Introduction: cron is a utility that you can use to schedule and automate tasks. By defining items in the cron table, called crontab, you can schedule any script or program to run on almost any sort of schedule Basics: Each user has their own crontab, the scheduled scripts run as that user take this in account with regards to permissions. To edit the crontab use the following command: Code: $ crontab -e You can list what your currnet crontab is using the following command: Code: $ crontab -l root user can view user's crontab Code: #crontable -u linuxweb Crontab Format The following is the format entries in a crontab must be. MIN HOUR MDAY MON DOW COMMAND 5 * * * * Code: MIN = Minute 0-60 HOUR = Hour [24-hour clock] 0-23 MDAY = Day of Month 1-31 MON = Month 1-12 OR jan,feb,mar,apr ... DOW = Day of Week 0-6 OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat COMMAND = Command to be run Any valid command-line Examples: Here are a few examples, for crontab entry Code: #Run command at 7:00am each weekday [mon-fri] 00 07 * * 1-5 (/sbin/diskusages.sh); Code: #Run command on 1st of each month, at 5:30pm 30 17 1 * * (/home/backup.sh); Code: #Run command at 8:00am,10:00am and 2:00pm every day 00 8,10,14 * * * (/sbin/sendstatus.sh); Code: #Run command every 5 minutes during market hours */5 6-13 * * mon-fri get_stock_quote.script Special Characters in Crontab You can use an asterisk in any category to mean for every item, such as every day or every month. You can use commas in any category to specify multiple values. For example: mon,wed,fri You can use dashes to specify ranges. For example: mon-fri, or 9-17 You can use forward slash to specify a repeating range. For example: */5 for every five minutes, hours, days Special Entries There are several special entries, some which are just shortcuts, that you can use instead of specifying the full cron entry. The most useful of these is probably @reboot which allows you to run a command each time the computer gets reboot. This could be useful if you want to start up a server or daemon under a particular user, or if you do not have access to the rc.d/init.d files. Example Usage: Code: # restart freevo servers @reboot freevo webserver start @reboot freevo recordserver start The complete list: Entry Description Equivalent To Code: @reboot Run once, at startup. None @yearly Run once a year 0 0 1 1 * @annually (same as @yearly) 0 0 1 1 * @monthly Run once a month 0 0 1 * * @weekly Run once a week 0 0 * * 0 @daily Run once a day 0 0 * * * @midnight (same as @daily) 0 0 * * * @hourly Run once an hour 0 * * * * Miscelleanous Issues Script Output If there is any output from your script or command it will be sent to that user's e-mail account, on that box. Using the default mailer which must be setup properly. You can set the variable MAILTO in the crontab to specify a separate e-mail address to use. For example: MAILTO="email@example.com"