Federico Mengozzi

systemd, at, cron

Linux Commands

Exploring new linux commands

The following content was create on Manjaro Linux


  • List all service unit files on the systems with systemctl list-unit-files -at service
  • List all running services with systemctl list-units -t service --state running
  • systemctl cat SERVICE_NAME will cat the service file and give insight on the file structure (dependencies, what happens if service fails)
  • To check whether a service is active just use systemctl is-active SERVICE_NAME
  • It’s also possible to prevent services from running by masking them with sudo systemctl mask SERVICE_NAME (unmasking is done in the same way)


Install at with pacman -S at and enable the daemon with sudo systemclt start atd and sudo systemclt enable atd

Create the first job by specifying the time when the job should execute and then typing the actual commands

$ at now +1min
at> mkdir /home/backup
at> cp -r ~/ /home/backup/

Finally type CTRL + D to save

From the man page, at usage is very simple

  • You can inspect at’s queue with atq
  • With at -c JOB_NUMBER you can inspect the command environment and other useful information
  • To remove a job just use atrm JOB_NUMBER
  • To job can be create from a file with at -f FILE_NAME

It’s also possible to create batch that are multiple jobs executed the system average drop is below $0.8$


User cron jobs are specific to and can be managed by a user, are stored in /var/spool/cron/USER/. While system cron job are sore in /etc/cron.d

The form of the file is the same MINUTE HOUR DAY MONTH DAY_OF_WEEK command_to_run The value can be listed V1,V2,V3, ranges can be used V1-V5, step value are valid */10 (ranges and step value can be combine 1-9/2). Minutes are in the range $1-59$, hours in $0-23$, days in $1-31$, month $1-12$ and day of the week in the range $0-6$ with $0$ being sunday.

The command to manage cron jobs is crontab

To create a cronjob that has to be run by root just use sudo crontab -e to add a new entry, and before specifying the command, indicate the user that should run it M H D MONTH DW USER command.

To run a command on a hourly/daily/weekly/monthly basis it’s sufficient to place the command in etc/cron.FREQUENCE/

As user administrator it’s possible to specifically allow/deny a user to create cron and at jobs by adding the desired username to etc/cron.deny or atc/cron.allow (same format for at)

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