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User crontab files

UNIX programs that can be used to launch user commands at specified times

command help description see also
at man at one time, batch commands to run atq, atrm
cron man cron man cron
man crontab
schedule commands to run at a specific date/time crontab
crontab man crontab The crontab utility is a program used to install/remove or list commands from a users crontab file

User crontab files

cron is a very flexible command that can be configured to automate running commands at a repeating interval or predetermined date/time.

Crontab server

All user crontab files should be installed/maintained on the crontab server cron.cs.rpi.edu. Crontab files should not be installed on random machines because:
  • They may dissapear when the machine is reinstalled.
  • They may place extraneous dependences on other network resources, adversely affect performance and/or hang the machine if it is a webserver |

Modifying your crontab file

  • ssh cron.cs.rpi.edu or ssh -l ${login} cron.cs.rpi.edu
  • edit method #1 -- interactively modify your crontab file
    • crontab -e
  • edit method #2 -- dump your crontab into a file to be modified
    • crontab -l > crn
    • vi crn # make edits as needed
    • crontab crn # reload your crontab with edits
  • Error reporting
    • crontab will report any format/syntax errors detected
    • stdout / stderr generated when a command is run will be sent as email to your cs account.

Crontab file format

  • Comment character is #
  • Wildcard character is an asterisk *
########################################################################
# min    00..59
# hour   00..23
# mday   00..31
# month  00..12
# wday   00..06 (0=sunday)
#
# FORMAT: [min] [hour] [day] [month] [weekday] "command_to_run"
#######################################################################
  • PATH=/bin:/usr/bin
  • SHELL=/usr/local/bin/bash
    • Set environment variables for cron to run commands with
  • Generate output at 10:15 daily, output will be emailed to your user account
    • 15 10 * * * $SHELL -c '(/bin/date; /bin/echo "TESTING CRONTAB")'
  • Run command mycleanup.sh from your etc/ directory on Sunday at 9:30 am
    • 30 09 * * 00 $HOME/etc/mycleanup.sh
  • Run mycommand.sh at 10pm on May 5th
    • 00 22 05 06 * $HOME/etc/mycommand.sh

See also

  • man cron
  • man crontab


-- JoeyArmstrong - 01 Jun 2010
Topic revision: r3 - 31 Aug 2012, lindss2@LAB.CS.RPI.EDU
 

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