Guide to symsched Command-line Switches

Article:TECH105502  |  Created: 2008-01-29  |  Updated: 2013-11-08  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution


You would like to use command-line symsched (Symantec Scheduler for Macintosh) to schedule jobs on your SAV for Macintosh or SEP for Mac client, but you find the information you get when you type 'symsched' at the command prompt to be unclear.


Macintosh OS X

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) for Macintosh, versions 12.1 RU3 and older.


NOTE: symsched is found only in SEP 12.1 RU3 for Macintosh and older. SEP 12.1 RU4 and newer no longer uses symsched or integration with crontab.


symsched -V show version info
symsched -h print this message
symsched -l [-U] list all scheduled tasks (-U => unformatted)
symsched -d <name> | all delete named tasks or all tasks

To add a new task:

symsched [-f] module "name" on UI frequency [day] time arguments
Optional argument for add: -f forces overwrite of existing task with same module and name

Required arguments for add/edit:

module is either VirusScan or LiveUpdate.
name is a UTF8 string for the task name (escape shell special chars).
If a task already exists with the same module and name, an error will be generated unless the -f option is specified.
Enclose name in quotation marks if the name has a space in it.
on is 1 if task is enabled, 0 if disabled.
UI is 1 if task is to be shown in Symantec Scheduler user interface (UI), 0 if not shown.
If running symsched as a sudo command, task will only show in the graphic UI if logged in as root user.
(This parameter introduced with symsched 4.0.1f1. If getting errors, check version (symsched -V). Leave this parameter out if version is earlier than 4.0.1f1.)
frequency is one of the localized or non-localized frequencies shown below:
non-localized: -monthly -weekly -daily -annually -hourly
localized: Monthly Weekly Daily Annually Hourly
Only enough characters are needed to guarantee uniqueness.
day is according to frequency:
for Monthly: day is day of month (1-28)
for Weekly: day is day of week (0=Sun 1=Mon...6=Sat 7=Sun)
for Daily: day not used (leave out)
for Annually: day is MM/DD date
for Hourly: day not used (leave out)
time is HH:MM in 24 hour format
for hourly the hour indicates the frequency (every HH hours), MM indicates what minute of the hour
arguments are according to the module:

for VirusScan: [-niceness [-20..20]] pathname [[pathname]...]
  • -niceness is optional, but a number (as given above) must follow this switch if used.
    Relates to the priority the scan is given, as far as processing power. Exact specifics are not known at this time.
  • pathname must at least be / for scanning the whole drive. If left out altogether, message "Error: no valid path specified" will occur.
    Enclose path in quotation marks if there is a space in path name.

for LiveUpdate: "All Products" | "LiveUpdate" | "Symantec AntiVirus" | "Virus Definitions" [-quiet]


1. To schedule LiveUpdate to check daily at 1pm for updates for everything, and to have it show in the Symantec Scheduler UI when the user who created the task is logged in, but to launch in the background quietly when it runs:

symsched LiveUpdate "Update All Daily" 1 1 -daily 13:00 "All Products" -quiet

2. To overwrite a scheduled virus scan called "Weekly Application Folder Scan" and set it to be weekly on Friday at 7am to scan only the contents of the Applications/Symantec Solutions folder with a lower than normal priority, and not have it show in the Symantec Scheduler UI:

symsched -f VirusScan "Weekly Application Folder Scan" 1 0 -w 5 07:00 -niceness -10 "/Applications/Symantec Solutions"

Technical Note 

The digits at the end of the listed “symsched –l” entries for scheduled virus scans do not relate to randomization or retry.  Those indicate what combinations of the folders (home - 1, applications - 2, library -4) are selected for that scan.  The number or combination tells SEP for Mac where to scan. 

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