Linux / UNIX Crontab File Location

Posted on in Categories , , last updated May 3, 2017

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.

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

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

4 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”…

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