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I have attached the HD from another machine as /temp_volume.

I would like to edit the root user's crontab on the attached hard drive. As I understand it the crontab file is located in /temp_volume/var/spool/cron/crontabs/root.

After I have edited the crontab file, I plan to put the HD back in the other machine and turn it on. I do not want the other machine to start up with the crontab "as is". Otherwise, I would just log into that machine and run "crontab -e" as root.

Is it acceptable to edit this file with "vim" or any other standard text editor to update the attached drive's root crontab?

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Check that /temp_volume/var/spool/cron/crontabs/root exists. On modern Ubuntu systems, root's crontab is in /etc/crontab (/temp_volume/etc/crontab in your case) and has a different format. See man 5 crontab.

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