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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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8.6.28 Console switching with screen

The screen program allows you to run multiple virtual terminals, each with its own interactive shell, on a single physical terminal or terminal emulation window. Even if you use Linux virtual consoles or multiple xterm windows, it is worth exploring screen for its rich feature set, which includes

  • scrollback history,

  • copy-and-paste,

  • output logging,

  • digraph entry, and

  • the ability to detach an entire screen session from your terminal and reattach it later.


8.6.28.1 Remote access scenario

If you frequently log on to a Linux machine from a remote terminal or using a VT100 terminal program, screen will make your life much easier with the detach feature.

  • You are logged in via a dialup connection, and are running a complex screen session with editors and other programs open in several windows.

  • Suddenly you need to leave your terminal, but you don't want to lose your work by hanging up.

  • Simply type ^A d to detach the session, then log out. (Or, even quicker, type ^A DD to have screen detach and log you out itself.)

  • When you log on again later, enter the command screen -r, and screen will magically reattach all the windows you had open.


  • 8.6.28.2 Typical screen commands

    Once you start screen, all keyboard input is sent to your current window except for the command keystroke, by default ^A. All screen commands are entered by typing ^A plus a single key [plus any parameters]. Useful commands:

         ^A ?     show a help screen (display key bindings)
         ^A c     create a new window and switch to it
         ^A n     go to next window
         ^A p     go to previous window
         ^A 0     go to window number 0
         ^A w     show a list of windows
         ^A a     send a Ctrl-A to current window as keyboard input
         ^A h     write a hardcopy of current window to file 
         ^A H     begin/end logging current window to file
         ^A ^X    lock the terminal (password protected)
         ^A d     detach screen session from the terminal
         ^A DD    detach screen session and log out
    

    This is only a small subset of screen's commands and features. If there's something you want screen to be able to do, chances are it can! See screen(1) for details.


    8.6.28.3 Backspace and/or Ctrl-H in screen session

    If you find that backspace and/or Ctrl-H do not work properly when you are running screen, edit /etc/screenrc, find the line reading

         bindkey -k kb stuff "\177"
    

    and comment it out (i.e., add "#" as the first character).


    8.6.28.4 Equivalent program to screen for X

    Check out xmove. See xmove(1).


    Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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      Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire