I have a script being run automatically that I can't find in the crontab for the expected users, so I'd like to search all users' crontabs for it.

Essentially I want to run a crontab -l for all users.

6 Answers 6


Well depends on the script but easily you can find your crontab as root with

crontab -l -u <user>

Or you can find crontab from spool where is located file for all users

cat /var/spool/cron/crontabs/<user>

To show all users' crontabs with the username printed at the beginning of each line:

cd /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ && grep . *
  • 1
    Awesome, looking in /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ worked nicely, thanks! Mar 13, 2014 at 22:04
  • 3
    crontab -e -u <user> to edit it works as well
    – vladkras
    Aug 4, 2017 at 11:24
  • 2
    /var/spool/cron/<user> on my Centos 7 host.
    – Bob Stein
    Sep 3, 2019 at 18:49

One liner which lists all users and prints cron for every user:

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

This solution:

  • Doesn't require knowing a system specific crontab path (e.g. /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ vs /var/spool/cron/
  • Won't list "orphan" crons, i.e. crons for users that don't exist anymore (and thus are not executed effectively)
  • Note: this works for sh but not bash.
    – Til
    Jul 16, 2019 at 7:15
for USER in `cat /etc/passwd | awk -F ":" '{print $1}'`
  echo "this crontab for user : $USER"
  crontab -u $USER -l 2>&1
done >> list_all_cron

Strange need to escape chars on this web site. I think copy paste won't work

Well you got the point : loop all users from /etc/passwd + awk and ask for crontab with crontab -u -l

  • Welcome to the site, and thank you for your contribution. Indeed the backtick is used for in-line comment formatting, making it difficult to use. Still, please note that the backtick format is deprecated anyway for command substitutions, and the $( ... ) format should be used instead. Also, you don't really need to cat a file into awk, just give the file to be read as parameter after the command.
    – AdminBee
    Jun 4, 2020 at 11:24

To filter out comments from only active user crontabs:

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

or quick and dirty from both common directories:

grep -v "^#" /var/spool/cron/crontabs/* /var/spool/cron/*
  • Sorry, just tried these out in ubuntu. First one you need to be root first (sudo -i) (you can prob modify the one liner to run the crontab commmand as root). I generally don't like been in a shell as root so I haven't tried this as root to see if it even works, Second one also needs to be run as sudo, so you may want to add that in
    – Rqomey
    Dec 8, 2020 at 9:58
  • While I agree, one should use sudo instead of logging in as root, the question posted starts with 'as root', and all other answers up to this point have assumed root, so I continued that assumption.
    – dgulino
    Dec 8, 2020 at 14:51

In RHEL/OEL you can list the cron jobs created by all users:

#cd /var/spool/cron/
#ls -1

To see root's cronjobs:

#cat root
  • The crontab(1) interface (command) should be used, as it protects against concurrent editing of the crontab database.
    – Dirk
    Jan 10, 2018 at 0:07

Using the following command, we findall Cron jobs, on the specified system.

find /etc/cron* -type f -perm -o+w -exec ls -l {} \;

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