In Unix, what is screen, and how do I use it?
screen program allows
you to use multiple windows (virtual VT100 terminals) in Unix.
Note: UITS does not support
- If your local computer crashes, or you are connected via a
modem and lose the connection, the processes or login
sessions you establish through
screendon't go away. You can resume your
screensessions with the following command: screen -r In some cases you may have to manually "detach" your
screensession before resuming it. For more information, see the Knowledge Base document Using screen, why can't I re-attach to my session after a lost connection?
screenprogram creates multiple processes instead of multiple Unix login sessions, which means that it is resource-efficient.
- You can cut and paste between different screens without using a
mouse. Thus, you don't need to be on a computer with a windowing
environment such as Mac OS, Mac OS X, Windows,
or the X Window System.
- It has a block copy feature which is similar to the kill rectangle feature
- You can copy and paste more than one page at a time, which you
cannot do with some clients. You can scroll up more than one page,
depending on how many scrolling lines you have set with the
- Using the detach feature, you can save
screenprocesses when logging out and resume where you left off, saving the trouble of restarting them.
screen, enter the following command:
screen command begins with
||Create new window (shell)|
||Kill the current window|
||List all windows (the current window is marked with "*")|
||Go to a window numbered 0-9|
||Go to the next window|
||Toggle between the current and previous window|
||Start copy mode|
||Paste copied text|
||Help (display a list of commands)|
||Power detach and logout|
||Detach but keep shell window open|
Press the Spacebar or
Enter to end a command.
To copy a block
To get into copy mode, press
Ctrl-a [ .
To move the cursor, press the
k , and
l (the letter l) keys. The
0 (the number 0) or
(the caret) moves to the start of the line and
(the dollar sign) moves to the end of the line.
scrolls the cursor back one page and
forward one page. To set the left and right margins of copy, press
(Shift-c). The Spacebar starts selecting the text and ends selecting
the text. To abort copy mode, press
To paste a block
To paste the copied text to the current window (as many times as you want),
Ctrl-a ] .
To run a program or execute any Unix command in a new window, at the
Unix prompt, enter:
unixcommand with the appropriate command
To automatically start several windows when you run
screen, create a
.screenrc file in your home
directory and put
screen commands in it.
screen (kill all windows in the current session), press
The man pages for
screen are quite readable
and make a good tutorial. At the Unix prompt, enter:
At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?
Last modified on September 16, 2010.