Basics of GNU Screen

Screen basics & navigation

  • (in terminal)  screen : begins screen
  • ctl-a c : creates a new terminal.
  • ctl-a n/p: toggle through open windows (previous, next)
  • ctl-a (#): select screens by their id
  • ctl-a “: shows all the sessions
  • ctl-a ‘: prompts for window name/number to switch to
  • ctl-a A: rename session
  • ctl-a ctl-a: switch to last used session

Multiple views

  • ctl-a S: split horizontally
  • ctl-a |: split vertically
  • ctl-a (tab): enter split window

Detaching/terminal interaction

  • ctl-a d: detach screen from window.
  • (in terminal) screen -r: reattach your screen.
  • (in terminal) screen -ls: list screens running


  • ctl-a M : waits for new output
  • ctl-a _ : waits for silence/no new output


  • ctl-a x: lock screen
  • ctl-a k: terminate
  • ctl-a ctl-\: kill all windows and terminate screen

On Passwords

  • look inside $HOME/.screenrc
  • (in terminal) mkpasswd (desired password) : creates password
    • copy the hashed output into .screenrc

Saving and logging

  • ctl-a h: all the existing text on screen will be saved in a text file.
  • ctl-a H: creates a log of everything you’re doing. type command again to stop logging.


Meta Information

  • ctl-a N: number/title of current window
  • ctl-a m: repeat last message


  • ctl-a a: sends ctl-a command to window (!! useful in cygwin)
  • ctl-a C: clear screen



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