Is there a way to take a "screenshot" of linux screen command. In other words can "screen -r" command to be called with the same behaviour as "top -b -n 1" - print contents once and exit.

Background - I have a screen process that's running on my server. I want to be able to show it's contents in web for example. Or take a snapshot and pass it to a script once in a while.

Maybe if there is a way to capture current console screen it'll work in screen.


You can get a 'hardcopy' of a screen session with the screen command 'hardcopy' An automated way to do this would be something like:

rm ~/hardcopy.0
screen -X -p0 hardcopy
tail -30 ~/hardcopy.0

It was also pointed out 'screen -X -p0 hardcopy -h /tmp/out.txt' might be more useful. That version will copy the entire scrollback buffer into /tmp/out.txt instead of some ~/hardcopy.<number>

  • I guess that hardcopy will contain all the data that has ever been in screen. That could be a lot. Also the screen contains positioning data. It's not just log. Like pv (ivarch.com/programs/pv.shtml). – NickSoft Mar 27 '15 at 16:51
  • Or do I get he "hardcopy" command wrong. I tried your command line but it didn't create hardcopy.0 file. What am I doing wrong – NickSoft Mar 27 '15 at 16:59
  • 1
    Try using the hardcopy command natively, i.e. Ctl-A : hardcopy That should pop up a message on your status bar, like "Screen image written to hardcopy.0" Then exactly what you see in your active window screen session should be in ~/hardcopy.0 – Corvar Mar 27 '15 at 17:07
  • I'm sorry. Hardcopy is exactly what I need. I didn't understand how it works. It's creating the "screenshot" in directory where screen was started. Could you add "-h" option to be helpful to others: screen -X hardcopy -h /path/to/hardcopy.txt -p <pid> – NickSoft Mar 27 '15 at 17:08
  • It saves it in the initial directory that screen was started. There is a "hardcopydir" command that sets the directory for future screenshots. – NickSoft Mar 27 '15 at 17:14

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