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Is there a way in screen to turn off the status bar? Ideally, only display it when I have 2+ tabs open? What .screenrc entries would accomplish this?

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There are a couple of ways you can get a "status bar" that I can think of:

One status bar is the caption. It normally only appears with multiple windows (split screen), this setting is caption splitonly. The always-there version is caption always. It doesn't seem to have a way to tie it to the number of screens ("tabs") open. If it goes away by hitting your command character (^a) and typing :caption splitonly then that was what you're looking at, and putting caption splitonly in your .screenrc will get rid of it.

The other status bar is the hardstatus which refers to the terminal's "hardware status" line. This one usually gets displayed in the title bar of your window, but it could be forced to the bottom of the terminal with the setting hardstatus alwayslastline. Setting hardstatus off turns it off. This is always either "on" or "off".

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sweet! "caption splitonly" is exactly what I wanted. Knowing about the vim-style <escape-key> + ":caption splitonly" was bonus, too. –  Aaron F. Dec 15 '10 at 6:16

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