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Several on-access virus scanners (e.g. Avira, AVG) have been [[http://mercurial.selenic.com/bts/issue1820|reported]] to cause problems on Windows because they lock files at random times while scanning, causing mercurial to abort when it tries to update or delete files locked by the scanner. This is especially true for files inside mercurial's internal data structures inside the .hg dir.
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=== How do I overwrite branch x with branch y? ===
hg update x
hg commit --close-branch -m 'closing branch x, will be overwriten with branch y'
hg update y
hg branch -f x
hg ci
The result is a closed head in branch x, and a new commit which has as parent branch y.
Don't try to just overwrite files in branch x with files in branch y because it will screw up future merges. This seems the correct way to do it.

Windows: The installer aborts with an error message

"This installation package is not supported by this processor type. Contact your product vendor." This means you are trying to install a 64-bit version installer on a normal 32-bit operating system. You need to download and use the correct msi file for your OS. For normal 32-bit OS, make sure the msi file does not have an x64 in it.

Which revision have I checked out?

Use the parent command (TutorialClone shows an example call).

What can I configure in Mercurial

See in MercurialIni.

Configuring the username

If hg says No username found, using 'user@hostname instead' when you make a commit, then you need to configure your username. Please see QuickStart for help on this.

My repository is corrupted, help!

Please read the page "Dealing With Repository And Dirstate Corruption" for recommendations on what to do.

I get an error while cloning a remote repository via ssh

If your remote repository is cloned thusly

  hg clone ssh://USER@REMOTE/path/to/repo

And, you find that after successful ssh authentication you get the error message remote: abort: repository path/to/repo not found! , then you need to know the following:

  • Mercurial's remote repository syntax differs from syntax of other well known programs such as rsync, cvs - both of which use a : character to delimit USER@REMOTE from the path component (/path/to/repo).

  • The path to the remote repository is relative to $HOME of USER. i.e., it is  ~USER/path/to/repo .

  • Remember to use hg -v clone ssh://USER@REMOTE/path/to/repo and observe the remote command being executed via the ssh channel

On the other hand, if the error message is remote: bash: line 1: hg: command not found, the problem is that the environment used by ssh does not have hg in its PATH. There are two ways to deal with this problem:

  • In your ~/.hgrc file, set a remotecmd value in the [ui] section giving the exact path to hg.

  • On the server, create a ~/.ssh/environment file that defines an appropriate PATH, and add PermitUserEnvironment yes to /etc/sshd_config.

I get an "ssl required" error message when trying to push changes

That's because allowing anonymous, unauthenticated HTTP clients to push changes into your repository would be a huge security hole. If you are on a private network and you know that all HTTP clients are trustworthy, you can add

push_ssl = false

to .hg/hgrc on the server-side repository. (See also HgWebDirStepByStep.)

There's a reason for requiring SSL, however. If you do not trust the network you are using do not change this.

I did an hg pull and my working directory is empty!

There are two parts to Mercurial: the repository and the working directory. hg pull pulls all new changes from a remote repository into the local one but doesn't alter the working directory.

This keeps you from upsetting your work in progress, which may not be ready to merge with the new changes you've pulled and also allows you to manage merging more easily (see below about best practices).

To update your working directory, run hg update. If you're sure you want to update your working directory on a pull, you can also use hg pull -u. This will refuse to merge or overwrite local changes.

I want to retrieve an old version of my project, what do I do?

You want hg update -C <version>, which will clobber your current version with the requested version.

You don't want hg revert <version>, which reverts changes in your working directory back to that version, but keeps the current parents for the next checkin. This command exists for undoing changes in current versions, not for working on old versions.

hg status shows changed files but hg diff doesn't!

hg status reports when file contents or flags have changed relative to either parent. hg diff only reports changed contents relative to the first parent. You can see flag information with the --git option to hg diff and deltas relative to the other parent with -r.

hg export or log -p shows a strange diff for my merge!

The diff shown by hg diff, hg export and hg log is always against the first parent for consistency. Also, the files listed are only the files that have changed relative to both parents.

(Are diffs of merges really always against the first parent? Doesn't hg export have a --switch-parent option? It would also be good if the docs would give the rationale for hg diff and hg log not having that option (assuming they don't--the man page only mentions it for export).)

I did an hg revert and my working directory still has changes in it!

You've probably done an hg merge (see Merge), which means your working directory now has two parents according to hg parents. A subsequent hg revert --all -r . will revert all files in the working directory back to the first (primary) parent, but it will still leave you with two parents (see Revert).

To completely undo the uncommitted merge and discard all local modifications, you will need to issue a hg update -C -r . (note the "dot" at the end of the command).

See also TutorialMerge.

I want a clean, empty working directory

The easiest thing to do is run hg clone -U which will create a fresh clone without checking out a working copy.

If the repository already has a working copy, you can remove it running hg update null.

Note: you might want to copy hgrc file from your old repository.

I committed a change containing nuclear launch codes, how do I delete it permanently?

If you've just committed it, and you haven't done any other commits or pulls since, you may be able to use rollback (see Rollback) to undo the last commit transaction:

$ hg rollback
rolling back last transaction

If you've made other changes but you haven't yet published it to the world, you can do something like the following:

$ hg clone -r <untainted-revision> tainted-repo untainted-repo

The strip command in the mq extension may also be useful here for doing operations in place.

This will get you a new repo without the tainted change or the ones that follow it. You can import the further changes with hg export and hg import or by using the TransplantExtension. See TrimmingHistory for possible future approaches.

If you've already pushed your changes to a public repository that people have cloned from, the genie is out of the bottle. Good luck cleaning up your mess.

“Judge Tries to Unring Bell Hanging Around Neck of Horse Already Out of Barn Being Carried on Ship That Has Sailed.” - William G. Childs

For more details, see EditingHistory.

I committed a large binary file/files how do I delete them permanently?

If you want to remove file(s) that shouldn't have been added, use the ConvertExtension with --filemap option to "convert" your Mercurial repository to another Mercurial repository. You'll want to make sure that you set convert.hg.saverev=False if you want to keep in common the history prior to your removed file(s). If convert.hg.saverev=True, the conversion embeds the source revision IDs into the new revisions under an extra header, visible if via hg log --debug.

See also the previous question for other options.

I tried to check in an empty directory and it failed!

Mercurial doesn't track directories, it only tracks files. Which works for just about everything, except directories with no files in them. As empty directories aren't terribly useful and it makes the system much simpler, we don't intend to fix this any time soon. A couple workarounds:

  • add a file, like "this-dir-intentionally-left-blank" (there is also a tool MarkEmptyDirs which allows to automate this task).

  • create the directory with your Makefiles or other build processes

I want to get an email when a commit happens!

Use the NotifyExtension

I'd like to put only some few files of a large directory tree (home dir for instance) under Mercurial's control, and it is taking forever to diff or commit

Just do a

printf "syntax: glob\n*\n" > .hgignore

or, if you are using 0.7 or below,

printf ".*\n" > .hgignore

This will make hg ignore all files except those explicitly added.

Why is the modification time of files not restored on checkout?

If you use automatic build tools like make or distutils, some built files might not be updated if you checkout an older revision of a file. Additionally a newer changeset might have an older commit timestamp due to pulling from someone else or importing patches somebody has done some time ago, so checking out a newer changeset would have to make the files older in this case.

If you need predictable timestamps you can use hg archive, which can do something like a checkout in a separate directory. Because this directory is newly created, there is nothing like switching to a different changeset afterwards, therefore the above mentioned problems don't apply here.

When I do 'hg push' to a remote repository, why does the working directory appear to be empty?

When changes are pushed to a repository, the working directory holding the repository is not changed. However, the changes are stored in the history and are available when performing operations on that repository. Thus, running commands like hg log in such a remote repository will show the full history even if a normal directory listing appears to be empty. (Repository publishing using hgweb also takes advantage of such history being available without needing a set of files in a working directory somewhere.)

Obviously, you can run hg update to make the files appear in such a repository, but unless you actually want to work within such a directory, it is arguably tidier to leave the directory in its "empty" state. This can be done by issuing an hg update null command in the directory holding the repository.

Any way to 'hg push' and have an automatic 'hg update' on the remote server?

changegroup = hg update >&2

This goes in .hg/hgrc on the remote repository. Output has to be redirected to stderr (or /dev/null), because stdout is used for the data stream.

How can I store my HTTP login once and for all ?

You can specify the usename and password in the URL like:


Then add a new entry in the paths section of your hgrc file. With Mercurial 1.3 you can also add an auth section to your hgrc file:

example.prefix = https://hg.example.net/
example.username = foo
example.password = bar

Please see the hgrc manpage for more information.

How can I do a "hg log" of a remote repository?

You can't. Mercurial accepts only local repositories for the -R option (see hg help -v log).

> hg log -R http://www.selenic.com/repo/hello
abort: repository 'http://www.selenic.com/repo/hello' is not local

The correct way to do this is cloning the remote repository to your computer and then doing a hg log locally.

This is a very deliberate explicit design decision made by project leader Matt Mackall (mpm). See also http://www.selenic.com/mercurial/bts/issue1025 for the reasoning behind that.

How can I find out if there are new changesets in a remote repository?

To get the changeset id of the tipmost changeset of a remote repository you can do:

> hg id -i -r tip http://www.selenic.com/repo/hello

When it changes, you have new changesets in the remote repository.

What can I do with a head I don't want anymore?

See PruningDeadBranches

The clone command is returning the wrong version in my workspace!

Clone checks out the tip of the default (aka unnamed) branch (see NamedBranches). Ergo, you probably want to keep your main branch unnamed.

Any way to track ownership and permissions?

If you're using Mercurial for config file management, you might want to track file properties (ownership and permissions) too. Mercurial only tracks the executable bit of each file.

Here is an example of how to save the properties along with the files (works on Linux if you've the acl package installed):

# cd /etc && getfacl -R . >/tmp/acl.$$ && mv /tmp/acl.$$ .acl
# hg commit

This is far from perfect, but you get the idea. For a more sophisticated solution, check out etckeeper.

I get a "no space left" or "disk quota exceeded" on push

I get a "no space left" or "disk quota exceeded" on push, but there is plenty of space or/and I have no quota limit on the device where the remote hg repository is.

The problem comes probably from the fact that mercurial uses /tmp (or one of the directory define by environment variables $TMPDIR, $TEMP or $TMP) to uncompress the bundle received on the wire. The decompression may then reach device limits.

You can of course set $TMPDIR to another location on remote in the default shell configuration file, but it will be potentially used by other processes than mercurial. Another solution is to set a hook in a global .hgrc on remote. See the description of how to set a hook for changing tmp directory on remote when pushing.

Why do I get "abort: could not import module mpatch!" when invoking hg?

If your current directory is that of the Mercurial source distribution, it is possible that hg is looking in the local mercurial package directory and fails to find the mpatch.so extension module. The solution (for most situations) is to move out of the source distribution directory and to try again. This is a common Python pitfall: Python will often be confused by packages or modules in the current directory and will import packages/modules from these local locations instead of looking in the appropriate places. If you are trying to use hg on a checkout of the Mercurial software itself, you might want to check any PYTHONPATH environment variable that you may have set and remove "empty" paths. For example, at a shell ($) prompt:


Here, the trailing comma (:) indicates that there is an empty final path in the list. This empty path is likely to become mapped to the current directory, and Python will then prefer to look at the current directory instead of its own package directories (containing your installed version of Mercurial). If you reset PYTHONPATH trimming off any such empty paths, the problem should go away:

$ export PYTHONPATH=/home/me/lib:/home/me/morelib

Why do I get a traceback and ImportError when invoking hg?

See the response to the previous question for a possible explanation and some solutions.

Why do I get "abort: requirement 'fncache' not supported!" when invoking hg?

In version 1.1 of a new repository format was introduced to work around file name limitations on Windows. Repositories created with Mercurial 1.1 or later will automatically have enabled the fncache repository format. You need Mercurial 1.1 or later to read these repositories. Repositories created with pre 1.1 Mercurial or with fncache disabled can still be read. See the page about the fncache repository format for more information.

Why won't Mercurial let me merge because I have uncommitted changes?

If Mercurial complains when attempting to merge with the message abort: outstanding uncommitted changes, it means that the usual process of merging in changes cannot proceed. Let us consider what would happen if the working directory were "clean" - that is, there are no uncommitted changes and hg diff produces no output: Mercurial would attempt to combine the revision being merged with the revision represented by the working directory, leaving modified files (potentially with conflicts) in their appropriate locations in the working directory, with the modifications originating only from the merge process.

Now consider what might happen if the working directory already contained modified files - that is, hg diff produces output. Mercurial would first have to decide whether the merge is really to involve the actual files in the current directory or the "pristine" files recorded in the repository history: with the former, it would have to make a backup of modified files just in case the merge is subsequently discarded, and the merge operation would mix up local changes with changes introduced by the merge itself; with the latter, although the modified files could be "shelved", the user would then need to work through a merge with potentially older versions of files than those they had been editing, and for Mercurial to restore these modified files afterwards to preserve a somewhat consistent view of the working directory, a non-trivial operation like a merge might then be required to combine the local changes in such files with the result of the original merge operation.

In short, Mercurial is trying to keep one operation separate from another (local changes versus the merge) whilst avoiding putting the working directory into some kind of special state (suspending local changes until they can be combined with the current revision).

How do I overwrite branch x with branch y?

hg update x
hg commit --close-branch -m 'closing branch x, will be overwriten with branch y'
hg update y
hg branch -f x
hg ci

The result is a closed head in branch x, and a new commit which has as parent branch y. Don't try to just overwrite files in branch x with files in branch y because it will screw up future merges. This seems the correct way to do it.

FAQ/CommonProblems (last edited 2018-02-22 02:01:15 by JohnHein)