How to Backup crontab Settings

Linux comes with a time-based job scheduler called cron. The scheduler is configured by a crontab file. This post gives instructions of how to backup and restore crontab file.


To backup the current crontab settings for current user, use the command below,

crontab -l > crontab_backup

In case you want to backup crontab settings for a different user, use the command below,

crontab –l -u USERNAME > crontab_`date +%Y-%m-%d`


Suppose the crontab backup file is named as crontab_backup, simply use the command below to restore from the file

crontab crontab_backup

In case we have multiple backup files, and we want to restore the latest backup file, the command below will work,

cat `ls -tr crontab-* | tail -1` | crontab -u USERNAME –

The command finds the latest backup file, cat it to standard output, and the crontab command installs the crontab file for user “USERNAME”. The “-“ specifies that crontab will install crontab file from the standard input, which has the content of the latest backup file in this case.