Anacron or Cron

If you use cron to schedule jobs on a server that might be scheduled for shutdown and startup e.g. AWS or Cloud VPS server then anacron may be a better fit. In addition anacron would be better suited to a laptop/desktop computer.

From the man page:

Anacron can be used to execute commands periodically, with a frequency specified in days. Unlike cron(8), it does not assume that the machine is running continuously. Hence, it can be used on machines that aren’t running 24 hours a day, to control daily, weekly, and monthly jobs that are usually controlled by cron. When executed, Anacron reads a list of jobs from a configuration file, normally /etc/anacrontab (see anacrontab(5)). This file contains the list of jobs that Anacron controls. Each job entry specifies a period in days, a delay in minutes, a unique job identifier, and a shell command.

For example I use anacron to schedule an image of the disk with “Image for Linux” by TeraByte Unlimited – if the computer is not on or hasn’t ran for sometime anacron will take care of it.


I want to run an image job every 7 days and if my computer is not on during the 7th day, anacron will kick it off 20 minutes after the computer/server has started.

edit /etc/anacrontab

 7   20   /etc/ 

For Cron or crontab see

Man page for anacron: