Have you ever gone made with folders and files on Mac suddenly changed to Unix Executable File format? This generally happens when you transfer files from different operating system like Windows to Mac. The annoying part is even the standalone files created on Mac also changed their format automatically. If you are stuck with those Unix Executable Files, here are some of the options for you to recover them and open in Mac.
Why are Files Converted to Unix Executable File Format?
I am using Mac for almost a decade and here are the reasons I could guess for this problem:
- Transferring files from NTFS or FAT 32 formatted drives to Mac which is in APFS (Encrypted, Case-sensitive or Encrypted, Case-sensitive).
- Using files without any extension (like .txt, .png or .jpg).
- Copying or moving files from external hard drives in NTFS format to Mac.
- Received files or folders created in other operating systems in email.
- Files are compressed or processed with third-party apps (like APFS for Windows by Paragon).
- Accessing files across multiple Mac using different macOS or files converted after upgrading to new macOS.
If you try to double click and open the Unix files, Mac will open them in TextEdit and show [Process Completed] error.
When you have multiple Unix Executable File in a folder, follow one of the below options depending upon the situation. It is also good idea to keep a backup copy of the files in case anything goes wrong.
1. Know File Extension to Bulk Change in Mac
If you know the original file extension, then it is easy to assign the extension text bulk in Mac. This is a better option as the files will show with proper icon and opens with correct app if the file extension is assigned.
- Open the folder with Unix Executable Files.
- Select all files, right-click on them and select “Rename” option.
- This will open “Rename Finder Items” pop-up and select “Add Text” option from the first dropdown.
- Type the file extension (for example – .txt) in the middle text box and select “after name” option from the last dropdown.
- You will see an example of the new file name like “file_name.txt” and click on the “Rename” button.
- You will see a typical Mac warning for changing the file extension and click “Add” button. Unfortunately, this pop-up will appear for each file and you need to click “Add” button multiple times depending on number files you have selected.
- This will change add the file extension to all the selected files and you will see Finder shows them properly with icons, preview and the corresponding app to open them.
If something goes wrong, simply press “Command + Z” and all the files will be converted back Unix Executable file again. You can also use third-party apps to bulk change the format, however, that is not advisable as you need to upload the files on their server.
2. Open Unix Executable Files If You Know the File Type
It is easy to open the converted Unix Executable Files in Mac if you know their original extensions (file type). For example, you may have problem with bulk of text, image or music files in a folder. Let’s say, you have 10 text files in a folder which are converted to Unix file. Follow the below steps in this case:
- Open Finder and locate the Unix Executable File folder.
- Select all files and right-click on them.
- Hover over “Open With” menu which will by default show “Terminal” app for opening such files and select “Other…” option.
- This will open a dialog box showing all apps in your Applications folder.
- Select the appropriate app, for example – TextEdit for text files and check “Always Open With” option. If you do not see “Always Open With” option, click “Show Options” button to reveal that.
- After that, click on “Open” button.
This will open all the selected files in TextEdit app and henceforth you can always open those files with TextEdit app like any other text files. Though you have selected “Always Open With” option, Mac will ONLY open the files in the selected folder with TextEdit app. if you try to open any other Unix Executable File located outside the folder, they will fail with [Process Completed] error. You will also see “TextEdit” app as the default app in “Open With” right-click context menu only in that folder.
3. Folders with Unix Executable File Format
It is a tricky task if you have an entire folder converted to Unix file format. This generally happens when you have received the folder create from NTFS formatted drives.
If you have extracted the folder from an archive, send the archive file to Windows PC. Try to extract the files there and make sure all the files have their extensions. Now, compress them properly in .zip format. You can use default Windows 11 ZIP option or use tools like WinZip. Finally, send the new zip file to Mac and check if you can extract to proper folder(s).
It is easy to recover Unix Executable folders and files in Mac if you know the original file extensions or from where/how they have been created. Unfortunately, it is a difficult process if you have multiple files with different extensions. For folders, you may need to assign file extensions or compress properly and resend them from source.