Locating crontab scheduled tasks in *nix

If you need a list of all users crontab tasks, run this as root:

for user in $(cut -f1 -d: /etc/passwd); do crontab -u $user -l; done


will loop over each user name listing out their crontab. The crontabs are owned by the respective users so you won’t be able to see another user’s crontab w/o being them or root.

–[edit] if you want to know, which user does a crontab belong to insert echo $user

for user in $(cut -f1 -d: /etc/passwd); do echo $user; crontab -u $user -l; done

As a side note, this doesn’t work when the users are defined in NIS or LDAP. You need to use

for user in $(getent passwd | cut -f1 -d: ); do echo $user; crontab -u $user -l; done

I have also seen this bash script that supposedly takes into account displaying other crons, (including the scripts launched by run-parts in /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.daily, etc.) and the jobs in the /etc/cron.d.


# System-wide crontab file and cron job directory. Change these for your system.

# Single tab character. Annoyingly necessary.
tab=$(echo -en "\t")

# Given a stream of crontab lines, exclude non-cron job lines, replace
# whitespace characters with a single space, and remove any spaces from the
# beginning of each line.
function clean_cron_lines() {
    while read line ; do
        echo "${line}" |
            egrep --invert-match '^($|\s*#|\s*[[:alnum:]_]+=)' |
            sed --regexp-extended "s/\s+/ /g" |
            sed --regexp-extended "s/^ //"

# Given a stream of cleaned crontab lines, echo any that don't include the
# run-parts command, and for those that do, show each job file in the run-parts
# directory as if it were scheduled explicitly.
function lookup_run_parts() {
    while read line ; do
        match=$(echo "${line}" | egrep -o 'run-parts (-{1,2}\S+ )*\S+')

        if [[ -z "${match}" ]] ; then
            echo "${line}"
            cron_fields=$(echo "${line}" | cut -f1-6 -d' ')
            cron_job_dir=$(echo  "${match}" | awk '{print $NF}')

            if [[ -d "${cron_job_dir}" ]] ; then
                for cron_job_file in "${cron_job_dir}"/* ; do  # */ <not a comment>
                    [[ -f "${cron_job_file}" ]] && echo "${cron_fields} ${cron_job_file}"

# Temporary file for crontab lines.
temp=$(mktemp) || exit 1

# Add all of the jobs from the system-wide crontab file.
cat "${CRONTAB}" | clean_cron_lines | lookup_run_parts >"${temp}" 

# Add all of the jobs from the system-wide cron directory.
cat "${CRONDIR}"/* | clean_cron_lines >>"${temp}"  # */ <not a comment>

# Add each user's crontab (if it exists). Insert the user's name between the
# five time fields and the command.
while read user ; do
    crontab -l -u "${user}" 2>/dev/null |
        clean_cron_lines |
        sed --regexp-extended "s/^((\S+ +){5})(.+)$/\1${user} \3/" >>"${temp}"
done < <(cut --fields=1 --delimiter=: /etc/passwd)

# Output the collected crontab lines. Replace the single spaces between the
# fields with tab characters, sort the lines by hour and minute, insert the
# header line, and format the results as a table.
cat "${temp}" |
    sed --regexp-extended "s/^(\S+) +(\S+) +(\S+) +(\S+) +(\S+) +(\S+) +(.*)$/\1\t\2\t\3\t\4\t\5\t\6\t\7/" |
    sort --numeric-sort --field-separator="${tab}" --key=2,1 |
    sed "1i\mi\th\td\tm\tw\tuser\tcommand" |
    column -s"${tab}" -t

rm --force "${temp}"

I have not thoroughly tested this script, I ran it once on my server, I found it here.






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