To learn some server management I just created a new Ubuntu 12.04 server. Since I only had a root account I created a new user with adduser kramer65. I then switched to that user using su kramer65. I now want to run screen, so I typed screen and hit enter, after which I'm presented with this line:

Cannot open your terminal '/dev/pts/1' - please check.

And here I'm lost. Why doesn't it open screen, and what should I do with the very helpful tip "please check"?

All tips are welcome!

2 Answers 2


Turns out the problem was that I ssh'ed into the machine as root, then changed to the user kramer65 with su kramer65 and then tried to run screen, where screen can only be run by the user that logs in using ssh. So after I added kramer65 to the sudoers file with usermod -aG sudo kramer65 I could ssh into the machine as kramer65 and run screen with a big smile.

  • Don't forget to mark your own answer as 'the' answer... and thanks for posting the solution! I'll be sure to evernote this into my SysAdmin tool belt :-)
    – pepoluan
    Feb 22, 2014 at 16:20

There is a way around this without resorting to adding the user (kramer65 in this example) to the sudoers file. If you run script /dev/null right before attaching a screen session (or creating a new screen session), you should then be able to run your session without that error.

  • Yeah, this seems to work. You can run something like script /dev/null -c "screen ..." to run a command inside the screen.
    – mwfearnley
    Feb 5, 2020 at 13:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .