In case you are a developer using Git for version control, you likely have encountered the “you need to resolve your current index first” error message at least once. Most likely you’ll encounter this error when you try to perform Git operations, such as pull, merge or checkout, and Git is not able to complete the operation, usually because of any conflicts you may have in code.
To debugging this situation, here are a few steps you can take in order to find out what the issue is:
Commit your changes
You need to make sure that all your changes are committed before running a merge or a checkout. In general, this is a good Git practice in order to avoid conflicts. To do this, all you have to do is stage all changes with ‘git add.’ and commit with ‘git commit -m ‘commit message’’.
Cancel the merge and then return to the previous state
When encountering “you need to resolve your current index first” during a merge, you can abort that particular merge with ‘git reset –merge’ command or you can reset all the changes back to your last commit with ‘git reset –hard HEAD’. Since you cannot revert this operation, be VERY careful when using it.
Resolve the existing conflicts and commit
Provided there are code merges that Git couldn’t automatically resolve, you will have to manually fix those conflicts. You open the files with conflicts, make the necessary changes and save the files and then you commit all the changes with the command ‘git commit -a -m ‘commit message’’.
Use the -f option for git-checkout
If the error occurs during a git-checkout, you can use the -f option in order to force a checkout.
The potential downside of this approach is data loss and should be used only in a case when the changes in a current branch are throwaway.
For example, this option could be used when you move from a test branch back to master. In order to force a branch change, use the command ‘git checkout -f TARGET’.
If you follow the above steps, you should be able to fix the “you need to resolve your current index first” error. And remember, it’s important to frequently commit your changes and check for conflicts to prevent this error from occurring in the first place.