Section: Anacron Users' Manual (5)
Updated: 2009-08-17
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/etc/anacrontab - configuration file for anacron  


The file /etc/anacrontab describes the jobs controlled by anacron(8). Its lines can be of three kinds: job-description lines, environment assignments, or empty lines.

Job-description lines are of one of these two forms:

   period  delay  job-identifier  command

   @period_name delay job-identify command

The period is specified in days, the delay in minutes. In addition, if the RANDOM_DELAY environment variable is set, then the value of RANDOM_DELAY is added to the delay. The value in RANDOM_DELAY denotes a maximal additional delay in minutes, where the minimum delay value is set, to user delay from anacrontab. A RANDOM_DELAY set to 12 would therefore add, randomly, between 0 and 12 minutes to the user defined delay. The job-identifier can contain any non-blank character, except slashes. It is used to identify the job in Anacron messages, and as the name for the job's timestamp file. The command can be any shell command. The fields can be seperated by blank spaces or tabs. The period_name can be set to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or annualy. This will ensure jobs are run once a week, month or year no matter the number of days in this period.

Environment assignment lines are of the form:


Spaces around VAR are removed. No spaces around VALUE are allowed (unless you want them to be part of the value). The assignment takes effect from the next line to the end of the file, or to the next assignment of the same variable. The enviroment variable START_HOURS_RANGE sets the time frame, when the job could started.

Empty lines are either blank lines, line containing white-space only, or lines with white-space followed by a '#' followed by an arbitrary comment.

You can continue a line onto the next line by ending it with a '\'.

In case there is need for having anacron off, then it can be done by adding cron job 0anacron into /etc/cron.hourly/jobs.deny which is part of crontabs(4).  


This example shows how to set up the behaviour similar to previous setting in /etc/crontab which will start all regular jobs only between 6:00 and 8:00. There is added RANDOM_DELAY which will be maximally 30 minutes. Jobs will be running in queue. After one finish, then next will start.

# environment variables
# Anacron jobs will start between 6 and 8 o'clock.
# delay will be 5 minutes + RANDOM_DELAY for cron.daily
1               0       cron.daily              nice run-parts /etc/cron.daily
7               0       cron.weekly             nice run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
@monthly        0       cron.monthly            nice run-parts /etc/cron.monthly


anacron(8), crontabs(4)

The Anacron README file.  


Itai Tzur <>

Currently maintained by Pascal Hakim <pasc@(|>.

For Fedora maintained by Marcela Mašláňová <>.