As with most folks, my git repos started with a default value of ‘master’ and I wanted to change them to ‘main’ instead. This would work for any other preferred default branch name. This change was inspired mainly by this blog post by Scott Hanselman and the discussion that surrounded it.

You can review Scott’s blog post above for more details on his post. I will also note that I found the specific devops cli command I needed to update the default on this blog post. I have about 100 repositories that needed to be updated. I was not in a massive hurry and there are reasons to touch these repositories on a somewhat regular basis over the course of some months. So I did not take an approach of updating everythign all at once and I just did them one at a time as I went along. So far I’ve done about 10 of them and I expect to finish updating them over the course of the year.

I’m using git on azure devops and have a variety of projects these repositories are spread across. As a change came up for one, I simply ran the following in the folder i was in:


#move the master branch to main
git branch -m master main
git push -u origin main

# note that i ran the lines above first and then after making
#   sure things looked ok, i deleted master using the command below
git push origin --delete master

#next I updated the default branch to main for the repo in question
az repos update --project %PROJECT_NAME% --repository %REPO_NAME% --default-branch main

#assuming you are in the folder with the repo and the repo name
#   is the same, you can just run the following which is what I always did
az repos update --repository (split-path .\ -leaf) --default-branch main

#you can validate that the default branch has changed by 
#    looking at the list of repos in the project:
az repos list --project %PROJECT_NAME% --output table

This is a small change to make. Even small changes can help if there are enough of them.

Edit: I did find a need to run this as a report sometimes for all of the projects and all of the repos. I used the following one liner for that. You can pretty it up and merge the output if needed, but I just needed something i could look at occassionally. (az devops project list | convertfrom-json).value | %{ az repos list --project $_.name --output table } Note that you’ll need to be logged in and have appropriate permissions to get these results.