screen – For Command Line Terminal Switching

The screen command is a terminal multiplexer that allows you to create multiple virtual terminals within a single terminal window or remote session. It is a powerful tool for managing multiple terminal sessions and can be useful for remote administration, running long-running processes, and working on multiple projects simultaneously.


Starting a Screen Session

To start a new screen session, simply type screen into your terminal. This will create a new virtual terminal within your current terminal window.

$ screen

Detaching from a Screen Session

To detach from a screen session, use the Ctrl-a d keyboard shortcut. This will return you to your original terminal session without closing the screen session.

Reattaching to a Screen Session

To reattach to a screen session, use the screen -r command. If you have multiple screen sessions running, you can specify which session to attach to by specifying the session ID.

$ screen -r

Creating a Named Screen Session

You can create a named screen session by using the -S option followed by the session name. This can be useful for managing multiple screen sessions and makes it easier to reattach to a specific session.

$ screen -S mysession

Listing Active Screen Sessions

To list all active screen sessions, use the screen -ls command. This will display a list of all active screen sessions along with their session IDs and names (if applicable).

$ screen -ls

Killing a Screen Session

To kill an active screen session, use the screen -X -S <session-id> quit command. This will terminate the specified screen session.

$ screen -X -S mysession quit


The following table lists all available options for the screen command:

Option Description
-S <session-name> Create a named screen session
-r <session-id> Reattach to a specific screen session
-ls List all active screen sessions
-X -S <session-id> quit Kill an active screen session

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you are having trouble detaching from a screen session, make sure that you are using the correct keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-a d).
  • If you are unable to reattach to a screen session, make sure that the session is still active and that you are specifying the correct session ID.
  • If you are experiencing issues with screen sessions not starting or terminating unexpectedly, try updating your version of the screen command.


  • The screen command is a powerful tool for managing multiple terminal sessions, but it can have a steep learning curve for beginners.
  • When using screen sessions for remote administration, make sure to properly secure your connection to prevent unauthorized access.