I use screen as my window manager through putty. Screen has been great, but I need a way to increase my buffer when I run commands. I have no buffer when I scroll up, no std out is saved beyond my window size on any terminal.

How can I increase this I can't seem to find an option in the commands? Ctrl + a ? doesn't seem to have what I am looking for.


Do Ctrl + a : then enter scrollback 1234 sets your buffer to 1234 lines. You enter scrollback mode ("copy mode") with Ctrl + a Esc, then move in vi-style, leave copy mode with another Esc

  • Yes this definitely works, I just figured this out myself at the same time haha – Pythonic Mar 13 '17 at 14:23

I actually figured this out after looking through the man page. Setting the screen buffer inside .screenrc does work, but you can change it inside your screen session.

Ctrl-a + : and typing

scrollback 1000

gives you a 1000 line buffer.

You can also set the default number of scrollback lines in .screenrc by using

defscrollback 1000

Then entering copy mode will let you scroll around.


You actually do have something of a buffer, but it's invisible to most terminal emulators (which is why e. g. scroll bars don't appear to work). One way to get at it is to enter copy mode (Ctrl-A,[ followed by arrow keys, PgUp, et cetera). The size of this buffer can be configured in .screenrc. You you an change its allocation inside your screen session:

Ctrl-a + : and typing

scrollback 1000

gives you a 1000 line buffer.

  • That definitely sounds like a solution I will try this, I use Ctrl + a, Esc to get into copy mode personally, but they both work – Pythonic Mar 13 '17 at 13:29
  • @DopeGhoti Yes you can in a running session like with other commands; see other answers – Philippos Mar 13 '17 at 14:27
  • I noticed this. Updating my answer to incorporate this. – DopeGhoti Mar 13 '17 at 15:42

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