I really like gnu screen but there is a problem in my environment when I use it.


username@domain:/var/www$ l
Display all 130 possibilities? (y or n)

when you click [Tab] to perform autocompletion there is a screen flashing for a very short period of time(looks like white screen but I can see it for a very-very short time).

There isn't any problems with that when I execute the same action in normal/non-screen environment.

This is what my .screenrc looks like:

attrcolor b ".I"
termcapinfo xterm 'Co#256:AB=\E[48;5;%dm:AF=\E[38;5;%dm'
defbce "on"
term screen-256color-bce

add set bell-style none to the readline init file, ~/.inputrc


Controls what happens when Readline wants to ring the terminal bell. If set to ‘none’, Readline never rings the bell. If set to ‘visible’, Readline uses a visible bell if one is available. If set to ‘audible’ (the default), Readline attempts to ring the terminal's bell.the terminal's bell.


[edit: thanks Fedyashev Nikita]

  • 3
    I had the same problem but the only difference is that Readline init file is stored in ~/.inputrc file(at least in Ubuntu). So I've added it there and now it works fine! thank you May 29 '10 at 19:57
  • Using debian, I set this option in /etc/inputrc
    – Stphane
    Feb 19 '16 at 0:25

Just add vbell "off" to your .screenrc

  • 3
    +1, prefer this method. I just want to turn the visual bell off completely. It's pretty annoying...
    – hopia
    Jul 8 '11 at 21:30

The shell "prints" the bell character when it asks "Display all possibilities?" Normally this would beep but something is translating it to a screen flash.

As a wild guess, try changing the termcapinfo line to

termcapinfo xterm 'Co#256:AF=\E[38;5;%dm'

That removes the AB section, which I think means "audio bell".


I tried the above solution myself which didn't work.

However, the following solution from Thr4wn worked. http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/trying-to-use-gnu-screen-backspace-makes-screen-flash-685321/

The feature is called "visual bell".

here are applicable properties you can set in your ~/.screenrc file

vbell_msg "bell: window ~%" # Message for visual bell
vbellwait 2 # Seconds to pause the screen for visual bell
vbell off # Turns visual bell off

[edit] Forgot to say that the last line seems to be all it needs.


The sequence Ctrl-a, Ctrl-g is quick way to toggle the "visual bell" in screen.

  • 2
    It says "switched to audible bell." when you do this. I wonder if the server beeps whenever I hit <tab> too many times. Maybe I will practice my Morse code and see if anyone responds.
    – nobar
    Nov 5 '15 at 22:26

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