I recently changed the uid of my linux account (the reason for this change lies in the need to have a precise uid to access files on a mounted drive). Since then, I cannot access my crontab. After typing:

crontab -e

I get the error message:

crontabs/my_login/: fopen: Permission denied

I investigated the permissions associated to the file /usr/bin/crontab, it is:

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root my_login 35984 Feb  9  2013

However, if I look at the id of my_login, I get:

uid=11375(my_login) gid=1000(my_login) groups=1000(my_login),4(adm),24(cdrom),27(sudo),30(dip),46(plugdev),107(lpadmin),110(sambashare)

I can see something seems wrong with the gid but I am not sure what to do from this point...

1 Answer 1


Your permissions are incorrect for the crontab file. What it should be is like the following:

-rwxr-sr-x 1 root crontab 35984 Feb  9  2013 /usr/bin/crontab

To set your crontab to the above permissions, first change the ownership:

sudo chown root:crontab /usr/bin/crontab

Then set the permissions:

sudo chmod 2755 /usr/bin/crontab

That should set your crontab to the correct permissions to run.


Also, take a look at the /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ folder, you should see something similar to the following:

terrance@terrance-ubuntu:~$ sudo ls -al /var/spool/cron/crontabs/
total 16
drwx-wx--T 2 root     crontab 4096 Dec 17 22:08 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 root     root    4096 Dec  1 07:24 ..
-rw------- 1 root     crontab 1185 Dec 17 22:08 root
-rw------- 1 terrance crontab 1130 Dec 17 21:47 terrance

Pay attention to your username. If it doesn't have the proper ownership, change it by typing in the following:

sudo chown username:crontab /var/spool/cron/crontabs/username

And if permissions need to be set on that file:

sudo chmod 600 /var/spool/cron/crontabs/username

Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for your answer, however it did not fix my problem. I now have the permissions you mention : {-rwxr-sr-x 1 root crontab 35984 Feb 9 2013 crontab*} but I still get "permssion denied" after typing "crontab -e"
    – Alain
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:25
  • @Alain Edited my answer for the spool file permissions as well. Hope I can help you get this fixed. =)
    – Terrance
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:41
  • @Alain Not a problem. Glad it is working for you! =)
    – Terrance
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:46
  • 1
    I also had to run: sudo chmod g+w /var/spool/cron/crontabs; sudo chown root:crontab /var/spool/cron/crontabs - for some reason on DietPi /var/spool/cron/crontabs was owned by root:root.
    – Hackeron
    Jun 12, 2017 at 12:39

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