GNU Git GUI won't clone a GitLab repo

I’m trying to use the GNU Git GUI client, first to clone a repo, under Windows 10. I chose this application because it comes with the GNU Git Bash shell for Windows, which I’ve been using for years. It won’t let me clone a repo from my company’s GitLab server.

I got this message box:

[title bar] Git Gui: error
[content]   Clone failed.
            Cannot fetch branches and objects. See console output for details.

The console says, “fatal: unable to update url base from redirection:” (followed by the URL of the repo and “redirect: https:/<repo_url>/users/sign_in”.)

Apparently GitLab asked Git GUI to sign in, and it couldn’t handle that. It seems to me that the solution should be to sign in manually, then clone the repo. But I can’t sign in because I’m already signed in. After I got this error I browsed the repo URL and got the repo’s home page in GitLab, with my account icon in the upper right corner; When I clicked the icon I got a dropdown with my account name and a “Sign out” option. Then I tried cloning the repo from the Git Bash shell, and it worked just fine.

And once I had cloned the repo, Git Gui was able to open it just fine. So perhaps it only has a problem cloning things. Any suggestions?

Later – I found that there are more issues.

When I commit changes, I’m (surprise!) required to enter a commit message, but nothing in the UI suggests a way to do it.

The client will not stage files listed in .gitignore. I need this capability, but I also need to be able to override it. On the command line I can do that by entering git add -f. How can I do that in the GUI, and is it even possible? No clue.

I need some good documentation, but so far I haven’t found any. The best thing I found on the Web was a “Quick Start” type document that didn’t answer any of my questions.

The GUI menu has a Help > Online documentation item, but it displays a man page for the git command.

Does anyone know of a user manual for this thing? Alternatively, can anyone recommend another Git GUI client for Windows that’s better designed and packaged?

Try gitkraken as a git gui.

I appreciate the suggestion, but most of our work is done on private repos, use GitKraken that way I’d have to pay for a license. Our IT department is relaxed about letting us download reputable open source software, but I don’t think they’d like it if I paid for an unapproved program out of pocket and put it on my work computer.