I have just installed Cygwin on my Win Server 2008. I have a bash backup script (to backup some user files to an external harddrive) that I want to run on the machine, under crontab, every night. I have just installed the base package, cron and cygrunsrv. Now I need to make crontab run. In Cygwin there is /bin/crontab.exe and /usr/sbin/cron.exe. What is the difference between these two? Which one should I use to run my backup script?

If I run crontab -e the crontab file for the /bin/crontab.exe opens. cron -e gives command not found. When searching google I find that people usually setup and use /usr/sbin/cron.exe but I do not really understand why.

1 Answer 1


Both cron and crontab are commands.

cron is the daemon, running in the background and executing the commands defined in a crontab file

Cron searches /var/spool/cron for crontab files ... Cron examines all stored crontabs and checks each job to see if it needs to be run in the current minute. When executing commands, any output is mailed to the owner of the crontab.

crontab, the command, manages crontab files

Crontab is the program used to install a crontab table file, remove or list the existing tables used to serve the cron(8) daemon. Each user can have their own crontab

This means, if you want to run a command periodically, you use crontab to install or change your personal crontab file.

To run Cygwin's cron in the background, look at How do you run a crontab in Cygwin on Windows?

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