crontab - Submits a schedule of commands to cron
crontab -l | -v | -r | -e [username]
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Edits a copy of your crontab entry. If the crontab entry does not
exist, creates an empty entry to edit. The -e option invokes the editor
specified by the EDITOR environment variable, or uses /usr/bin/vi by
default. The crontab command installs the new entry when editing is
[Tru64 UNIX] If username is specified, edits the file for the speci-
fied user. You must have appropriate privileges to use this option.
-l Displays the contents of your crontab file.
-r Removes the crontab file from the crontab directory.
-v [Tru64 UNIX] Displays the name of your crontab file and the date and
time at which you submitted it with crontab.
Path name of file that contains crontab specifications in the format
The crontab command copies the specified file or standard input if you do
not specify a file into the /var/spool/cron/crontabs directory, which holds
all users' crontab files.
The cron command runs commands according to the instructions in the crontab
files. The crontab files are named for users, and the commands in the
files are run under the user's authority. For example, the commands in the
/var/spool/cron/crontabs/root file are run under root authority. When you
use the crontab command, the file under your authority is affected. For
example, if adm invokes the crontab -l command, the
/var/spool/cron/crontabs/adm file is displayed. If the username argument
is included, the specified user's crontab file is listed and edited rather
than the current user's crontab file. You must have root privileges to
specify the username argument. By default, the vi editor is used.
Note that the file /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root contains several entries
that will run by default, such as the following command to back up and
clean the /var/adm/wtmp log file:
0 2 * * 0 /usr/bin/logclean /var/adm/wtmp >> dev/null
You can configure these default commands to suit your local system require-
After cron runs commands according to the contents of your crontab file, it
mails you the output from standard output and standard error for these com-
mands, unless you redirect standard output or standard error.
When entries are made to a crontab file by using the crontab command,
all previous entries in the file are removed.
You can use the crontab command if your user name appears in the
/usr/lib/cron/cron.allow file. If that file does not exist, the crontab
command checks the /usr/lib/cron/cron.deny file to determine if you should
be denied access to crontab. The allow/deny files contain one user name
per line. If neither file exists, you can submit a job only if you are
operating with superuser authority.
Each crontab file entry consists of a line with six fields, separated by
spaces and tabs. The information in the fields specifies when the command
runs and the name of the command. The fields specify the following:
+ The first field specifies the minute (0 to 59).
+ The second field specifies the hour (0 to 23).
+ The third field specifies the day of the month (1 to 31).
+ The fourth field specifies the month of the year (1 to 12).
+ The fifth field specifies the day of the week (0 to 6 for Sunday to
+ The sixth field specifies the shell command to be executed.
You can specify the following values in the fields that indicate the time:
+ An integer (within the appropriate range of values)
+ Two integers separated by a dash to indicate an inclusive range
+ A list of integers separated by commas
+ An asterisk to select all possible values
You can specify the days on which the command is to execute in two fields
(day of the month and day of the week). You can specify both fields, or
you can specify only one field. To use only one field to specify the days,
the other field should contain an asterisk (*). If both methods are used,
the command is executed whenever either of the specifications is met.
[Tru64 UNIX] For example, the following entry runs command at midnight on
the first and fifteenth days of each month, as well as every Monday:
0 0 1,15 * 1 command
The cron program runs the command named in the sixth field at the specified
date and time. If you include a percent sign (%) in the sixth field, cron
treats everything that precedes it (in that field) as the command invoca-
tion, and makes all that follows it available to standard input, unless you
escape the percent sign (\%) or double quote it ("%"). An exclamation
point (!) in the sixth field is translated as a newline character.
The shell runs only the first line of the command field (up to a percent
sign or End-of-Line). All other lines are made available to the command as
The cron program invokes a subshell from your $HOME directory. This means
that it will not run your .profile file. If you schedule a command to run
when you are not logged in and you want to have commands in your .profile
run, you must explicitly do so in the crontab file. (For a more detailed
discussion of how sh can be invoked, see the sh command.)
The cron program supplies a default environment for every shell, defining
HOME, LOGNAME, SHELL (=/usr/bin/sh), and PATH (=:/usr/bin).
[Tru64 UNIX] To submit commands to the cron daemon, invoke the crontab
command with the -e option, or perform the following tasks:
1. [Tru64 UNIX] Become the user that corresponds to the appropriate file
in the /usr/spool/cron/crontabs directory. For example, if you want
to submit commands that will run under adm authority, become user adm.
2. [Tru64 UNIX] Use the crontab command with the -l option to copy the
appropriate file from the /usr/spool/cron/crontabs directory to a tem-
porary file in your home directory. For example, if you are user adm,
you could use the following command:
crontab -l >> temp_adm
3. [Tru64 UNIX] Edit the temporary file and add the commands you want to
run at a specified time.
4. [Tru64 UNIX] Use the crontab command and specify the temporary file
to submit the commands to the cron daemon.
1. When entries are made to a crontab file, all previous entries are
2. If your user ID is associated with more than one user name, crontab
uses the first user name that appears in the /etc/passwd file, regard-
less of which user name you might actually be using.
3. [Tru64 UNIX] The file /usr/lib/cron is a symbolic link to
4. [Tru64 UNIX] If cron.allow exists, the superuser's user name must
appear there for that superuser to be able to use the command.
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
>>0 An error occurred.
1. The following example writes the time to the console every hour on the
0 * * * * echo The hour is `date`. >>/dev/console
2. The following example runs calendar at 6:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednes-
day, and Friday:
30 6 * * 1,3,5 /usr/bin/calendar -
3. The following example writes the contents of happyholidays.txt to all
users logged in at 4:00 p.m. each Friday in December and each day
between December 10 and December 31 inclusive:
0 16 10-31 12 5 /usr/sbin/wall /var/tmp/happyholidays.txt
The following environment variables affect the execution of crontab:
Determines the editor used with the -e option.
Provides a default value for the internationalization variables that
are unset or null. If LANG is unset or null, the corresponding value
from the default locale is used. If any of the internationalization
variables contain an invalid setting, the utility behaves as if none of
the variables had been defined.
If set to a non-empty string value, overrides the values of all the
other internationalization variables.
Determines the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of
text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-
byte characters in arguments).
Determines the locale for the format and contents of diagnostic mes-
sages written to standard error.
Determines the location of message catalogues for the processing of
Main cron directory.
Directory containing the crontab files adm, cronuucp, root, sys,and
List of allowed users.
List of denied users.
Log of cron activity.
Queue description file for at, batch, and cron.
Contains user information.
Commands: at(1), cron(8), mail(1), mailx(1), Bourne shell sh(1b), POSIX