How Do I Stop Screen From Wuff Wuffing at me?

The Problem

When using GNU screen and hitting tab, tab completion is not performed but rather a cryptic message is printed at the bottom of your terminal:

Wuff ---- Wuff!!

If you hit tab a second time in a row, tab completion is performed and you don’t get wuffed at.

My Solution

Create a .screenrc file in your home directory and place the following on its own line:

vbell off

The next time you start screen you won’t be wuffed at.

The Longer Story

(Okay so it’s not much longer.)

The wuff message that you’re seeing is simply the visual bell. If you were in a non-screen shell session you’d be getting beeped at rather than wuffed at. There are a number of ways to solve this problem including messing with the $TERM variable and starting bash after you start screen and running set bell-style none.

I prefer to use the .screenrc file and I would recommend everyone that uses screen become very familiar with it as well.


  1. Chris

    June 20, 2014 at 6:56 am

    And if you disable nethack mode, you’d get an actual beep message.


  2. Dee Abson (@deeabson)

    June 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Huh. I wonder what the native language is of the author of the onomatopoetic “wuff wuff”. I also wonder what kind of bells, bings and bongs their systems were making that sound like “wuff wuff”… 🙂


  3. NafrayuMiriyu

    May 11, 2015 at 2:50 am

    “wuff” is the german onomatopoeia of a dog barking 🙂


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