Linux / UNIX Crontab File Location

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I login to my UNIX system as a normal user. However, I need to update my cronjob entry. But, I can’t find where the crontab file is. How do I find out my crontab file location?

By default cron searches its spool area /var/spool/cron/ directory for crontab files. All files which are named after username i.e. accounts in /etc/passwd file. So if your username is [donotprint][/donotprint]vivek, crontab file location should be /var/spool/cron/$USER i.e. /var/spool/cron/vivek. Note that cron in this directory should not be accessed directly – the crontab command should be used to access and update them as follows:

crontab -e

To view your crontab file (cron jobs) type:
crontab -l

Directory for personal crontab files

Linux and Unix-like operating system may change the default from /var/spool/cron/ to something else. Use the following as a guideline for your OS (assuming that user name is vivek):

  1. Mac OS X/usr/lib/cron/tabs/ (user cron location /usr/lib/cron/tabs/vivek)
  2. FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/var/cron/tabs/ (user cron location /var/cron/tabs/vivek)
  3. CentOS/Red Hat/RHEL/Fedora/Scientific Linux/var/spool/cron/ (user cron location /var/spool/cron/vivek)
  4. Debian / Ubuntu Linux/var/spool/cron/crontabs/ (user cron location /var/spool/cron/crontabs/vivek)
  5. HP-UX Unix – /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ (user cron location /var/spool/cron/crontabs/vivek)
  6. IBM AIX Unix/var/spool/cron/ (user cron location /var/spool/cron/vivek)

I suggest that you read local cron man page to get exact location for directory for personal crontab or use the above two commands.

This entry is 6 of 16 in the Linux Cron Jobs Howto & Tutorial series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. What is cron on a Linux or Unix-like systems?
  2. How To Add Jobs To cron Under Linux or UNIX?
  3. Verify crond Daemon And Cronjobs Are Running
  4. Start Restart and Stop The Cron or Crond Service
  5. List / Display All Cron Jobs
  6. Linux / UNIX Crontab File Location
  7. Change Crontab Email Settings ( MAILTO )
  8. Disable The Mail Alert By Crontab Command On a Linux or Unix-like Systems
  9. At What Time Cron Entries In cron.daily, cron.weekly, cron.monthly Run?
  10. Execute Cron Job After System Reboot
  11. Setup and Run PHP Script As A Cron Job
  12. Run crontab job every minute on a Linux or Unix-like system
  13. Running crontab (cron jobs) Every 10 Minutes
  14. Cron Job Script Execution on the Last Day of a Month
  15. Execute / Run crontab (cron jobs) every 1 minute
  16. Ubuntu create cron.log file

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

5 comment

  1. usually we use command
    crontab -e
    than after that, it will show like below:
    2 9 * * * sh /oraias/mid/cronjob/back_pll.sh
    25 12 * * * sh /autopatch/script/zipto_patch.sh
    ~
    ~
    ~
    ~
    ~
    ~
    “/var/tmp/aaaa14682” 5 lines, 143 characters

    so..as usually the file is located at /var/tmp
    and the file name is aaaa14682.

    so…try go to folder /var/tmp and then more aaaa14682

    may it will help u..

    1. khairul: Are you kidding me? When you run crontab -e, it’ll create a copy of /var/spool/cron/crontabs/”user” to /var/tmp, while editing, once it’s saved, it’ll copy this file back to /var/spool/cron/crontabs/”user”…

  2. /var/spool/cron/crontabs/”user” is right answer. its helpful when your instance is crashed and u need cron entry

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