Document revision date: 15 July 2002
[Compaq] [Go to the documentation home page] [How to order documentation] [Help on this site] [How to contact us]
[OpenVMS documentation]
OpenVMS User's Manual

OpenVMS User's Manual

Order Number: AA--PV5JF--TK

June 2002

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 operating system.

Revision/Update Information: This manual supersedes the OpenVMS User's Manual, Version 7.3.

Software Version: 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 other countries.

All other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies.

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.

Contents Index


Intended Audience

This manual is intended for all users of the Compaq OpenVMS operating system.

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.

Document Structure

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.

Getting Started

Refer to the following chapters to help you get started using the OpenVMS operating system:

Manipulating Text and Records

Refer to the following chapters to learn about editing text files and sorting records:

Ensuring Security

Refer to the following chapter to learn about security:

Logical Names and Symbols

Refer to the following chapters to learn about logical names and symbols:


Refer to the following chapters to learn about writing programs and using programming functions:

Managing Processes

Refer to the following chapter to learn about managing processes:

Reference Sections

The following information is provided for reference:

Related Documents

For additional information about OpenVMS products and services, access the following World Wide Web address: 

Reader's Comments

Compaq welcomes your comments on this manual. Please send comments to either of the following addresses:
Mail 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 OpenVMS.

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:
Ctrl/ x 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.
PF1 x 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 button.
[Return] 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 possibilities:
  • 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 assignment statement.)
[|] In command format descriptions, vertical bars separating items inside brackets indicate that you choose one, none, or more than one of the options.
{ } In command format descriptions, braces indicate required elements; you must choose one of the options listed.
bold text This text style represents the introduction of a new term or the name of an argument, an attribute, or a reason.
italic text 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 Uppercase text indicates a command, the name of a routine, the name of a file, or the abbreviation for a system privilege.
Monospace text 
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 following line.
numbers All numbers in text are assumed to be decimal unless otherwise noted. Nondecimal radixes---binary, octal, or hexadecimal---are explicitly indicated.

Chapter 1
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 operating system:

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:
Step Task
1 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 again.

The system displays your user name on the screen as you type it. For example:

Username: CASEY

The system prompts you for your password:


2 Type your password and press Enter.

The system does not display your password, which is sometimes referred to as "no echo."

3 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:

Username:  CASEY   
        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:

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):
Secure Passwords High-Risk Passwords
Nonsense syllables:
Words with a strong personal association:
your name
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.

Next Contents Index

  [Go to the documentation home page] [How to order documentation] [Help on this site] [How to contact us]  
  privacy and legal statement