Sometimes after having been away from my computer for a while, when I open tmux all the windows in a session have sort of a background highlight:

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Once I cycle through them, it disappears, and only the active window has an asterisk:

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Why does this happen, and is it possible fix it so the window labels never have a highlighted background?

  • It's illegible.You edit and rewtite your images. Nov 26, 2014 at 4:50
  • Generally, it is because a bell has been triggered in that window or pane...
    – jasonwryan
    Nov 26, 2014 at 5:04

1 Answer 1


From `man tmux':

 By default, the window list shows the index, name and (if
 any) flag of the windows present in the current session in ascending
 numerical order.  It may be customised with the window-status-format and
 window-status-current-format options.  The flag is one of the following
 symbols appended to the window name:

       Symbol    Meaning
       *         Denotes the current window.
       -         Marks the last window (previously selected).
       #         Window is monitored and activity has been detected.
       !         A bell has occurred in the window.
       ~         The window has been silent for the monitor-silence
       Z         The window's active pane is zoomed.

 The # symbol relates to the monitor-activity window option.  The window
 name is printed in inverted colours if an alert (bell, activity or
 silence) is present.

Since you didn't provide your .tmux.conf, it is hard to tell what triggers the alert. Try C-b : set-option -g monitor-activity off; set-option -g monitor-silence 0; set-option -g bell-action none and test if the problem persists. You could also forcefully disable the highlighting by adding window-status-activity-style none and window-status-bell-style none' to your.tmux.conf`.


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