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Installing Git on Windows: a Step-by-Step Guide

Installing Git on Windows: a Step-by-Step Guide
15.02.2024
Reading time: 7 min
Hostman Team
Technical writer

Git is a version control system that allows you to monitor file changes and manage the history of those changes. This software tool is used for software quality control and code security. Git also allows multiple people to work together on the same project simultaneously, keeping each participant's change history. 

Installing Git in Windows takes place in a standalone installer rather than in the console, which is convenient and easy for the user. It will cover basic configuration, component selection, and all other installation steps.

On Windows, Git provides the user with a set of tools and applications to manage file versions. Below are some of the tools and features that you will be able to use once the software installation is complete:

  • Git Bash is a Windows command line that allows you to execute Git commands. In addition to these, it contains all the standard Bash commands.

  • Git GUI allows you to perform all basic Git operations without using the command line. It will be handy for novice users.

  • Shell Integration is a feature that allows you to integrate Git with the Windows shell. This means that you can execute Git commands directly from the shell without having to open a separate program. To do this, you will need to right-click on a folder on your system and then select Git Bash or Git GUI to proceed.

In this guide, we will describe how to install Git on Windows, explain each step in detail in the standalone installer, and perform the initial configuration of the version control system, after which you can get straight to work.

Prerequisites

  • Windows operating system (Windows 7 or higher). We will be installing Git on Windows 11.

  • Administrator rights on your operating system.

  • Internet access to download the installer.

Installing Git on Windows

Step 1: First of all, go to the official website and click on the "Downloads for Windows" section. You will see several installation methods:

  • Installing the latest supported build;

  • Standalone installer for different system bit sizes;

  • Portable version for a flash drive;

  • Installing from source.

In this guide, we will use the first option.

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Once you have downloaded the file, run it and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: The installer will show the general public license for the software. You don't need to do anything here; just click the "Next" button.

Step 3. Select the directory you want to install Git to. To do this, click on the "Browse..." button and specify the path.

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At the time of writing, the current Git version requires 320.9 Mb of disk space.

Step 4: In the next window, select the components to install on your device. For example, you can select Git Bash to install on Windows. 

If you need additional components beyond the default ones (such as automatic update checking), check the box next to them. We will leave only the ones that the installer suggests, except for the last one, Scalar.

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Step 5. After selecting the components, the installer prompts you to create shortcuts for the software in the Start MenuTo skip this optional step, check the box next to "Don't create a Start Menu folder".

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Otherwise, the installer will create a shortcut directory.

Step 6: In the next window, select your preferred text editor to use by default. There are several options:

  • Vim (recommended by the installer);

  • Notepad / Notepad ++;

  • Nano;

  • VSC / VSC Insiders;

  • Sublime Text;

  • Atom;

  • VSCodium;

  • Wordpad.

The Vim editor, which the system recommends, can be difficult for novice users due to its user interface and operation peculiarities. We suggest a simpler alternative, which is the Nano console editor.

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Once you select the editor, click the "Next" button and proceed to the next step.

Step 7: Next, you need to specify the name of the initial branch in the new repositories. At the time of writing, the system offers the name "master". You can select the option offered by the system or specify your own. We will choose the former.

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Step 8: The next step is to configure how to use Git. 

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There are three options to choose from:

  • Interact with Git exclusively in the Git Bash terminal. We recommend this option for those who want to use only the standard features of the system and do not need third-party tools;

  • Interacting with Git from the command line, as well as from third-party software. Third-party tools can include GUIs such as TortoiseGit or SourceTree, as well as other tools that can make working with Git easier;

  • Interacting with Git in the terminal, but using Unix commands. Choose this option only if you understand exactly what it means.

The first option does not change the PATH variable, the second makes minor modifications, and the third completely overwrites it.

We choose the default option offered by the system and click the "Next" button.

Step 9: Next, we need to choose an SSH client from the two options offered. This will either be the built-in OpenSSH or an external one. By default, Git uses the built-in SSH client called ssh.exe. If you want to use the external one, you will have to install it separately.

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 We will choose the first option.

Step 10. The next step is to select the SSL/TLS library that Git will use for HTTPS connections. By default, the installer prompts us to select the OpenSSL library. This option is fine for regular users. But if you work in a company that uses its own certificates, choose the second one.

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We select the first option and click the "Next" button.

Step 11. The installer prompts you to configure the conversion of line endings in text files. It can be of two types: LF for UNIX systems, and CRLF for Windows. In the suggested conversion options, checkout is an operation in Git that allows you to select a particular branch or a commit to work on, and commit is an operation to save changes to the repository.

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We choose the first option where checkout is done in Windows style and commit is done in UNIX style.

Step 12. Next, select the terminal emulator for Git Bash. The best option is MinTTY, which is offered by default. Select it and proceed to the next step.

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Step 13. Now, choose the behavior for the git pull command. We recommend using the "Only ever fast-forward" option as it is the standard command behavior and helps to avoid any unexpected merges.

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Step 14. One of the final steps is to select a credentials assistant. Git Credential Manager stores passwords and other personal information for connecting to remote repositories. To avoid entering them all the time, select it and click the "Next" button.

Step 15: During the penultimate step, configure additional settings. Here, you can enable file system caching and symbolic links. We recommend leaving these settings as is, so that only the first parameter is checked.

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Step 16. Finally, before starting the Git installation on Windows, you can enable the experimental options. We do not recommend doing this as they are not stable yet. 

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Leave everything unchanged and click the "Install" button.

After the above steps are complete, Git will be installed on your system. Before you start using it, you need to perform the initial Git setup. 

Initial Git setup

In order to get started with Git, you will need to do some initial configuration. It consists of running two commands that set the user's name and email.

Open the installed Git Bash application and type the following into the console, specifying your name:

git config --global user.name "Mary Duncan"

Then link the email address to the user, entering your own email: 

git config --global user.email "maryduncan@hostman.com"

With these settings done, Git is ready to go. Now you can create your repository and make your first commit.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we have gone over installing Git on Windows 11. We have covered each step of the installer in detail, including selecting additional components, SSH client, SSL/TLS library, and other options. 

By following these instructions, you can easily install and configure Git on your computer.

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