I am trying to run an application as a systemd service inside a screen container.

When trying to start the service it fails with the error message:

screen[11648]: Directory '/run/screen' must have mode 777.

It looks like a simple error with a simple solution. When I change the permissions of /run/screen accordingly the service starts without problem.

But now when I try to attach the screen session (or run screen in any way as a normal user or as root) I get the error message.

Directory '/run/screen' must have mode 775.

Changing permissions obviously lets me run into the first error again and from there I could play cat and mouse with screen all day.

Screen version 4.05.00 (GNU) 10-Dec-16

The operating system is Debian 9 (server).

Is this a bug or am I doing something wrong? In any case, how do I get it to work?

  • I have exactly the same problem.
    – kounoupis
    Mar 24, 2020 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


I had the same problem trying to setup a minecraft server under systemd on Debian 9. No fix that I know of but here's a partial work-around. I added these lines to the unit configuration file:

ExecStartPre=/bin/chmod 777 /run/screen

So this will adjust the permissions as needed for the service to start. And I can set the permissions back to 775 whenever I need to use screen for myself.


Change NoNewPrivileges=true to NoNewPrivileges=false (or add that line if it doesn't exist in the [Service] section). This will allow screen to run in setgid mode, like it usually does, so it won't ask for 777 permissions.

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