Listing all the available Git commands in Windows.

The output contains the most common Git commands.

Create and Initialize Test Directory

Follow the steps below to create a new directory and initialize it as a Git repository:

1. Open Git Bash or a Windows PowerShell interface and use the syntax below to create a new test directory (folder):

mkdir [directory_name]

2. Change your location to the newly created directory with the cd command:

cd [directory_name]

3. Initialize the directory as Git repository by running:

git init
Initializing a Git repository on Windows.

Clone GitHub Repository

Follow the steps below to clone a repository from GitHub to your local Windows machine:

1. In a web browser, navigate to your repository on GitHub.

2. Click the Code button and select the HTTPS or SSH option, depending on how you want to secure your connection. For this tutorial, we will use HTTPS. Copy the URL for cloning the repository.

Note: To clone a repository using SSH, you must generate an SSH key pair on your Windows workstation and assign the public key to your GitHub account.

Copying the repository link on GitHub.

3. Open Git Bash or Windows PowerShell and use the syntax below to clone the repository:

git clone [repository_url]

Replace [repository_url] with the URL you copied on GitHub. For example:

Cloning a repository from GitHub to the local machine.

List Remote Repositories

After cloning, your working directory should have a copy of the repository from GitHub. It should contain a directory with the name of the project. Move to the directory with cd:

cd [repository_name]

Replace [repository_name] with the actual name of the repository you downloaded. If it is not working, list the contents of the current directory with the ls command. This is helpful if you don't know the exact name or need to check your spelling.

Once you are in the subdirectory, list the remote repositories with:

git remote -v
Listing remote Git repositories.

The output shows a list of remote repositories associated with your local repository and their corresponding URLs.

Push Local Files to Remote Repository

This section shows how to create a new file, add it to the tracking index, create a commit, and ultimately push the changes to the remote repository. Follow the steps below:

1. Open Git Bash and create a new file with the touch command:

touch text.txt

2. Add your new file to the tracking index:

git add text.txt

If you have created multiple files, you can track all files by running:

git add .

3. Run the following command to make sure the text.txt file has been added:

git status

4. Next, commit the changes using the syntax below:

git commit -m "[commit_message]"

The -m option allows you to specify a commit message within the commit command. If you omit the -m option, Git opens the default text editor in which you can write the commit message.

5. Finally, push the changes to the remote GitHub repository:

git push [remote_repository]

Replace [remote_repository] with the name of your remote repo. For example:

Pushing changes to a remote repository.

Depending on how you have chosen to authenticate with GitHub, you may need to enter your username and access token.

Note: If you are new to Git, read our tutorial on how Git works to learn more about Git workflow and Git functions.


You now have a working installation of Git on your Windows system. If you already have Git installed, you might want to know how to update Git. Use Git's features to coordinate work among programmers on a project.

Next, check out our Git commands cheat sheet or learn how to remove a Git remote from a repository.

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Bosko Marijan
Having worked as an educator and content writer, combined with his lifelong passion for all things high-tech, Bosko strives to simplify intricate concepts and make them user-friendly. That has led him to technical writing at PhoenixNAP, where he continues his mission of spreading knowledge.
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