I have a ~/.screenrc file that contains the following lines:

# 2.2) hardstatus = navigation bar @ bottom
hardstatus alwayslastline "%H %-Lw%{= BW}%50>%n%f* %t%{-}%+Lw%<"  

I have to admit that I don't know about the magical syntax there, but it has worked on countless Ubuntu machines to show something like this at the bottom of my terminals: screenshot

That line only shows up, of course, when I'm actually running the screen command in the terminal.

I just installed Ubuntu 12.04.5 server amd64 on VirtualBox 4.2 and I'm not seeing that status bar at the bottom of my screen. The .screenrc file is exactly the same as it is on my other machines.

What could be going on?

  • I'm having a very similar problem. The difference is that I use hardstatus alwaysfirstline to show the status in the top line, and I use caption always ... to show a detailed info on the current window in the bottom line. The caption thing works in Ubuntu 14.04, while the hardstatus thing doesn't, while the same .screenrc file works totally fine in Linux Mint 18.2. It looks though that the version of screen on Ubuntu 14.04 doesn't support 'alwaysfirstline' option for hardstatus... Nov 20, 2017 at 13:11
  • In my case, the status bar was visible after I killed all current screen sessions and stated a new session.
    – user13107
    Apr 16, 2018 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


As you've stated, your status line works fine in my own .screenrc - good lookin', too.

From within a new screen session, enter ^a to initiate command mode, then enter source $HOME/.screenrc (I've seen ~ fail to work in some instances).

If that doesn't work, again from command mode, enter echo $HOME to see where GNU screen thinks your home directory lies.


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