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dos2unix is a DOS/MAC to UNIX text file format converter. It is used to convert files created or edited within a Windows/DOS or Mac environment to a format acceptable for usage within UNIX systems.

The most common usage on TAMU HPRC clusters is to remove the hidden Windows/DOS-specific characters contained within files (input, scripts, ...) that need to be parsed by some program or interpreter.


To use dos2unix on a file named "":


Note: This tool must be used every time a program is edited within a DOS environment. If you transfer a file to your local Windows computer and edit it, but sure to use dos2unix again.

Common causes

The two most common ways of introducing hidden characters:

1. Using a Windows editor such as Notepad to edit your job files and then copying to the HPRC clusters.

2. Copying from a webpage or pdf file and pasting into your file editor.

One way to check for hidden characters is to use the file command


Which may output the following indicating that you need to run dos2unix:

ASCII English text, with CRLF line terminators

If you see the following input then you should check again using a second method.

Bourne-Again shell script text executable

A second way to check your file for hidden characters is to use the -v option of the cat command

cat -v

Example 'cat -v' output showing hidden Ctrl+M characters at the end of each line:

echo 'Hello World!'^M

Other types of hidden character

Correcting other types of hidden characters.

If you do 'cat my_file.txt' and you see -2 (for example) and then you do 'cat -v my_file.txt' and see -2M-BM- then to convert the -2M-BM- to -2 do the following:

If the results of 'file my_file.txt' is of type

UTF-8 Unicode text

then do the following to convert the hidden characters and file type:

cat my_file.txt > tmpfile
iconv --from-code UTF-8 --to-code US-ASCII -c tmpfile > my_file.txt

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