Setting Git on external hard drive or USB flash in Windows

At home, I usually work on personal projects and I wanted an easy way to back up my data and put my code under source control. I decided to go with Git for this and use my 250Gb external hard drive for the remote repository (you can use a USB flash drive as well if you want).

So the first thing to do is download Git Extensions and install the software. I installed mine on the C drive in Windows 7 using the default settings.

The next thing was to let Git know where my local repo for my project is. So I browsed to the folder where my project was located (the directory which contains all the C# source files from Visual Studio) and right click. This gives you the option for “Git Init here” which when chosen creates .git directory marking this folder as your local working directory. Open your Git Extensions program and do a commit to get your codes under source control (locally).

Once that is done, you’ll need to create a remote repository on your external hard drive or USB stick. Just create a folder there eg H:\Git\MyProject and when you right click in the folder, you will be able to click on the “Git Bash” option which will open a command line tool. Type the following command in there:

git init –bare

This will create a bare repository in the current directory.

Go back to Git Extensions and do a push now. It will ask you where to push to and you just need to enter the location of the remote repo you’ve just created and voila, all done.


Although I was able to set up the local repo using Git Extensions, I was not able to do the same for the remote repo, hence I’ve used the command line in Git Bash.

The local repo contains all your source code (it’s a working copy after all) but the remote one has only git files. My local repo was 8Mb while the remote one was only 0.5Mb so I was worried it was not a proper backup of my data. However that was not the case – I tried to get another working copy from the remote repo just to make sure that if my computer crashed, I would still be able to get all my source codes from the external drive and that worked perfectly. Actually it’s better because the size of the remote repo backup was way less than the working copy.

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