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Screen is an application that allows you to create multiple shell sessions. When you open a new shell session using screen, screen creates a new process in the background. Even if you leave this session with the "Ctrl + a + d" combination, the screen command continues to run the session in the background. It allows you to connect to the same session again later.
This article covers Screen command setup and "How to Use Screen on Linux?" includes topics.
Installing Screen utility on Linux
The setup on Redhat based operating systems(Fedora, Centos, AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux,etc) is as follows:
sudo dnf -y install screen
In older versions:
sudo yum -y install screen
In Debian-based operating systems (Ubuntu, Pardus, Linux Mint, Kali Linux, etc.) it is as follows:
sudo apt install screen -y
In older versions:
sudo apt-get install screen -y
On Gentoo Linux:
sudo emerge -a sys-apps/screen
On Arch Linux:
sudo pacman -S screen
On Arch Linux:
sudo zypper install screen
How to Use Screen on Linux?
The screen command is most often used to ensure that a long-running script does not terminate even if the terminal is closed.
After installation, you can login to the application by typing screen in the terminal:
To end the Screen session, you must type exit while logged in:
foc@fedora:~$ exit foc@fedora:~$ screen [screen is terminating]
10 Common Screen Command Examples
Let's explain the 10 most used screen commands you will need, with examples.
1. List Screen Sessions
These two commands can be used to list previously opened screen sessions. Both give the same screen output:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -list There is a screen on: 9846.pts-6.fedora (Attached) 9316.golinuxcloud (Attached) 9074.pts-1.fedora (Attached) 3 Sockets in /run/screen/S-foc.
foc@fedora:~$ screen -ls There are screens on: 9846.pts-6.fedora (Attached) 9074.pts-1.fedora (Attached) 2 Sockets in /run/screen/S-foc.
2. Connect to previous screen session
Type the session you want to connect from the listed screen sessions as follows:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -a -r 9074.pts-1.fedora
3. Close the open screen session
The -X and -S parameters are used to end the open session. The session id is followed by "quit":
foc@fedora:~$ screen -X -S 9074.pts-0.fedora quit
4. Switching between screen sessions
To switch between sessions,
- CTRL + a + n: Connects to the next session.
- CTRL + a + p: Returns to the previous session
5. Name the newly opened session
In the new screen session, give a name with the -S parameter. This name can define the work done in that session.
foc@fedora:~$ screen -S golinuxcloud
Then you can see the session opened with this name:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -ls There are screens on: 13350.golinuxcloud (Attached) 11997.pts-3.fedora (Attached) 2 Sockets in /run/screen/S-foc.
6. Detach last screen session (Screen Disconnect)
"CTRL + A + D" does the same job as the key combination. After this command, the session ends.
foc@fedora:~$ screen -d 13350.golinuxcloud [13350.golinuxcloud detached.]
The latest status of the session is as follows:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -ls There are screens on: 13350.golinuxcloud (Detached) 11997.pts-3.fedora (Attached)
7. Reattach the screen session
It is used to reattach a screen session which was detached in past. Let's connect to the 13350.golinuxcloud session:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -d 13350.golinuxcloud
The latest status of the session:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -ls There are screens on: 13350.golinuxcloud (Attached) 11997.pts-3.fedora (Attached)
8. Lock the Screen Session
If you want to lock the Screen session at that moment, use the CTRL + a + x switch combination.
Screen used by foc <foc> on fedora. Password:
9. Take the log of the Screen session
Use the -L parameter when starting the Screen session. The screenlog.0 file will be formed in the directory where you started the session.
foc@fedora:~$ screen -L
foc@fedora:/tmp$ ls -la screenlog.0 -rw-r--r--. 1 foc foc 72 Oct 24 20:58 screenlog.0
10. Set the name of the window
Give the window a name with the "
-t" parameter. In previous sessions, the default "[Screen 0: Bash]" value is replaced with the new value. The image of the window in the last case:
When it is in the screen session, CTRL+A activates switch connections. Some are as follows:
key binding ? Show key bindings. A Set a title for the current window. c Create a new window. n Switch to the next window. p Switch to the previous window. 0-9 Switch to window number n. w Show a list of windows. " Present a list of windows for selection. F Resize the window to the current region size. [ or esc Enter copy/scrollback mode. k Destroy current window.
For more details about Screen, run the following command at the terminal:
foc@fedora:~$ screen -help Use: screen [-opts] [cmd [args]] or: screen -r [host.tty] Options: -a Force all capabilities into each window's termcap. -A -[r|R] Adapt all windows to the new display width & height. -c file Read configuration file instead of '.screenrc'. -d (-r) Detach the elsewhere running screen (and reattach here). -dmS name Start as daemon: Screen session in detached mode. ...
You should also check screen alternative in newer distributions i.e List of 50+ tmux cheatsheet and shortcuts commands
linux.die.net - Screen-Linux man page