OpenVMS User's Manual
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 7.2.
OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3
OpenVMS VAX Version 7.3
Compaq Computer Corporation Houston, Texas
© 2001 Compaq Computer Corporation
Compaq, VAX, VMS, and the Compaq logo Registered in U.S. Patent and
OpenVMS is a trademark of Compaq Information Technologies Group, L.P.
in the United States and other countries.
Microsoft, MS, and MS--DOS are registered trademarks of Microsoft
Motif, OSF, OSF/1, and OSF/Motif are registered trademarks, and Open
Software Foundation is a trademark of The Open Group.
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.
This manual contains 19 chapters, 4 appendixes, and a glossary. 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:
Communicating with Other Users
Refer to the following chapters to learn about communicating with other
- Chapter 6
Mail: Communicating with Other Users 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.
- Chapter 7
Phone: Communicating with Other Users describes how to use the
Phone utility (PHONE) 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.
Manipulating Text and Records
Refer to the following chapters to learn about text processing and
- Chapter 8
Editing Text Files: Using 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
Editing Text Files: Using EDT describes EDT, an
interactive text editor that preceded EVE and is still included with
the OpenVMS operating system. The chapter describes how to begin and
end an EDT session, how to enter EDT commands, and how to get help in
EDT. It includes a summary of EDT commands.
- Chapter 10
DIGITAL Standard Runoff (DSR): Formatting Text Files describes the DIGITAL
Standard Runoff (DSR) text-formatting facility. The chapter includes a
summary of DSR commands.
- Chapter 11
Sort/Merge Utility: 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 devices:
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:
Refer to the following chapter to learn about security:
The following information is provided for reference:
- Appendix A
Customizing EVE contains information on
customizing your EVE editing environment.
- Appendix B
Character Sets describes the DEC
Multinational character set and the DCL character set.
- Appendix C
Annotated Command Procedures contains complete command
procedures that demonstrate the concepts and techniques discussed in
Chapters 15, 16, and 17.
- Appendix D
Terminal Keys describes how the OpenVMS
operating system responds when various keys and control characters are
pressed on an LK201 keyboard (VT200 series and later terminals, and
workstations) or on a VT100 series terminal.
The Glossary provides a list of terms used
in this manual. Glossary terms are highlighted when first used in text.
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
Use the following World Wide Web address to order additional
If you need help deciding which documentation best meets your needs,
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
Introduction: OpenVMS Concepts and Definitions
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,
which the system reads and translates. You enter a command by typing it
from your keyboard and pressing the Return key; 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 basic concepts about the OpenVMS operating
system and its components. It includes introductory information about
the following topics:
- Logging in to the system
- DIGITAL Command Language (DCL)
- Files and directories
- OpenVMS utilities
- Logical names
- Command procedures
- Lexical functions
- Processes and programs
- System security
Differences in Your Local Environment
Note that this manual covers standard DCL commands only. System
managers at your site may tailor your system to support the local
environment. They might decide to:
- Use a different command language interpreter
- Change the default action of some standard DCL commands so that
they do not reflect what is described in the OpenVMS documentation
- Disable some DCL commands
- Alter some system defaults, such as the DCL prompt
- Configure an environment with Extended File
For additional information about the commands discussed in this
chapter, refer to:
- The OpenVMS DCL Dictionary or online help, for complete information on DCL
commands, lexical functions, qualifiers, and syntax. See Section 2.10
in this manual or enter the HELP command at the DCL prompt for
information about obtaining online help.
For additional information about Extended File Specifications, refer to:
- The OpenVMS Guide to Extended File Specifications, which contains complete information about
Extended File Specifications, features and benefits, on-disk
structures, character sets available in such an environment, extended
file names, and directory structures.
1.1 Logging In to the System
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.
Chapter 2 describes how to log in to and out of the system.
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.
1.1.1 Access Requirements
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. In many cases, a
user name is your first or last name. Your password is for your
protection. If you maintain its secrecy, other users cannot use system
resources under your user name.
When computer systems are linked together, they form a
network. Operating systems in an OpenVMS network are
able to communicate with each other and share information and
resources. Each system in a network is called a network
node or host and is identified by a
unique name or address. Host and node
are used interchangeably, and mean a system connected to a network.
With OpenVMS, you have a choice of networking protocols. You can use
the Compaq TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS product or Compaq's DECnet
products within a single network, or you can have an environment where
both products exist. Compaq's primary network strategy for OpenVMS is
TCP/IP, the industry-standard network protocol suite.
1.2.1 Network Nodes
When you are logged in to a network node, you can communicate with
other nodes in the network. The node at which you are logged in is
called the local node; other nodes on the network are
called remote nodes. If you have access to an account
on a remote node, you can log in to that account from your local node
and perform tasks on that node while remaining connected to your local
Chapter 2 describes how to log in to a remote node. Additional tasks
you can perform on remote nodes are described in the appropriate
chapters of this manual.
1.2.2 Executing Programs over Networks
Because of support provided by TCP/IP and DECnet software,
programs can execute across the network as if they
were executing locally. Because the network software is integrated
within the operating system, it is easy to write programs that access
remote files. To access a remote file in an application program, you
need only include the name of the remote node and any required access
control information in the file specification.
Task-to-task communications, a feature common to all TCP/IP or DECnet
implementations, allows two application programs running on the same or
different operating systems to communicate with each other regardless
of the programming languages used. Examples of network applications are
distributed processing applications, transaction processing
applications, and applications providing connection to servers.
In the examples of remote operations in this manual, proxy accounts
enable users to perform operations on remote systems. Proxy accounts
are one way users can access remote systems. For additional ways to
access remote systems, see the OpenVMS System Manager's Manual.
1.3 DIGITAL Command Language (DCL)
DIGITAL Command Language (DCL) is a set of English-like instructions
that tell the operating system to perform specific operations. DCL
provides you with over 200 commands and functions to use in
communicating with the operating system to accomplish computing tasks.
1.3.1 Usage Modes
You can use DCL in the following two modes:
In interactive mode, you enter
commands from your terminal. One command has to finish
executing before you can enter another.
In batch mode, the system creates another process to
execute commands on your behalf. A batch job is a
command procedure or program that is submitted to the operating system
for execution as a separate user process. After you submit the command
procedure for batch execution, you can continue to use your terminal
Batch jobs and network processes use DCL in batch
mode. See Chapter 18 for more information about processes.
1.3.2 Types of DCL Commands
When you enter a DCL command, it is read and translated by the DCL
interpreter. The way the command interpreter responds to a command is
determined by the type of command entered. The three types of DCL
commands are as follows:
- Built-in commands
These commands are built in to the DCL
interpreter and are executed internally.
- Commands that invoke programs
DCL calls another program to
execute the command rather than executing it internally. The program
invoked to execute a command is referred to as a command
image. This command image can be either an interactive
program, a utility (such as Mail), or a noninteractive
program (such as COPY).
- Foreign commands
A symbol that executes an image is referred
to as a foreign command. A foreign command executes an
image whose name is not recognized by the command interpreter as a DCL
command. Refer to Chapter 14 for complete information on symbols.