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Screen is a full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical terminal between several processes, typically interactive shells. Each virtual terminal provides the functions of the DEC VT100 terminal and, in addition, several control functions from the ANSI X3.64 (ISO 6429) and ISO 2022 standards (e.g., insert/delete line and support for multiple character sets). There is a scrollback history buffer for each virtual terminal and a copy-and-paste mechanism that allows the user to move text regions between windows. When screen is called, it creates a single window with a shell in it (or the specified command) and then gets out of your way so that you can use the program as you normally would. Then, at any time, you can create new (full-screen) windows with other programs in them (including more shells), kill the current window, view a list of the active windows, turn output logging on and off, copy text between windows, view the scrollback history, switch between windows, etc. All windows run their programs completely independent of each other. Programs continue to run when their window is currently not visible and even when the whole screen session is detached from the users terminal.


screen starts a new screen session

CTRL+a ? - Shows the help page

CTRL+a d - Detaches from the current screen, but leaves it running in the background. Use screen -r to re-attached to it. If there is more than one screen running, add the session ID to the end of it. For example, screen -r 1078

CTRL+a k - Kills the current screen. If another screen is running, it will move to it, otherwise it kills the screen and exits the screen session.

CTRL+a c - Create a new screen

CTRL+a A - Renames the current screen

CTRL+a " (double-quote) - Shows a list of active screens in the current session.

CTRL+a p , CTRL+a n - Go the the previous (CTRL+a p), or next (CTRL+a n) screen


  1. GNU Screen webpage
  2. phacks screen tutorial