/etc/crontab is empty yet cron jobs are still being run. scripts that are located in /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.daily, etc. are still being run. So where is the master if it's not /etc/crontab? Is this all hard coded, now? I've been dealing with /etc/crontab in Linux for over 20 years. I'm stumped.

Thanks, Curtis

2 Answers 2


From cron(1):

Cron searches /var/spool/cron for crontab files which are named after accounts in /etc/passwd; The found crontabs are loaded into the memory.  Cron also searches for /etc/anacrontab and any files in the /etc/cron.d directory
  • I looked in there and there are a few jobs, but the master crontab is empty and non of those jobs make reference to /etc/cron.hourly, etc. There's nothing in systemd either. "systemctl list-timers --all" show a whole lot of nothing. Mar 28, 2020 at 16:40
  • Nothing in /etc/cron.d/ ? That’s the normal location and there should be some files there already on a default system.
    – jsbillings
    Apr 7, 2020 at 23:36

I think it's all handled by the pig known as systemd. If I wanted a system to run like Windows, I'd run Windows.

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