Git replacing LF with CRLF

These messages are due to an incorrect default value of core.autocrlf on Windows.

The concept of autocrlf is to handle line endings conversions transparently. And it does!

Bad news: the value needs to be configured manually.

Good news: it should only be done one time per Git installation (per project setting is also possible).

How autocrlf works:

core.autocrlf=true:      core.autocrlf=input:     core.autocrlf=false:

     repository               repository               repository
      ^      V                 ^      V                 ^      V
     /        \               /        \               /        \
crlf->lf    lf->crlf     crlf->lf       \             /          \
   /            \           /            \           /            \

Here crlf = win-style end-of-line marker, lf = unix-style (also used on Mac since Mac OS X).

(pre-osx cr is not affected for any of three options above.)

When does this warning show up (under Windows)?

    – autocrlf = true if you have unix-style lf in one of your files (= RARELY),
    – autocrlf = input if you have win-style crlf in one of your files (= almost ALWAYS),
    – autocrlf = false – NEVER!

What does this warning mean?

The warning “LF will be replaced by CRLF” says that you (having autocrlf=true) will lose your unix-style LF after commit-checkout cycle (it will be replaced by windows-style CRLF). Git doesn’t expect you to use unix-style LF under Windows.

The warning “CRLF will be replaced by LF” says that you (having autocrlf=input) will lose your windows-style CRLF after a commit-checkout cycle (it will be replaced by unix-style LF). Don’t use input under Windows.

Yet another way to show how autocrlf works

1) true:             x -> LF -> CRLF
2) input:            x -> LF -> LF
3) false:            x -> x -> x

where x is either CRLF (windows-style) or LF (unix-style) and arrows stand for

file to commit -> repository -> checked out file

How to fix

The default value for core.autocrlf is selected during Git installation and stored in system-wide gitconfig (%ProgramFiles(x86)%\git\etc\gitconfig on Windows, /etc/gitconfig on Linux). Also there’re (cascading in the following order):

   – “global” (per-user) gitconfig located at ~/.gitconfig, yet another
   – “global” (per-user) gitconfig at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/config or $HOME/.config/git/config and
   – “local” (per-repo) gitconfig at .git/config in the working directory.

So, write git config core.autocrlf in the working directory to check the currently used value and

   – git config --system core.autocrlf false            # per-system solution
   – git config --global core.autocrlf false            # per-user solution
   – git config --local core.autocrlf false              # per-project solution


    – git config settings can be overridden by gitattributes settings.
    – crlf -> lf conversion only happens when adding new files, crlf files already existing in the repo aren’t affected.

Moral (for Windows):

    – use core.autocrlf = true if you plan to use this project under Unix as well (and unwilling to configure your editor/IDE to use unix line endings),
    – use core.autocrlf = false if you plan to use this project under Windows only (or you have configured your editor/IDE to use unix line endings),
    – never use core.autocrlf = input unless you have a good reason to (eg if you’re using unix utilities under Windows or if you run into makefiles issues),

PS What to choose when installing Git for Windows?

If you’re not going to use any of your projects under Unix, don’t agree with the default first option. Choose the third one (Checkout as-is, commit as-is). You won’t see this message. Ever.

PPS: My personal preference is configuring the editor/IDE to use unix-style endings, and setting core.autocrlf to false.

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