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As the man page states, Screen is a full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical terminal between several processes (typically interactive shells). A process (shell or command like ls) can be attached to the screen command/session. The screen session won't die or exit until terminated by the attached command/shell. This is useful when working over a flaky network connection. Screen can multiplex commands into a single window so it makes it convenient to open new shell sessions in the same window.


Starting a screen session

You can start a new screen session just by typing 'screen' command. You can name your screen session using -S option as follows:

screen -S screen-getting-started

Screen control keystrokes

Action Keystroke
Help menu Ctrl-a ?
Version Ctrl-a v
List windows Ctrl-a w
Scroll through windows Ctrl-a Ctrl-a
Rename window session Ctrl-a A
Detach from the screen session Ctrl-a d

Screen command options

Action Option
List screen sessions screen -list or screen -ls
Reattach to a screen session screen -r <session-name>

Adding configuration options to screenrc file

You can customize screen settings using command-line options or by creating a screenrc file. See Customization section in the man page for detailed options. See Red Hat magazine article for examples.

Logging screen window to a screenlog file

Screen can log it's window output to a screenlog file. This can be done by invoking screen with -L option.

Viewing screenlog file

Screen log file contains escape characters and hence it's not directly human readable. You can get pretty output using less command with -R or -r options. See stackoverflow answers for hints.