Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have the following in my .screenrc file:

# Don't display the copyright page
startup_message off

# keep scrollback n line
defscrollback 5000

# setup some screens
screen -t top 0 top -o cpu -s 5
screen -t mysql 1 mysql -u root -p
screen -t shell_screen 2 cd ~/webroot
screen -t report_gen 3 tail -f ~/webroot/path/report_gen_log.txt

shelltitle "$ |bash"

#change the hardstatus settings to give an window list at the bottom of the
##screen, with the time and date and with the current window highlighted
hardstatus             alwayslastline
#hardstatus string '%{= mK}%-Lw%{= KW}%50>%n%f* %t%{= mK}%+Lw%< %{= kG}%-=%D %d %M %Y %c:%s%{-}'
hardstatus string '%{= kG}[ %{G}%H %{g}][%= %{= kw}%?%-Lw%?%{r}(%{W}%n*%f%t%?(%u)%?%{r})%{w}%?%+Lw%?%?%= %{g}][%{B} %d/%m %{W}%c %{g}]'

When I start up screen, only the first 2 screens are created.

What might be wrong?

I am runnong OSX, but I dont think that matters.

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Kyle is right -- that screen window 2 will fail because cd is a shell builtin. Even if it was a command, it would terminate immediately, and screen would close that window.

You can do something like this to get that to work:

screen -t shell_screen 2 bash -c "cd ~/webroot && bash"

The tail command (window 3) fails because of the "~" character. Screen does not do shell-style expansion, and so tail immediately fails (cannot open file) and terminates, and the screen windows is closed. Manually expand that ~ to the full path to your home directory, and that screen should work.

share|improve this answer
+1 For the better Answer :-) – Kyle Brandt Aug 6 '09 at 18:17
One addition to the tail issue: I'd suggest using '-F' instead of '-f' as it'll keep tailing even if the file is renamed, rolled, etc – morgant Aug 6 '09 at 18:19
Thxs worked perfect. I actually added the bash -c around all of the commands so if they are exited by accident, i don't loose the window. – Darryl Hein Aug 6 '09 at 19:24
Daryl, you can also use 'zombie qr' in your rc instead of running everything in bash -c. – Kyle Brandt Aug 6 '09 at 19:26

Not sure why the tail fails, but cd is a shell builtin, not a command, So you should get a no such command in window 2.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.