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This version of GitHub Enterprise Server was discontinued on 2023-09-25. No patch releases will be made, even for critical security issues. For better performance, improved security, and new features, upgrade to the latest version of GitHub Enterprise Server. For help with the upgrade, contact GitHub Enterprise support.

Checking out pull requests locally

When someone sends you a pull request from a fork or branch of your repository, you can merge it locally to resolve a merge conflict or to test and verify the changes before merging on GitHub Enterprise Server.

Who can use this feature

Anyone with write access to a repository can pull a remote pull request down locally.

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Note: Pull request authors can give upstream repository maintainers, or those with push access to the upstream repository, permission to make commits to their pull request's compare branch in a user-owned fork. For more information, see "Allowing changes to a pull request branch created from a fork."

Modifying an active pull request locally

  1. Under your repository name, click Pull requests.

    Screenshot of the main page of a repository. In the horizontal navigation bar, a tab, labeled "Pull requests," is outlined in dark orange.

  2. In the list of pull requests, click the pull request you'd like to modify.

  3. In the merge box, click command line instructions. Follow the sequence of steps to bring down the proposed pull request.

    Screenshot of the merge box in a pull request. The link to access command line pull request instructions is outlined in dark orange.

  4. Optionally, to view proposed changes in GitHub Desktop, next to the Merge pull request button, click open this in GitHub Desktop.

    Screenshot of the "merge messages" section on a pull request page. A link, labeled "Open this in GitHub Desktop", is outlined in orange.

To learn more about GitHub CLI, see "About GitHub CLI."

To check out a pull request locally, use the gh pr checkout subcommand. Replace pull-request with the number, URL, or head branch of the pull request.

gh pr checkout PULL-REQUEST

Modifying an inactive pull request locally

If a pull request’s author is unresponsive to requests or has deleted their fork, the changes proposed in that pull request can still be merged via a new pull request. However, if you want to make changes to a pull request and the author is not responding, you'll need to perform some additional steps to update the pull request.

Once a pull request is opened, GitHub Enterprise Server stores all of the changes remotely. In other words, commits in a pull request are available in a repository even before the pull request is merged. You can fetch an open pull request and recreate it as your own.

Anyone can work with a previously opened pull request to continue working on it, test it out, or even open a new pull request with additional changes. However, only collaborators with push access can merge pull requests.

  1. Under your repository name, click Issues or Pull requests.

    Screenshot of the main page of a repository. In the horizontal navigation bar, two tabs, labeled "Issues" and "Pull requests," are each outlined in dark orange.

  2. In the "Pull Requests" list, click the pull request you'd like to merge.

  3. Find the ID number of the inactive pull request. This is the sequence of digits right after the pull request's title.

    Screenshot of the title of a pull request. The pull request's ID number is outlined in dark orange.

  4. Open TerminalTerminalGit Bash.

  5. Fetch the reference to the pull request based on its ID number, creating a new branch in the process.

    git fetch origin pull/ID/head:BRANCH_NAME
  6. Switch to the new branch that's based on this pull request:

    [main] $ git switch BRANCH_NAME
    > Switched to a new branch 'BRANCH_NAME'
  7. At this point, you can do anything you want with this branch. You can run some local tests, or merge other branches into the branch.

  8. When you're ready, you can push the new branch up:

    [pull-inactive-pull-request] $ git push origin BRANCH_NAME
    > Counting objects: 32, done.
    > Delta compression using up to 8 threads.
    > Compressing objects: 100% (26/26), done.
    > Writing objects: 100% (29/29), 74.94 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
    > Total 29 (delta 8), reused 0 (delta 0)
    >  * [new branch]      BRANCH_NAME -> BRANCH_NAME
  9. Create a new pull request with your new branch.

Error: Failed to push some refs

The remote refs/pull/ namespace is read-only. If you try to push any commits there, you'll see this error:

! [remote rejected] HEAD -> refs/pull/1/head (deny updating a hidden ref)
error: failed to push some refs to 'git@github.local:USERNAME/REPOSITORY.git'

Tip: When you remove or rename a remote reference, your local refs/pull/origin/ namespace will not be affected by calls to git-remote.