High-purity digermane (Ge2H6, 5% in He) has been used to grow epitaxially oriented crystalline Ge films by pyrolysis. Amorphous Ge:H films also have been deposited by pyrolysis and ArF (193 nm) laser-induced photolysis. The amorphous-to-crystalline transition and the film's morphology was studied as a function of deposition conditions. The film's microstructure, strain and epitaxial quality were assessed using x-ray diffraction curves and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. It was found that commensurate, coherently strained epitaxial Ge films could be grown pyrolytically on (100) GaAs at low (0.05–40 m Torr) Ge2H6 partial pressures, for substrate temperatures above 380°C.