A tool named “cron-apt” is available for Debian to automatically upgrade packages at a given interval. By default it will only update the package list and download new packages without installing them onto your system. You will need to install the software and configure it using these directions. First install “cron-apt” with the command “apt-get install cron-apt”


# apt-get install cron-apt
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information… Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 25.0kB of archives.
After this operation, 98.3kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://debian.uchicago.edu lenny/main cron-apt 0.6.7 [25.0kB]
Fetched 25.0kB in 0s (62.3kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package cron-apt.
(Reading database … 33680 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking cron-apt (from …/cron-apt_0.6.7_all.deb) …
Processing triggers for man-db …
Setting up cron-apt (0.6.7) …


Next open the /etc/cron-apt/config file with your preferred text editor and uncomment the following lines from the configuration file.


export PATH=/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin


The default interval for cron-apt is to start the update at 4am every day. To change the time interval for each update open the /etc/cron.d/cron-apt file and edit the following line to your liking. For instruction how to set a crontab interval please see our knowledge base for further instruction.


0 4    * * *    root    test -x /usr/sbin/cron-apt && /usr/sbin/cron-apt


The cron-apt package will upgrade your packages to the latest available.