Byobu looks very broken in PuTTY. I've already fixed the key mapping issue, but this issue isn't specified in the man page or even Google:

Broken PuTTY Console

Notice the misplaced position of the list of windows, the broken selector position, the duplication of the last window, the random a in the top right, and the misplaced apply option. You can't see this, but the last option is not selectable.

Is there some option in PuTTY I need to use in order to see this correctly?

  • If someone wants to create the putty tag, that would be nice – TheLQ Dec 10 '10 at 23:48
  • I don't have Windows anymore, so I can't test, but I would look into the charset settings of PuTTY. – JanC Dec 11 '10 at 2:27
  • 1
    Screen is great - you just need to have a decent .screenrc – Marco Ceppi Dec 11 '10 at 17:55

Configure putty to read utf8. putty -> config -> window -> translation choose utf in "Recieved data in ..." This is not a byobu issue, it is a putty issue.

See also:

  • 1
    Agreed. Note that this is specified in the byobu.1 manpage. – Dustin Kirkland Feb 22 '12 at 15:46

Related to Putty, I added this note to the byobu(1) manpage a while back:

> PuTTY  users have reported that the
> F2, F3, and F4 shortcut keys are not
> working properly.  PuTTY sends the
> same escape sequences as the linux
> console for F1-F4 by default.  You can
> fix this problem in the PuTTY config,
> Terminal -> Keyboard -> Function keys:
> Xterm R6.


  • I've already done that to make Byobu at least usable. – TheLQ Jan 11 '11 at 20:41
  • Just to confirm what I said above for anyone else who comes along: I meant that the screenshot above is with putty in Xterm R6 mode. So this isn't a fix for this problem. – TheLQ Jan 19 '11 at 2:05

Ubuntu uses UTF-8 for its terminal, but byobu appears to use the "ISO-8859-1 (Western European)" charset for it menus. You can set the charset in Window -> Translation.

I've found the following code on the Internet, and I'm still happy with it. byobu might have more options, but I like this as well (~/.screenrc):

startup_message off
hardstatus alwayslastline
hardstatus string '%{= kG}[ %{G}%H %{g}][%= %{=kw}%?%-Lw%?%{r}(%{W}%n*%f%t%?(%u)%?%{r})%{w}%?%+Lw%?%?%= %{g}][%{B}%Y-%m-%d %{W}%c %{g}]%{w} %l'
shelltitle "$ |bash"
termcapinfo xterm ti@:te@
altscreen on

Note: for byobu, shelltitle "$ |bash" must be removed / commented, otherwise byobu won't work.

  • Putty seems to default to ISO-8859-1:1998 (Latin-1, West Europe), so thats not the issue. Switching to UTF-8 made the terminal extremely slow but fixed the menu. What is that code supposed to do though? Didn't change anything in byobu – TheLQ Dec 11 '10 at 15:00
  • By default, screen provides you just a shell with multiple (invisible) tabs. With that code, you can have a fancy shell, with on the bottom a (colored) bar like [ computername ][ 0$ bash 1-$ bash (2*$bash) ][2010-12-11 16:24 ] 1.30 1.40 1.43. – Lekensteyn Dec 11 '10 at 15:25

So for byobu to look good in putty you should actually make two changes.

First is change your keyboard to xterm-R6 as already mentioned, but second, on your linux machine run the command as your normal user: byobu-select-backend and then choose the option screen (usually 2).

Should work great now! Enjoy!


It worked for me (fit for Putty - temporary):

Window -> Translation -> Remote character set: DEC-MCS

For a definitive solution in your application:

  1. add in file .bashrc (for olny current user) or add in etc/bash.bashrc (for all users)


  1. make sure you have:

    • sudo apt-get -install ncurses

    • sudo apt-get install libncursesw5-dev

  2. Add in code: #include <locale.h> #include <ncurses.h> //change curses ------------------------------------- //add in main setlocale(LC_TYPE, "");

  3. Compile the application with -lncursesw, something like this:

    gcc -o arquivo arquivo.c -lncursesw

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