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Linux / UNIX Crontab File Location

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 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.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Keul April 15, 2011, 9:10 am

    use -u switch to see crontab of other user (must be root).
    eg :
    crontab -eu apache

  • khairul May 16, 2011, 4:18 am

    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..

    • Doctor Who October 26, 2012, 9:10 am

      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”…

  • chetan M December 2, 2013, 10:24 am

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

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