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How to use the screen command: 2-Minute Linux Tips

Network World | Nov 1, 2019

In this Linux tip, learn how to use the screen command. It's a command that allows you to detach an SSH session and then reconnect to it.

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Hi, this is Sandra Henry-Stocker, author of the “Unix as a Second Language” blog on NetworkWorld.
In this Linux tip, we’re going to look at the screen command – a command that allows you to detach an SSH session and then reconnect to it.
The benefit of the screen command is that it ensures that any disruptions to your ssh session will not cause the process that you’re running to be terminated. You can start the process, detach the session and know that the process will continue running.
Let’s look at an example.
To start a screen session, just type screen. Notice how the command clears your screen. With the screen session started, I’m going to run a script that will take a very long time to finish.
When you’re ready to detach from your screen session, type Ctrl+AD (hold the control key while pressing A and then D).
To reattach, use the command screen -r.
When you’re ready to close a screen session, use Ctrl+D or type exit.
This example shows only the simplest use of the screen command. You can open multiple sessions and even give screen sessions names so that the various tasks that you’re running in the sessions are easier to manage.
To start a named screen session, type screen -S followed by the name you want to give the session.
Once you detach with Ctrl+AD, you can list your sessions with screen -ls and reattach with a command like screen -r longloop.
That’s your Linux tip for the screen command. If you have questions or would like to suggest a topic, please add a comment below. And don’t forget to subscribe to the IDG Tech(talk) channel on YouTube.
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