Getting started - idiots guide

Hi, I’m new to the Desktop version of GitHub.

I want to clone a directory from

so that it appears in a local directory which I’ll call


but I get a message theat Git can only copy into an empty directory.

Can somebody give me a start?

In the CLI I would type

git clone

then modify necessary files then

git add files
git commit -m “Message”
git push

What ius the equivalent on the Desktop version?


Hi @Douglas4669!

Welcome to the GitHub Support Forum!

It sounds like you have the concept correct. Does /Users/dougquinney/Desktop/calc already have files in it? If so, that’s going to be the problem. When you clone a Git repository via the command line interface, Git creates a directory for you to clone objects into. With GitHub Desktop, you have to choose the empty directory to clone into, I believe.

Yes, but I’ve tried creating an empty directory but get a similar message.

Shame using the CLI works a treat but the desktop version seems impenetrable!


@Douglas4669 can you try letting GitHub Desktop create the repository directory? Typing out the full PATH you want to clone the repository to in the Local Path text box should work.

Sorry, tried that. Simply says there are files in the directory and it needs to be empty! Tried copying into an empty directory but that fails too!

That’s strange – usually playing around with the directory selector gets things working. What happens if you try a path like /Users/<your_user>/GitHub/?