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What am I doing wrong here? Trying to set a cron job to run a shell script but it won't work. I entered the below after doing crontab -e. It does show up when doing contrab -l.

0 2 * * * root /root/
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What do you mean by "it wont work"? – Michael Hampton Oct 18 '12 at 17:07
wont work = cron doesn't run -- The script itself functions when hit manually – RonnieT Oct 18 '12 at 17:31
Have you looked in the cron log? There should be an error message there that would say something like "root: command not found." which is explained by Iain's answer. – Ladadadada Oct 18 '12 at 17:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You're using the crontab format that's used for /etc/crontab. For the user crontabs you don't need to specify the user

 0 2 * * * /root/

should run.

Answering the commants

The output from vi is normal, crontab will copy it to the correct location

  • Check that cron is running
  • Check that there is a newline at the end of your command (crontab -e and press return at the end of the line)
  • Check the root account's mail for any output that is mailed from cron.
  • Capture the output of the command 0 2 ... &>/tmp/mylog.log
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Still not running. Revised to do * * * * * /root/ to test. The path in VI editor states "/tmp/crontab.QUz4Io" 2L, 62C – RonnieT Oct 18 '12 at 17:33
@RonnieT: updated my answer. – Iain Oct 18 '12 at 17:52
Looks like I'm getting this error: /bin/sh: /root/ /bin/sh^M: bad interpreter: No such file or directory – RonnieT Oct 18 '12 at 18:17
@RonnieT: That looks like you edited the script using windows (^M is a give away). On the CentOS machine run dos2unix /root/ this will convert it to unix format. Also ensure that the first line of your is #!/bin/sh – Iain Oct 18 '12 at 18:23
Got it working. Cron was not the issue it was the formatting of the shell file. Thanks for your help! – RonnieT Oct 18 '12 at 18:35


service crond status

to see if cron is active.

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