Error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128

Ever found yourself in the middle of a late-night coding session, a towering pile of discarded coffee cups on your desk, fingers flying over the keys, and everything’s going swimmingly? You’re immersed, in the zone, feeling like the coding version of Mozart. That is until you’re greeted by that all too familiar yet dreaded message on your terminal screen – “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128”. It’s like the blue screen of death for developers, an unexpected hiccup that jolts you out of your rhythmic dance with the code.

For most of us, this is where panic sets in. Questions swirl in your already caffeine-loaded brain. What does this mean? Why now? Is my code safe? It feels like your code, your masterpiece, just abruptly hung up on you and won’t pick up the phone. But take a deep breath, refill your coffee cup (maybe switch to decaf), and hold your horses. You are not the first to encounter this, and certainly not the last. There’s a roadmap through this murky territory, a path that has been tread upon by countless warriors of code before you. Don’t fret – it’s all part of the process, the adventure of software development. So, gear up and get ready, because here’s the playbook you need. It’s time to delve into the steps you can take to tackle this problem and come out victorious.

Error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128

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Fix: Error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128

1. Correcting Inadequate Permissions

Let’s kick things off with user permissions. If you lack the required permissions to access or modify the repository, it’s like trying to open a locked door with the wrong key. To correct this, you need to adjust the permissions of the repository. On Unix-based systems like Linux and macOS, you can use the chmod and chown commands to modify file and directory permissions and ownership respectively.

Step 1: Check Current Permissions

Use the ls -l command in the terminal to display the current permissions. Pay close attention to the set of characters on the left. They represent the permissions for the user (owner), group, and others.

Step 2: Adjust Permissions as Necessary

If you see that the permissions are incorrect, use the chmod command to adjust them. For instance, chmod 755 filename will set read, write, and execute permissions for the user and read and execute permissions for the group and others.

Step 3: Adjust Ownership if Required

If the repository’s ownership is incorrect, use the chown command to change it. The format is chown user:group filename. Always double-check your actions when modifying permissions and ownership to avoid unnecessary security risks.

2. Rectifying Repository Issues

If your repository is in a bad state, you could face the error in question. Like a well-oiled machine, your repository needs to function smoothly. Any hiccups can cause issues like “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128”.

Step 1: Verify Repository’s Integrity

Git provides a handy tool for this purpose – git fsck. This command checks the integrity of your repository and highlights any corruptions or discrepancies.

Step 2: Fix Any Identified Issues

If git fsck flags any issues, use commands like git reflog and git reset to revert your repository to a safe state. Always backup your work before making any drastic changes.

Step 3: Regularly Maintain Your Repository

Regular maintenance is key. Ensure you regularly pull the latest changes, resolve any conflicts, and keep your repository clean and organized.

3. Managing Network Troubles

Network issues can also lead to VCS errors. Just as a busy highway can slow down your commute, network issues can obstruct VCS operations.

Step 1: Check Your Internet Connection

The first port of call should always be your internet connection. Use a tool like ping to verify your connection to the remote repository host.

Step 2: Check Firewall and VPN Settings

Ensure your firewall or VPN isn’t blocking your VCS operations. You might need to adjust your settings to allow your VCS to communicate with remote repositories.

Step 3: Test Your VCS Operations

Once you’ve verified and corrected your network settings, test your VCS operations. If the problem persists, you may need to dive deeper or seek additional help.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help when you’re stuck. Often, a fresh set of eyes can spot something you might have missed. The important thing is to stay patient and keep exploring!

4. Unraveling Git Specific Issues

Even after troubleshooting permissions, repository integrity, and network troubles, the annoying “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128” may persist. This time, we might need to investigate Git specific issues.

Step 1: Check Git Configurations

Often, the problem lies in Git’s configuration files. Inspect .gitconfig files at system, global, and local levels. Look out for incorrect syntax, invalid values, or any setting that might disrupt operations. Use the command git config –list –show-origin to examine all configurations at once.

Step 2: Verify Remote Repository Connection

Sometimes, the issue could be with the Git remote repository. Make sure you can connect to it and have the right access permissions. You can check this using git remote -v and ssh -T [email protected] (for GitHub) or corresponding commands for your specific remote repository.

Step 3: Re-Clone the Repository

When all else fails, re-cloning the repository can help. Ensure to backup your changes, delete the problematic repository, and clone it afresh using git clone repository_url.

5. Implementing Debugging Tools Effectively

One of the most powerful assets in your arsenal is the use of debugging tools. These can provide invaluable insights into the problems at hand.

Step 1: Examine Log Files

Log files are treasure troves of information. Git log, system logs, or application logs can hold clues to what’s going wrong. Commands like git log, dmesg, and journalctl can be of help here.

Step 2: Use Git’s Built-in Debugging Tools

Git comes with a set of built-in debugging tools. For instance, GIT_TRACE can be used to trace the execution of Git commands, showing what’s happening behind the scenes.

Step 3: Employ External Debugging Tools

Tools like strace or Wireshark can provide deep insights into system calls or network packets, respectively. Use these only if you have advanced knowledge or are working with a professional.

In this journey of troubleshooting, remember that persistence is key. Some issues might take time and patience, but each step is a learning experience. Good luck on your journey!

6. Updating Your Git Version

Sometimes, the solution lies in ensuring you’re running the latest version of Git. The creators of Git regularly release updates to fix bugs and improve functionality.

Step 1: Check Your Current Git Version

Use the command git –version to display the current version of Git installed on your machine.

Step 2: Update Git

If your Git version is outdated, it’s time for an upgrade. For Linux users, you can use sudo apt-get install git. For Mac, use Homebrew with brew upgrade git, and for Windows, re-download and install the latest version from the official Git website.

Step 3: Verify the Update

After the installation completes, use git –version again to ensure the new version is installed correctly.

7. Resetting Repository States

In cases where the issue lies deep within the repository, resetting the repository state can be a viable solution. However, this should be used as a last resort, as it can lead to data loss.

Step 1: Backup Your Data

Always, always backup your data before making significant changes. You can create a copy of the repository folder or use git clone to clone the repository to a new location.

Step 2: Reset Your Repository

You can use commands like git reset –hard HEAD to reset the repository. Be aware that this can permanently discard changes, hence the need for backups.

Step 3: Verify the Reset

After the reset, test your repository operations. If done correctly, this should fix the “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128”.

Remember, troubleshooting is a process of elimination. Keep digging, keep learning, and you’ll find the solution eventually. Happy debugging!

8. Clearing Git Cache

Sometimes, the Git cache can cause problems, holding onto outdated or incorrect information. Clearing it can often provide a quick fix.

Step 1: Clearing the Cache

To clear the Git cache, use git rm -r –cached . This removes all files from the index (cache), but not from the working directory.

Step 2: Rebuild the Cache

After clearing the cache, you’ll want to rebuild it. You can do this using git add . This will re-add all files back into the index, effectively rebuilding the cache.

Step 3: Commit the Changes

After clearing and rebuilding the cache, commit the changes using git commit -m “Cleared and rebuilt cache”

9. Reinstalling Git

When all else fails, reinstalling Git might be the way to go. Occasionally, files can become corrupt, causing unexpected errors.

Step 1: Uninstall Git

The process to uninstall Git will depend on your operating system. On Linux, you might use sudo apt-get remove git. On macOS, if you used Homebrew, you can use brew uninstall git.

Step 2: Reinstall Git

Once Git is uninstalled, reinstall it. The process is the same as updating Git – use the package manager on Linux or Homebrew on macOS, or download the installer from the Git website if you’re on Windows.

Step 3: Verify the Installation

After reinstalling, use git –version to ensure Git was successfully installed.

Remember, Google is your friend. If you’re stuck on a particular step, there’s a good chance someone else has faced the same issue. StackOverflow and Git’s documentation are also invaluable resources. Happy troubleshooting!


In closing, “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128” can be a pesky problem, but not an insurmountable one. The solutions range from simple fixes like checking permissions and network connectivity to more advanced steps like diving into Git configurations or reinstalling Git. Remember, every error is an opportunity to learn. Troubleshooting can often feel like unraveling a mystery, but the satisfaction of finding a solution makes the journey worth it. Keep this guide handy for the next time you encounter this error. And as always, happy coding!


What does “error obtaining vcs status: exit status 128” mean?

It’s a version control system error often related to permissions, repository issues, or network problems.

How do I check my repository’s integrity?

Most VCS, like Git, provide built-in tools, such as ‘git fsck’, to check repository integrity.

Can firewall and VPN settings cause this error?

Yes, firewall and VPN settings can interfere with VCS operations and lead to errors like “exit status 128”.

What are some debugging tools I can use?

Log files, command line tools, and specific VCS debugging tools can help identify and resolve issues.

How can I prevent future VCS errors?

Regular maintenance, updates, and adhering to VCS best practices can significantly reduce future errors.