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I feel so stupid for asking this, but here goes:

I updated my Ubuntu (Server) install today from 13.10 to 14.04. Before the upgrade detaching from screen did not clear the terminal and now it does. Is there some configuration setting that handles this? I've never touched it. Current configurations in there look like this:

deflogin on
vbell on
vbell_msg "   Wuff  ----  Wuff!!  "
defscrollback 1024
bind ^\
bind \\ quit
bind K kill
bind I login on
bind O login off
bind } history
termcapinfo vt100 dl=5\E[M
hardstatus off
termcapinfo xterm*|rxvt*|kterm*|Eterm* hs:ts=\E]0;:fs=\007:ds=\E]0;\007
hardstatus string "%h%? users: %u%?"
termcapinfo xterm*|linux*|rxvt*|Eterm* OP
termcapinfo xterm 'is=\E[r\E[m\E[2J\E[H\E[?7h\E[?1;4;6l'
defnonblock 5

This is a remote server, no desktop GUI.

Before it was like (silly representation):

terminal commands
more terminal commands
even more terminal commands
*I attach to a screen*
[detached from somescreen]
I continue terminal work

After the upgrade the [detached from somescreen] is at the top of the window as if detaching does a /clear first, which is incredibly annoying. Is there an easy way to get bak to how it was?

I connect to the maching with Putty if that has any bearing at all on the issue (I assume it doesn't).

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Same issue here, it's really annoying. Also started after upgrading to 14.04 – Izkata Sep 12 '14 at 2:49

I believe I've found a solution. I'm not sure how correct it is, but it seems to work without issue, at least if you use xterm:

If I run export TERM=xterm-256color, then screen acts like vim and man - using the altscreen without clearing the original screen. After some searching, I found this which, although it's about solving a different issue, includes a way to make that permanent:

In ~/.Xdefaults, add this line (create the file if it doesn't exist):

XTerm*termName: xterm-256color

Then run:

xrdb -merge ~/.Xdefaults

Terminals that were already open still have TERM=xterm and don't work right, but from then on all new instances of xterm work.

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