Timeshift requests crontab

After updating the system I have just installed timeshift via

yay -S timeshift

Installation went fine but when I opened the application I get the error message:

Missing dependency
* crontab
Rest of the text is hard to read but looks like - please install required package.

Why do I need crontab, I don’t plan to use a cron service for making snaps? When it’s really a needed dependency why is it not automatically installed with timeshift?

By the way - I use xfce minimal edition.

Timeshift needs Cronie.

yay -S cronie

If you have Cronie installed, you need to enable Cronie. You can do that with:

sudo systemctl enable cronie.service
sudo systemctl start cronie.service

After that you can configure Timeshift and it will work.


A cron program, such as cronie, is needed if you want to schedule snapshots.

It used to work for manual snapshots without it. It seems that may have changed at some point.

You should probably report that to the AUR maintainer.


I haven’t used XFCE but I don’t think which desktop environment you’re using Timeshift should work right after install without a restart.

@dalto that would have to be very recent cause it’s been less than 2 weeks since I did this fresh install.

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I just tested it. It literally just refuses to run without the crontab command.

You can’t even use the command line.

Also, depending on how and what you installed, it is possible cronie was installed by the installer.


OK, thanks guys for the helpful info, I will think about it. I don’t like cronie to be honest…


You may be on to something. maybe timeshift-autosnap? cause I install timeshift, timeshift-autosnap, and grub-btrfs in that order. Then and only then do I launch Timeshift, run the wizard, and create the first snapshot.

If you’re using BTRFS you don’t need any cronjob for Timeshift, with rsync you need cronie that’s the difference.


I finally installed cronie via

yay -S cronie

but kept the cronie.service inactive as not needed to start timeshift:

$ systemctl status cronie.service
● cronie.service - Periodic Command Scheduler
     Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/cronie.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
     Active: inactive (dead)

1st snap taken!


Just out of interest, what is your reason for disliking cronie?

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I prefer to use systemd for timed services. All from one source.


Ah, okay, so it is a preference, I thought there was something that cronie does that i didn’t know about.


Just for fun I did some testing and it seems to only check that it can run the crontab command. An empty executable script named crontab seems to bypass the restriction if you don’t want cronie installed.


Still works with just manual snapshots

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tbh all this “automation c**p” does my head in sometimes. Manual snapshots are so much easier. We just have to get into the habit of doing them! rsync (or Grsync/sudo Grsync if you want a GUI) bypasses all of the nonsense surely? That’s all Timeshift and Back In Time and all the other stuff is doing anyway. If you want a basic level of automation just set up a cron schedule. Look it up in the Arch wiki!

Having said all that in my rant I still have Timeshift and BackInTime installed, but if they don’t play nice then I’ll just do it the old fashioned way :wink:

Not if we’re talking about btrfs-snapshots! :wink:

True! I’m running ext4 :smile:


I wasn’t implying that it didn’t work with manual snapshots. It is just that it requires the crontab command to be available to run, even if you are only doing manual snapshots.