In a terminal window any smaller than fullscreen, if I type in a long command it starts overwriting the current line I'm on. If I type an additional line's worth, it finally moves to the next line. Does anyone know how to fix this?

This is what happens visually:

terminal screenshot

Edit: These are my prompt settings:

PS1='\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\033[1m`__git_ps1`\033[0m\$ '


if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$ '
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\033[1m`__git_ps1`\033[0m\$ '

# If this is an xterm set the title to user@host:dir
case "$TERM" in
    PS1="\[\e]0;${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h: \w\a\]$PS1"

3 Answers 3


For some reason the terminal size is mis-reporting. It should change when you resize the terminal.

Try this in your .bashrc command file:

# check the window size after each command and, if necessary,
# update the values of LINES and COLUMNS.
shopt -s checkwinsize
  • It looks like this was already in my .bashrc file. Running shopt shows that checkwinsize is on.
    – Matt Baer
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 19:48
  • Hmm, what are the values of LINES and COLUMNS when the text is messed up? Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 20:56
  • 3
    LINES is 24, COLUMNS is 80. Resizing the window does change these values, but the text is still messed up.
    – Matt Baer
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 15:39
  • Ah. OK, I suspect the setting for the PROMPT now. Can you post the values of PS1 and TERM. In fact, post the line defining PS1 in .bashrc Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 20:41
  • I updated the question with these answers.
    – Matt Baer
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 15:43

I found the answer here. The answer with the most votes solved it for me.

To sum it up I had to wrap my formats in \[ \]
export PS1='\[\033[1;32m\]$(whoami)@$(hostname): \[\033[0;37m\]$(pwd)$ \[\033[0m\]'


For those using PuTTY terminal (v0.67) and terminal size is not updated correctly:

  1. You can right click on the window's left hand icon, then select Change Settings....
  2. Within PuTTY Reconfiguration, from left hand sidebar, click on Window > Set the size of the window > Columns.
  3. Update the Columns value manually. I changed mine to 255 and that stopped the terminal overwriting on its own line (when I type).

menu screenshot

settings screenshot

  • Note that Windows applications are technically off-topic here, but this is fine for the sake of people SSH-ing into Ubuntu installs.
    – wjandrea
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 3:56

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