p4 flush

Update a client workspace’s have list without actually copying any files.


p4 [g-opts] flush [-f -L -n -q] [FileSpec[revSpec]]

Syntax conventions



p4 flush can cause commands to behave in unexpected ways, so use it only when the situation is appropriate. See the two Examples.

The p4 flush command performs only Step 2 of p4 sync FileSpec two-step operation:

Step 1: The file revisions in the FileSpec are copied from the depot to the client workspace.

Step 2: The workspace’s have list (which tracks which file revisions have been synced, and is managed by the Perforce service) is updated to reflect the new client workspace contents.

Under most circumstances, this is not desirable, because a client workspace’s have list should always reflect the workspace’s true contents. However, if the workspace’s contents are already out of sync with the have list, p4 flush can sometimes be used to bring the have list in sync with the actual contents. Because p4 flush performs no actual file transfers, this command is much faster then the corresponding p4 sync.



Force the flush. Helix Server performs the flush even if the client workspace already has the file at the specified revision.


For scripting purposes, perform the flush on a list of valid file arguments in full depot syntax with a valid revision number.


Display what the results of the flush would be without actually performing the flush. This lets you make sure that the flush does what you think it will do before you do it.


Quiet operation: suppress normal output messages. Messages regarding errors or exceptional conditions are not suppressed.


See Global options.

Usage Notes

Can File Arguments Use Revision Specifier? Can File Arguments Use Revision Range? Minimal Access Level Required Command Alias




p4 sync -k.
  • Because p4 flush updates the have list without copying files, and p4 sync -f updates the client workspace to match the have list, p4 flush files followed by p4 sync -f files is almost equivalent to p4 syncfiles. This means that a bad flush can be almost entirely fixed by following it with a p4 sync -f of the same file revisions that were originally flushed.

    Unfortunately, this is not a complete fix, because any file revisions that were deleted from the have list by p4 flush remain in the client workspace even after p4 sync -f has run. In this case, you need to manually remove deleted file revisions from the client workspace.


  • Ten users at the same site need to set up new, identical client workspaces from the same depot at a remote location over a slow link. Typically, each user would run identical p4 sync commands, but if bandwidth is limited, there’s a faster way:

    • One user runs p4 sync files from the client workspace firstworkspace.
    • The other users copy the newly synced files from the first user’s client workspace into their own client workspaces using their local OS file-copying commands.
    • The other users run p4 flush files @firstworkspace, which brings their client workspaces' have lists into sync with the files copied into the client workspaces in the last step.

      Because p4 flush moves no files across the slow link, the process can be much faster then running the same p4 sync command ten separate times.

  • Joe has a client workspace called joe that has a Root: of
    and a View: of
    //depot/joe/proj1/subproj/... //joe/...
    Joe decides that all the files under /usr/joe/project1 need to be included in the workspace, and uses p4 client to change the Root: to /usr/joe/project1
    and the View: to //depot/joe/proj1/... //joe/....

    This keeps his current client workspace files in the same place while extending the scope of the workspace to include other files. But when Joe runs his next p4 sync, he is surprised to see that Helix Server deletes every non-open file in the client workspace and replaces it with an identical copy of the same file!

    Helix Server behaves this way because:

    • the have list describes each file’s location relative to the client root
    • the physical location of each file is determined when each Helix Server command is run.


    • Helix Server thinks that each file has been relocated
    • p4 sync deletes the file from its "old" location and copies it into its "new" location

    The efficient solution in this case is to use p4 flush #have to update the client workspace’s have list to reflect the "new" locations of the files without actually copying any files.

    Related Commands

    p4 flush is an alias for p4 sync -k

    p4 sync -k

    To copy files from the depot to the client workspace

    p4 sync

    To bring the client workspace in sync with the have list after a bad p4 flush

    p4 sync -f