is it somehow possible to check if I'm right now in screen session? I need it to determine if hitting ctrl+d would disconnect me from server or just close current screen. Thanks.

up vote 86 down vote accepted

You can look at the $STY variable (a variable set by the screen command). If it is not "" then you are in a screen session.

I am in screen

$ echo $STY 

I am not in screen

$ echo $STY

  • 10
    This presumes that you are still within a running session on the local computer. If you start up screen and then SSH somewhere else, this won't work. – David Mackintosh Apr 11 '11 at 3:05
  • Works well, thanks! – crodjer Aug 6 '14 at 9:34
  • 1
    if test -n "$STY"; then printf "This is a screen session named '$STY'.\n"; else printf "This is NOT a screen session.\n"; fi – aggregate1166877 Sep 19 '15 at 17:08
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    @DavidMackintosh if you're SSH'd into somewhere else, hitting ctrl-D will "disconnect me from server", which is exactly what the question asks about. – womble Aug 11 '16 at 8:24
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    @aggregate1166877 I have this if you posted as an alias in every single machine that I use now. – Eduardo Bezerra Sep 10 '16 at 12:32

You can look at the $TERM variable.

echo $TERM

If it's a screen session, the term variable should return "screen".

root@deore:/volumes# echo $TERM

Ctrl-a -d (to exit screen)

root@deore:/volumes# echo $TERM

Also check:

  • 2
    This presumes that you are not deliberately messing with your TERM value for some reason. – David Mackintosh Apr 11 '11 at 3:04
  • If you're changing your TERM variable while inside screen, you're inviting all sorts of trouble on yourself. – womble Aug 11 '16 at 8:24
  • Well my Solaris 2.6 nodes don't play nice with TERM values set to screen values. – David Mackintosh Aug 11 '16 at 17:56
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    "$TERM" = "screen" seems to be preserved when entering sudo environment, unlike the $STY option. – Melebius Dec 13 '16 at 10:00

Unless you have changed the default key bindings, you can do Ctrl-a Ctrl-t, which will show the time, if you are in screen. This will work even if you have ssh:d away somewhere else, unlike the other suggestions.

  • 3
    Why are we not upvoting this. – AndreKR Mar 6 '14 at 2:36
  • This is definitely the best solution here. – Felix Jen Aug 11 '16 at 7:22
  • How is this the best solution? What if you're not in screen, and ^A^T is the key sequence for "nuke your homedir" in the program you're currently running? – womble Aug 11 '16 at 8:25
  • @womble If you are in an unknown program that may do random destructive things as a response to key sequences and commands, then nothing is safe. – Gurgeh Aug 12 '16 at 8:55

The caption command in the ~/.screenrc is a nice way to differentiate a screen session.

I'm personally using this:

$ cat ~/.screenrc
caption always "%{= kc}Screen session on %H (system load: %l)%-28=%{= .m}%D %d.%m.%Y %0c"

It adds a line like this one at the bottom of the screen:

Screen session on gbook (system load: 1,75 1,74 1,68)                   Lun 05.01.2015 13:01

With the first part (system name + load) in green and the date in pink. Useful and hard to miss!

  • This is perfect! It does not get in the way (bottom position), it is always visible (and colored) and provides useful info about system. I posted this here also – hrvoj3e Apr 23 '17 at 12:22

I have found another solution:
Modify your .screenrc, so my screen session looks completely different from normal terminal.

screen -ls

to view your sessions and

screen -r sessioninfo

to reconnect to a disconnected one, if detached.

screen -D -r sessioninfo

to reconnect to a disconnected one.

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question. – womble Aug 11 '16 at 8:22

Do a screen -ls. It's going to explicitly indicate Attached versus Detached status.

Example attached:

$ screen -ls | grep tached
3132.pts-0.esavo00      (Attached)

Example detached:

$ screen -ls |grep tached
3132.pts-0.esavo00  (Detached)
  • 6
    if there are screens attached somewhere else this might be an issue. – Dennis Nolte Apr 29 '15 at 9:15

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