I'm trying to kill a screen session. I noticed a lot of other related questions, but none of those answers are working for me. I am trying to kill the following session:

screen -ls
There is a screen on:
    23520.pts-6.porkypig    (09/30/2013 02:49:47 PM)    (Detached)
1 Socket in /var/run/screen/S-root.

screen -r 23520.pts-6.porkypig

Now I am in the session. According to the documentation:


I am supposed to press "control a" and then "control \". I do that and nothing happens.

Another solution said to press Ctrl+a and type :quit. However, again it doesn't do anything. In fact, pressing control+a, absolutely nothing happens afterwards except a message "No Other Window"

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    in screen v4.x, to kill all sessions, ps aux | grep "SCREEN" | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill – Fredrick Gauss Nov 28 '14 at 7:33
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    For the record, you can just do screen -r porkypig or screen -r 23520, rather than having to include the full string. Screen names are supposed to make things easier, not more complicated. – Mikkel Sep 26 '16 at 14:52

first you need to re attach to the screen session
screen -r 23520 as you have done. Then press ctrl + a and then a k and press y when it asks if you really want to kill the session


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    This works if there is a problem with a process running inside the screen, but not if there is a problem with screen itself. That is the case 99% of the time, and has the added benefit of only affecting a single window within the screen rather than terminating all windows. – Mikkel Sep 26 '16 at 14:51
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    It is to kill a window, not a session – Eric Wang Aug 10 '19 at 0:47

You can quit that screen without attaching to it. First, find its session:

$ screen -ls

and then quit it:

$ screen -XS [session # you want to quit] quit

(-X = Execute command, -S session PID to execute on)



screen -XS 20411 quit
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    This was pretty simple. You can simplify it even more by combining the -X -S with -XS – AJ. Nov 10 '16 at 3:34
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    You should give credit to innaM answer if you copy it – Martin Thoma May 1 '17 at 14:47

So with all those official suggestions, lets just go for something easier, and just as effective, and kind of more straight forward.

pkill screen

Who wants to go into an unknown and un-needed screen just to press in a couple commands that most might barely remember? This avoids going into it at all, and kills it straight off.

Plus, if you have more than one, this will take them all in one fell swoop.

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    Note that this will kill all running screens, which may or may not be what you want. – Mikkel Sep 26 '16 at 14:57
  • Not a good choice. I've been doing it for some time. Sometimes it causes bad behaviors (e.g. logging out from your user account immediately). Also, as @Mikkel mentioned, it could cause to close all your screens, which would not be what you want. Sometimes you need to keep running some (e.g. some are running by system) and stop some other screens. – MAChitgarha Sep 4 '18 at 5:14

This will kill all the detached screens:

screen -ls | grep detached | cut -d. -f1 | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill

This will kill all screens, attached or detached

screen -ls | grep pts | cut -d. -f1 | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill
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Like you, I wanted to kill my screen session and found the documentation unhelpful. Convinced that there must be a keyboard shortcut, I found that
ctrl + a then \

I then get the prompt: "Really quit and kill all your windows [y\n]"

I am not sure why the documentation says ctrl + a then ctrl + \. That doesn't do anything for me.

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You can find the process id of the attached running screen. I found it same as the session id which you can get by command:
screen -ls
And you can use following command to kill that process:
kill [sessionId] or
sudo kill [sessionId]
You can kill the screen even if it is attached on some other terminal window.

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I encountered this problem when updating screen. The screen command would hang when attempting to reattach the session, regardless of how many -D or -R I added to the command. However, screen -ls conveniently provides the pid of the session, allowing you to intervene using the following:

10:42 user ~ $ screen -ls
There is a screen on:
        5730.my_screen     (Detached)
1 Socket in /tmp/screens/S-user.

10:42 user ~ $ sudo kill 5730

10:43 user ~ $ screen -ls
No Sockets found in /tmp/screens/S-user.

(This is similar to Brian Thomas's answer, but his will kill all running screen sessions, which may not be what you want if you have multiple screens open but only one misbehaving.)

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  • After 6 hours breaking my head all over internet... yours was the only answer that worked. Thanks mate! – kRazzy R Sep 30 '17 at 6:43

Press ctrl+d to kill screen window. Repeat this until you kill all screen windows. Once you ran out all windows screen will kill the session and terminating. Shortest solution if you not having many windows

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