[git] destination path already exists and is not an empty directory

I cloned a git repository but accidentally messed up. So I re-cloned and the message showed up:

destination path already exists and is not an empty directory

I've tried deleting folders in my mac with the name of the destination path but it did not work.

I'm very new to coding so all help would be appreciated.

This question is related to git

The answer is

What works for me is that, I created a new folder that doesn't contain any other files, and selected that new folder I created and put the clone there.

I hope this helps

If you got Destination path XXX already exists means the name of the project repository which you are trying to clone is already there in that current directory. So please cross-check and delete any existing one and try to clone it again

This just means that the git clone copied the files down from github and placed them into a folder. If you try to do it again it will not let you because it can't clone into a folder that has files into it. So if you think the git clone did not complete properly, just delete the folder and do the git clone again. The clone creates a folder the same name as the git repo.

Make a new-directory and then use the git clone url

I got same issue while using cygwin to install nvm

In fact, the target directory where empty but the git binary used was the one from windows (and not git from cygwin git package).

After installing cygwin git package, the git clone from nvm install was ok!


This is pretty vague but I'll do what I can to help.

First, while it may seem daunting at first, I suggest you learn how to do things from the command line (called terminal on OSX). This is a great way to make sure you're putting things where you really want to.

You should definitely google 'unix commands' to learn more, but here are a few important commands to help in this situation:

ls - list all files and directories (folders) in current directory

cd <input directory here without these brackets> - change directory, or change the folder you're looking in

mkdir <input directory name without brackets> - Makes a new directory (be careful, you will have to cd into the directory after you make it)

rm -r <input directory name without brackets> - Removes a directory and everything inside it

git clone <link to repo without brackets> - Clones the repository into the directory you are currently browsing.


So, on my computer, I would run the following commands to create a directory (folder) called projects within my documents folder and clone a repo there.

  1. Open terminal
  2. cd documents (Not case sensitive on mac)
  3. mkdir projects
  4. cd projects
  5. git clone https://github.com/seanbecker15/wherecanifindit.git
  6. cd wherecanifindit (if I want to go into the directory)

p.s. wherecanifindit is just the name of my git repository, not a command!

Steps to get this error ;

  1. Clone a repo (for eg take name as xyz)in a folder
  2. Not try to clone again in the same folder . Even after deleting the folder manually this error will come since deleting folder doesn't delete git info .

Solution : rm -rf "name of repo folder which in out case is xyz" . So

rm -rf xyz

This error comes up when you try to clone a repository in a folder which still contains .git folder (Hidden folder).

If the earlier answers doesn't work then you can proceed with my answer. Hope it will solve your issue.

Open terminal & change the directory to the destination folder (where you want to clone).

Now type: ls -a

You may see a folder named .git.

You have to remove that folder by the following command: rm -rf .git

Now you are ready to clone your project.

An engineered way to solve this if you already have files you need to push to Github/Server:

  1. In Github/Server where your repo will live:

    • Create empty Git Repo (Save <YourPathAndRepoName>)
    • $git init --bare
  2. Local Computer (Just put in any folder):

    • $touch .gitignore
    • (Add files you want to ignore in text editor to .gitignore)
    • $git clone <YourPathAndRepoName>

    • (This will create an empty folder with your Repo Name from Github/Server)

    • (Legitimately copy and paste all your files from wherever and paste them into this empty Repo)

    • $git add . && git commit -m "First Commit"

    • $git push origin master