How Do I Close a Screen Session?

Sometimes we execute multiple screen sessions in GNU Screen which necessitates cleanup. In this short guide, we will walk you through the options of closing a screen session but firstly, let’s understand some essential information about the screen.

What is a Screen?

A terminal multiplexer is referred to as screen. Multiple interactive shells of the physical terminal are multiplexed by the screen. It permits the user to perform several tasks running in each terminal. All of these independent screen sessions execute their programs. If you accidentally closed or get disconnected from any screen session, that process will run within the screen session.

For example, when upgrading an Ubuntu server via SSH, if your SSH session is terminated for any reason, the screen command will continue the upgrade process undoubtedly.

Here, we have provided you a list of important keyboard shortcuts for managing various nested sessions.

Function Keyboard Shortcut
Showing keybindings Ctrl+a ?
Ending session and terminating Screen Ctrl+a \
Closing the current session Ctrl+a X
Closing all sessions except the current one Ctrl+a Q
Splitting current region vertically into two regions Ctrl+a l
Splitting current region horizontally into two regions Ctrl+a S
Switching to session number 0 Ctrl+a ”
Switching to the previous session Ctrl+a p
Switching to the next session Ctrl+a n
Listing all sessions Ctrl+a 0

Now, we will demonstrate to you the complete procedure of closing an existing screen session. Before starting this, check out the below-given method for setting up some screen session.

$ screen -dmS my_session_1

$ screen -dmS my_session_2

Setting-up Screen Sessions

As a result of the command execution, two sessions will be initialized named “my_session_1”, and “my_session_2”.

Now, list out all screen sessions by writing out the following command:

$ screen -list

Here, the output will also give you information about the existing screen session, other than the newly created one.

One method of ending a session is to attach it first and then end it. We will follow this method in the upcoming section. We took “my_session_1” as an example, you can choose the session which you want to end.

Utilize the following command for checking related information about the “my_session_1” screen session.

screen -r my_session_1

Closing a Screen Session

Method 1:

Note the complete id of the screen session. After that, attach this screen session using the “-r” option in the screen command.

$ screen -r 62431.my_session_2

In your terminal, type “exit” to exit this screen session.

$ exit

As you can see, the output declares that the process is terminated successfully.

Method 2:

Another method of ending a screen session is to press “CTRL+a” combined with the “\” key while a session is attached.


The screen multiplexes numerous interactive shells of the physical terminal. It also allows its user to execute multiple tasks in each terminal simultaneously. There comes a case where cleanup is required and for that, you want to end a screen session. In this post, we have discussed two distinct methods for ending a screen session.

About the author

Talha Saif Malik

Talha is a contributor at Linux Hint with a vision to bring value and do useful things for the world. He loves to read, write and speak about Linux, Data, Computers and Technology.