Resolving ‘lfs is not a git command’ Errors in Git

If you’ve ever tried using Git LFS (Large File Storage) only to see the vague ‘lfs is not a git command’ error message, tracking large assets in your repositories seemed like a lost cause.

But armed with the right troubleshooting techniques, this misleading error can be easily diagnosed and resolved. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll get to the bottom of ‘lfs is not a git command’ errors by exploring the inner workings of Git LFS, installation issues, configuration problems, and compatibility gotchas across different systems.

Follow along to master Git LFS, resolve the command not found error, and seamlessly track large files in your Git repo. Let’s fix ‘lfs is not a git command’ once and for all!


Understanding Git LFS Basics

Git LFS is an extension that works alongside Git itself to manage large files like videos, audio, graphics, and more. It replaces large assets in your repo with tiny pointer files, while storing the full assets on a remote LFS server.

This avoids bloating your Git history with multiple copies of unchanging binary files. To use Git LFS commands like ‘git lfs track’, you first need to install and configure Git LFS properly. Failing to do this leads to the infamous ‘lfs is not a git command’ error.

Let’s walk through LFS setup step-by-step to identify potential missteps.

Step 1: Install Git LFS On Your System

Obviously, Git LFS needs to be installed locally before its subcommands like ‘git lfs track’ can work.

Follow the Git LFS installation guide for your operating system:


curl -s | sudo bash
sudo apt-get install git-lfs


curl -s | sudo bash
sudo yum install git-lfs


brew install git-lfs


Download and run the Git LFS installer.

With Git LFS installed, git lfs commands should be available. If not, there are still a few more steps.

Step 2: Initialize Git LFS In Your Repository

After installing the Git LFS package, you still need to initialize LFS for each Git repository you want to track large files in.

In your repo, run:

git lfs install

This sets up the internal LFS configuration and hooks needed to track files.

If you skip this step, ‘git lfs’ commands produce errors as LFS is not activated.

Step 3: Configure LFS Authentication

To connect your local LFS repo to the remote storage server, authentication needs to be configured:


git config lfs. basic
git config lfs. <username>


git config basic
git config <personal access token> 

Set your remote and login details to integrate with hosted LFS servers like GitHub’s.

Step 4: Track Files via git lfs track

Once configured, specify files to manage with git lfs:

git lfs track "*.mp4"

This queues up .mp4 files to commit via LFS. Omitting this tracking step means git lfs push and pull will fail.

Step 5: Commit and Push to Remote

Finally, commit and push tracked LFS files to your remote Git host:

git add .
git commit -m "Add video file"
git push origin main

With proper setup, this will upload via LFS rather than directly to Git!

Advanced Troubleshooting for ‘lfs not a git command’

If you’ve installed Git LFS, but customized your Git installation or use multiple versions, LFS may not integrate properly with your Git executable leading to errors.

Here are some additional troubleshooting steps for ‘lfs not a git command’ errors:

Ensure Git LFS is in your PATH

Check your PATH includes the Git LFS executable folder, usually:


If missing, add it to your PATH as needed.

Set LFS Install Location Manually

If Git LFS was installed to a non-standard location not in PATH, set the install path explicitly:

git config --global core.gitlfspath /custom/path/to/git-lfs

Upgrade Git and Git LFS Versions

Dueling or old Git and Git LFS versions can cause compatibility issues.

Upgrade both Git and Git LFS to their latest versions.

Uninstall and Reinstall Git + Git LFS

As a last resort, fully removing Git + Git LFS then reinstalling fresh copies can resolve lingering issues.

Key Takeaways for Fixing ‘lfs not a git command’

To recap, the main solutions to resolve ‘lfs is not a git command’:

  • Install Git LFS on your operating system
  • Initialize LFS per repository with ‘git lfs install’
  • Configure LFS authentication to remote storage
  • Track specific files to manage with ‘git lfs track’
  • Commit and push LFS files to remote
  • Ensure PATH includes Git LFS location
  • Set custom LFS path with core.gitlfspath
  • Upgrade to latest Git + Git LFS versions
  • Reinstall Git and Git LFS if needed

Following this troubleshooting flow will help identify where ‘lfs’ is failing and get Git LFS integrated properly so you can finally manage large files with ease!


While the ‘lfs is not a git command’ error message is opaque, methodically walking through installation, configuration, setup, PATH issues, and versions reveals what causes Git LFS problems.

Properly installing, initializing, and integrating Git LFS ensures ‘lfs’ commands execute as expected. With Git and Git LFS working in harmony, you can stop battles with binary files and seamlessly track any assets directly in Git.

So next time you see the cryptic ‘lfs is not a git command’, consult this guide to smoothly resolve Git LFS errors. You’ll be managing large files and repositories like a pro!

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