OpenVMS User's Manual
This manual describes how to use the Compaq OpenVMS operating
system. The information contained in this manual is intended for all
OpenVMS users and is applicable to all computers running the OpenVMS
This manual supersedes the OpenVMS User's Manual, Version 7.3.
OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3--1
OpenVMS VAX Version 7.3
Compaq Computer Corporation Houston, Texas
© 2002 Compaq Computer Corporation
Compaq, the Compaq logo, AlphaServer, OpenVMS, POLYCENTER, Tru64, VAX,
VMS, and the DIGITAL logo are trademarks of Compaq Information
Technologies Group, L.P. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
UNIX and X/Open are trademarks of The Open Group in the U.S. and/or
All other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their
Confidential computer software. Valid license from Compaq required for
possession, use, or copying. Consistent with FAR 12.211 and 12.212,
Commercial Computer Software, Computer Software Documentation, and
Technical Data for Commercial Items are licensed to the U.S. Government
under vendor's standard commercial license.
Compaq shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or
omissions contained herein. The information in this document is
provided "as is" without warranty of any kind and is subject to change
without notice. The warranties for Compaq products are set forth in the
express limited warranty statements accompanying such products. Nothing
herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty.
The Compaq OpenVMS documentation set is available on CD-ROM.
This manual is intended for all users of the Compaq OpenVMS
A system manager performs the administrative tasks
that create and maintain an efficient computing environment. If you are
a system manager or want to understand system management concepts and
procedures, refer to the OpenVMS System Manager's Manual.
Each chapter describes concepts and procedures for performing computing
tasks. Basic information is presented first within each chapter; more
complex concepts and procedures are presented last.
Refer to the following chapters to help you get started using the
OpenVMS operating system:
- Chapter 1
Getting Started with the OpenVMS Operating System describes how to log in and
log out of the system, how to change your password, and how to get help.
- Chapter 2
Using DCL to Interact with the System describes how to use the
DIGITAL Command Language (DCL).
- Chapter 3
Storing Information with Files describes files and how you
can use them to store information. It also includes examples for
creating, copying, renaming, displaying, deleting, protecting, and
- Chapter 4
Organizing Files with Directories describes how to use
directories to organize and manage files.
- Chapter 5
Extended File Specifications describes the extended file
specifications environment for OpenVMS Alpha systems using ODS-5.
- Chapter 6
Using Disk and Tape Drives describes how to reserve
tapes or disks for private use. Unlike devices that are shared by a
group of users, private devices might not be set up and maintained by a
- Chapter 7
Using Mail to Communicate with Others describes how to use the
Mail utility (MAIL) to communicate with other users on your system or
on any other computer that is connected to your system with the DECnet
for OpenVMS network. The chapter includes a sample mail message;
step-by-step instructions for reading, sending, replying to,
forwarding, and organizing mail messages; a summary of Mail commands;
and instructions on how to use the MIME utility.
Manipulating Text and Records
Refer to the following chapters to learn about editing text files and
- Chapter 8
Editing Text Files with EVE describes EVE, an
interactive text editor that is included with the OpenVMS operating
system. The chapter describes how to use EVE to create and edit new
files or to edit existing files. It includes summaries of EVE commands.
- Chapter 9
Sorting and Merging Files describes how to use the
Sort/Merge utility (SORT/MERGE) to sort records from one or more input
files or to merge files that have been sorted. The chapter includes a
summary of Sort/Merge command qualifiers.
Refer to the following chapter to learn about security:
Logical Names and Symbols
Refer to the following chapters to learn about logical names and
Refer to the following chapters to learn about writing programs and
using programming functions:
Refer to the following chapter to learn about managing processes:
- Chapter 16
Understanding Processes and Batch Jobs describes processes, which
are environments created by the OpenVMS operating system that let you
interact with the system. The chapter describes how and when to use
subprocesses, programs, and batch jobs.
The following information is provided for reference:
For additional information about OpenVMS products and services, access
the following World Wide Web address:
Compaq welcomes your comments on this manual. Please send comments to
either of the following addresses:
Compaq Computer Corporation
OSSG Documentation Group, ZKO3-4/U08
110 Spit Brook Rd.
Nashua, NH 03062-2698
How To Order Additional Documentation
Visit the following World Wide Web address for informaion about how to
order additional documentation:
In this manual, any reference to OpenVMS is synonymous with Compaq
VMScluster systems are now referred to as OpenVMS Cluster systems.
Unless otherwise specified, references to OpenVMS Clusters or clusters
in this document are synonymous with VMSclusters.
In this manual, every use of DECwindows and DECwindows Motif refers to
DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS software.
The following conventions are also used in this manual:
A sequence such as Ctrl/
x indicates that you must hold down the key labeled Ctrl while
you press another key or a pointing device button.
A sequence such as PF1
x indicates that you must first press and release the key
labeled PF1 and then press and release another key or a pointing device
In examples, a key name enclosed in a box indicates that you press a
key on the keyboard. (In text, a key name is not enclosed in a box.)
In the HTML version of this document, this convention appears as
brackets, rather than a box.
A horizontal ellipsis in examples indicate one of the following
- Additional optional arguments in a statement have been omitted.
- The preceding item or items can be repeated one or more times.
- Additional parameters, values, or other information can be entered.
A vertical ellipsis indicate the omission of items from a code example
or command format; the items are omitted because they are not important
to the topic being discussed.
In command format descriptions, parentheses indicate that you must
enclose the options in parentheses if you choose more than one.
In command format descriptions, brackets indicate optional elements.
You can choose one, none, or all of the options. (Brackets are not
optional, however, in the syntax of a directory name in an OpenVMS file
specification or in the syntax of a substring specification in an
In command format descriptions, vertical bars separating items inside
brackets indicate that you choose one, none, or more than one of the
In command format descriptions, braces indicate required elements; you
must choose one of the options listed.
This text style represents the introduction of a new term or the name
of an argument, an attribute, or a reason.
Italic text indicates important information, complete titles of
manuals, or variables. Variables include information that varies in
system output (Internal error
number), in command lines (/PRODUCER=
name), and in command parameters in text (where
dd represents the predefined code for the device type).
Uppercase text indicates a command, the name of a routine, the name of
a file, or the abbreviation for a system privilege.
Monospace text indicates code examples and interactive screen displays.
In the C programming language, monospace text identifies the
following elements: keywords, the names of independently compiled
external functions and files, syntax summaries, and references to
variables or identifiers introduced in an example.
A hyphen at the end of a command format description, command line, or
code line indicates that the command or statement continues on the
All numbers in text are assumed to be decimal unless otherwise noted.
Nondecimal radixes---binary, octal, or hexadecimal---are explicitly
Getting Started with the OpenVMS Operating System
OpenVMS is an interactive virtual memory operating system. While you
are logged in to the computer, you and the system conduct a dialogue
using the DIGITAL Command Language (DCL). You use DCL
by entering commands from your keyboard, which the system reads and
translates. The system responds by executing the command or by
displaying an error message on the screen, if it
cannot interpret what you entered. This chapter describes the following
basic information that you need to know to interact with the OpenVMS
- Logging in
- Logging in from a PC
- Choosing passwords for your account
- Reading informational messages
- Types of logins and login classes
- Login failures
- Changing passwords
- Password and account expiration times
- Guidelines for protecting your password
- Recognizing system responses
- Getting help about the system
- Logging out of the system
- Logging out without compromising system security
For complete descriptions of all commands referenced in this chapter,
refer to the OpenVMS DCL Dictionary and online help.
1.1 Logging In
Logging in consists of gaining access to the system and identifying
yourself as an authorized user. When you log in, the system creates an
environment from which you can enter commands. This environment is
called your process.
The way you log in and out of the OpenVMS operating system depends on
how the system is set up at your site. This section provides a general
description of logging in to and out of the operating system. Check
with your system manager for the procedures specific to your site.
To interact with the operating system, you must log in to a user
account. An account is a name or number that
identifies you to the system when you log in. That name or number tells
the system where your files are stored and the type of access you have
to other files.
Your system manager (or whoever authorizes system use at your
installation) usually sets up accounts and grants privileges according
to your needs. The type of access rights and privileges enabled for
your account determine whether you have access to files, images, or
utilities that might affect system performance or other users.
To access your account, you need to enter your user name and password.
Your system manager usually provides you with your user name and
initial password. Your user name identifies you to the system and
distinguishes you from other users. Your password is for your
protection. If you maintain its secrecy, other users cannot use system
resources under your user name.
To log in to the system, use the following procedure:
The system displays a prompt for your user name:
Type your user name and press Enter. You have approximately 30
seconds to do this; otherwise, the system "times out." If a
timeout occurs, you must start the login procedure
The system displays your user name on the screen as you type it.
The system prompts you for your password:
Type your password and press Enter.
The system does not display your password, which is sometimes
referred to as "no echo."
Depending on how your system manager has set up your account, you might
be required to enter a second password or use an automatically
generated password (see Section 1.3.4).
1.1.1 Successful Logins
If your login is successful, the system displays a dollar sign ($) in
the left margin of your screen. The dollar sign is the default DCL
prompt; it indicates that the system is ready to use.
The following example shows a successful login:
Welcome to OpenVMS on node MARS
Last interactive login on Friday, 11-DEC-2002 08:41
Last non-interactive login on Thursday, 10-DEC-2002 11:05
1.1.2 Login Errors
If you make a mistake entering your user name or password or if your
password has expired, the system displays the message
User authorization failure
and you are not logged in. If you make a mistake, press Enter and try
again. If your password has expired, you need to change your password;
the system will automatically display the Set Password: prompt. See
Section 1.7 for information on changing your password in this
instance. If you have any other problems logging in, get help from the
person who set up your account.
1.2 Logging In From a PC
In previous times, you would connect to a host computer with a
video terminal that consisted of a monitor and a
keyboard. All computing power resided on the host computer running the
OpenVMS operating system, often located in a central computing room.
Today it is more common to work from a personal computer (PC) or
workstation that has its own set of independent computing capabilities.
In this situation you connect to a host computer running OpenVMS via a
terminal emulation program.
A terminal emulation program lets you connect to an OpenVMS system over
a TCP/IP network, the Internet, or an intranet. Your interactions with
the operating system display on the PC monitor using the interface
provided by the terminal emulation program. To connect to OpenVMS in
this way, start the terminal emulation program, select the system you
want to connect to, and then log in to the OpenVMS operating system as
described in this chapter.
1.3 Choosing Passwords for Your Account
To choose a secure password, use the following guidelines:
- Include both numbers and letters in the password. Although a
6-character password that contains only letters is fairly secure, a
6-character password with both letters and numbers is much more secure.
- Choose passwords that contain 6 to 10 characters. Adequate length
makes passwords more secure. You can choose a password as long as 32
- Do not select passwords from a dictionary or from your native
- Avoid choosing words readily associated with your computer site or
yourself, such as the name of a product or the model of your car.
- Choose new passwords each time. Do not reuse old ones.
Your system manager or security administrator may set up additional
restrictions, for example, not allowing passwords with fewer than 10
characters or not allowing repeats of passwords.
The following table provides examples of secure passwords and high-risk
passwords (words that others might easily guess):
Words with a strong personal association:
the name of a loved one
the name of your pet
the name of your town
the name of your automobile
A mixed string:
A work-related term:
your company name
a special project
your work group name
1.3.1 Obtaining Your Initial Password
Typically, when you learn that an account has been created for you on
the system, you are told whether a user password is required. If user
passwords are in effect, your system manager will usually assign a
specific password for your first login. This password has been placed
in the system user authorization file (UAF) with other information
about how your account can be used.
It is inadvisable to have passwords that others could easily guess. Ask
the person creating the account for you to specify a password that is
difficult to guess. If you have no control over the password you are
given, you might be given a password that is the same as your first
name. If so, change it immediately after you log in. (The use of first
or last names as passwords is a practice so well known that it is
undesirable from a security standpoint.)
At the time your account is created, you should also be told a minimum
length for your password and whether you can choose your new password
or whether the system generates the password for you.