I know how to start a screen, and how to list different screens:

screen -ls

or to attach:

There are screens on:
        2477.pts-0.server1      (Detached)
        2522.pts-0.server1      (Detached)
2 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-root.

$ screen -r 2477.pts-0.server1

But what is the key combination to detach from a screen session and keep it running?

5 Answers 5


Ctrl+a followed by d. Note the lower case. The [screen manpage] has a long list of these shortcuts under "DEFAULT KEY BINDINGS".

  • 15
    I think that you mean <kbd>Ctrl-A<kbd> <kbd>d</kbd> (lowercase). The upper case (D) is 'powerdetach'.
    – Arcege
    Apr 25, 2012 at 0:23
  • 1
    yes, as @Arcege proposes, <Ctrl-A> <d> detaches from current screen session. Which worked for me. <Ctrl-A> <D> seemed to wait something else and received "detach aborted" message as soon as I pressed any other Key. If <Ctrl-A> <D><D> pressed you're detached and logout from ssh.
    – theme
    Jul 7, 2017 at 10:51

To list your sessions, run:

screen -list

You can run any command under screen command like:

screen myscript.sh

Then press Ctrl+a (release) and then d to detach the process/screen (so it'll continue to run).

To resume detached process, use:

screen -r

If you have multiple, then add the session number after that.

You can also re-attach to already Attached screen by screen -x. Useful to investigate why it's attached, share terminal with someone or to watch/check somebody what they're doing.

For more help, either run man screen or within the screen press Ctrl+a, release and then hit ? to see more shortcuts.

See also:


You'll probably see it listed like this in the screen man page:

^a - d

It's important the note the case of the letters as uppercase and lowercase will do different functions.


Some systems remove certain bindings by default. So it is best to look at the online keybinding page: Ctrl-a ?. You can also use the command prompt in screen: Ctrl-a :detach. Myself, I generally remove the key bindings for 'detach' and 'powerdetach', except on remote systems.

  • "Some systems remove certain bindings by default" <- worth the upvote! Jan 15, 2021 at 1:01

Create screen using this command: screen -S testscreen

List the screen using this command: screen -ls

Attache the screen using this command: screen -r testscreen

Attache the multipurpose screen using this command (if already others are attached with the same screen): screen -x testscreen

Detach the screen using this command: screen -X detach OR Ctrl+a+d

Kill the screen using this command: screen -XS testscreen kill

Terminate the attached screen using: Ctrl+d

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