How to have Github Desktop work with a git repo?

This is a (fake) URL of a git repo: I used command

git clone to make a copy on a Linux machine. Since I am a Windows user who hate typing commands, I used an SSH client software to copy the repo from Linux to Windows. Now I can open files in the repo and everything seems perfect.

But I soon realized that files in the remote git repo are subject to constant change, so I have to update the local Windows repo to make sure the file I open is the most up-to-date. An awkward method is updating in Linux first using commands like git check master or git merge master, then copy the updated repo from Linux to Windows again. But only a small number of files are updated so it is very inefficient to copy the whole repo each time. Github Desktop occurs to me because I think git and Github are essentially the same thing. It would be nice if I can update the local Windows repo using only a few mouse clicks in Github Desktop. So my first question is: is it possible at all to have Github Desktop work with a regular git repo? I checked the menus of Github Desktop but didn’t find any that looks like what I want. Also I tried to clone the git repo to Windows as follows:


But I got an error:


I only need to read the remote git repo so I believe this is a fake error. Here is my second question: if Github Desktop works with a remote git repo, what do I do to have Github Desktop update my local Windows repo? Thanks.

@zhou-heng GitHub Desktop does support working with local SSH repositories. You likely need to force GitHub Desktop to use OpenSSH instead of GitHub Desktop’s internal SSH that is bundled with the embedded Git that ships with the application. You can run the following command to set that in your .gitconfig:

git config --global core.sshCommand "'C:\Windows\System32\OpenSSH\ssh.exe'"

You can view this issue in the Desktop issue tracker for more information about this.

If that does not get things working for you it would be helpful if you could upload the entire log file from GitHub Desktop so that I can verify the errors you are encountering. To access the log files go to the file menu in GitHub Desktop and select Help > Show Logs in Finder (macOS) or Explorer (Windows). The log files are created daily – please send over a log file as an attachment from a day where you experienced the issue.


Thank you for the instruction of bypassing the built-in ssh. This partially solved the problem because there is no “Authetication failed” error now. But the new problem is that Github Desktop freezes at cloning the repo (see the following screenshot. It has been cloning for hours without reporting any error but the local repo directory is empty except for the .git folder).

The repo is not so big (~7MB) and my internet connection is pretty fast, so I believe something went wrong. I checked the log and see a famous error code 404. The repo is hidden inside my university but I have already turned on the VPN so the networking settings are the same as when I copied the repo from my university’s Linux cluster node to my home Windows. I don’t know what else are preventing me from accessing the repo. The instructor is famous (or notorious) for being hostile against Windows, so I don’t expect getting any help from him. Attached below is the log file and .git\config (fine, I disclosed my orgnization). Thank you in advance for checking them and figuring out where the problem is.

2019-01-17T03:26:39.328Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] loading 0 repositories from store
2019-01-17T03:26:39.329Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] found account: Zhou-Heng (Zhou-Heng)
2019-01-17T03:26:40.242Z - info: [ui] launching: 1.5.1 (Windows 10.0.17134)
2019-01-17T03:26:40.242Z - info: [ui] execPath: ‘C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\GitHubDesktop\app-1.5.1\GitHubDesktop.exe’
2019-01-17T03:26:41.229Z - info: [ui] Executing installGlobalLFSFilter: git lfs install --skip-repo (took 1.760s)
2019-01-17T03:34:58.845Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:34:59.009Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:34:59.011Z - info: [ui] [AppStore.getAccountForRemoteURL] no generic credentials found for ‘git clone’
2019-01-17T03:38:32.762Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] loading 0 repositories from store
2019-01-17T03:38:32.763Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] found account: Zhou-Heng (Zhou-Heng)
2019-01-17T03:38:32.974Z - info: [ui] launching: 1.5.1 (Windows 10.0.17134)
2019-01-17T03:38:32.974Z - info: [ui] execPath: ‘C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\GitHubDesktop\app-1.5.1\GitHubDesktop.exe’
2019-01-17T03:39:49.278Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:39:49.358Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:39:49.360Z - info: [ui] [AppStore.getAccountForRemoteURL] no generic credentials found for ‘git clone’
2019-01-17T03:47:32.234Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] loading 0 repositories from store
2019-01-17T03:47:32.235Z - info: [ui] [AppStore] found account: Zhou-Heng (Zhou-Heng)
2019-01-17T03:47:32.427Z - info: [ui] launching: 1.5.1 (Windows 10.0.17134)
2019-01-17T03:47:32.427Z - info: [ui] execPath: ‘C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\GitHubDesktop\app-1.5.1\GitHubDesktop.exe’
2019-01-17T03:48:38.949Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:48:39.136Z - warn: [ui] fetchRepository: ‘git clone’ returned a 404
2019-01-17T03:48:39.144Z - info: [ui] [AppStore.getAccountForRemoteURL] no generic credentials found for ‘git clone’

    repositoryformatversion = 0
    filemode = false
    bare = false
    logallrefupdates = true
    symlinks = false
    ignorecase = true
    active = .
[remote “origin”]
    url = git clone

Is there any update to my follow-up three weeks ago?

Hi @zhou-heng,

Welcome to the GitHub Community forum!

Did you try using gitkraken? It’s powerful like github desktop but works in all of git repositories.

Hope this helps :slightly_smiling_face:  


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Never heard of it. But I have installed one and fumbled about using it. Thank you.

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