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Dave Kopecek

The Blog That Time Forgot.

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Nothing makes you crankier than a flakey WIFI connection, right? What good is being able to work from anywhere you want if you can’t work from anywhere you want? I can’t fix your WIFI connection, but if your work takes you to the Linux command line I suggest you check out the screen command.


Screen lets you toggle between terminal screens or windows from a single ssh session. Drop your connection? No Problem. Log back in and re-attached (screen -r) to your running screen.

Screen is also just the ticket for long running processes. Pop into a screen, start the process, detach, log off and go get coffee. It’ll be there when you get back.

Quick And Dirty

Install with:

[root@machine ~] yum install screen

Screen Basics: Make / Switch / Detach / Re-Attach

[root@machine ~] screen
[root@machine ~] "ctrl-a" "c"  // make a new screen
[root@machine ~] "ctrl-a" "n"  // switch to next screen
[root@machine ~] "ctrl-a" "d"  // detach from screen on purpose
... or your connection drops...
[root@machine ~] screen -r     // reattach your screen

If you have many screens screen -r may give you a list. Reattach to your favorite like this:

[root@machine~] screen -r 12345.pts-0.machine

Screen Tutorial

Here’s fantactic tutorial appropriately titled How To Use Linux Screen. If you’re new to screen scroll down to the bottom and check out the video first. You’ll be up to speed in no time.

I use screen all the time, but if you google top linux commands it rarely makes the listicle hit parade. Is there some other command all the cool kids are using? Why? Bueller? Bueller?