Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I type Ctrl-X X (sic) in screen, the session is locked. What is the default password? Is it the same password which I use to log in to linux?

I ask because: I connect to several different remote linux servers via ssh, under various flavours of linux/unix, and have screen sessions running on all of them. When I lock the screen session and type my password, sometimes it works and on other installations it does not work and I therefore don't know what the password is (so I have to "quit" that screen session externally).

So, what is the default password of screen?

P.S.: I am never root. Version of screen used: Screen version 4.00.03 (FAU) 23-Oct-06

share|improve this question

migrated from Oct 7 '11 at 10:58

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

I expect it depends on whether screen is in a login shell, and whether login is enabled for screen – sehe Oct 7 '11 at 9:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The screen password has always been simply the system password of the user running it in my experience. the manpage says that if there's a screen lock program available, it will be used if configured so. So maybe you would need to figure out if this is the case, and how that program behaves.

share|improve this answer
For how to configure a custom lock program, see also – tripleee Jan 22 at 7:27
And what if the user has no password and you use an SSH key to login? – Cerin Jan 27 at 0:40
I think then the user should not lock his screen; he might not be able to login again afterwards... – jpjacobs Jan 30 at 9:55
@jpjacobs: Alas, It's not always the user's choice:… – deltab Feb 5 at 14:28

I sometimes find myself in the same situation, on servers where I have SSH public-key login and thus no password at all (that I know), and struggle to remember what I did last time to recover.

There is no need to kill the screen. Just disconnect the terminal you are running screen in, then open a new terminal window and reattach (screen -r).

Maybe as a precaution, add bind x to your .screenrc so that the lock keystroke is unbound. In an already running screen, use ctrl-A : bind x.

share|improve this answer
Ah, simple but perfect - thanks! – Leonard Challis Jul 9 '15 at 11:53

the password of the user that owns the screen process.

share|improve this answer
What do you do when there is no password? I use a passwordless SSH key to login to my server and screen still asks me for a password... – Cleber Goncalves Feb 27 '14 at 8:19
using a phrase-less ssh key (bad idea btw, look into ssh-agent) isn't the same as having no password. screen will want whatever the users password is on the remote system in /etc/shadow – Sirex Feb 27 '14 at 17:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.