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Digital VAX 4000-200


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  Digital VAX 4000-200 by Bill Degnan - 04/27/2015 12:25
The Digital VAX 4000-200
The Digital VAX 4000-200. Click for larger image.

The Digital VAX 4000-200 SHOW DEV Output
The SHOW DEV Output. Click for larger image.

  How to reset VAX password by Bill Degnan - 04/27/2015 23:35
You typically get to the "three greater than's prompt". Run the SHOW DEV command if you don't know what to B/1 (boot) to. My system's boot drive is DIA0:, yours will likely be different. Keep trying them until it works. For me DIA0: was the boot drive, there was also a DIA1: and a DIA5: among others. Take a look at the photo above that shows the SHOW DEV output.

>>> B/1 DIA0:

This will eventually drop you to the SYSBOOT prompt.


This will drop you to the $ prompt.


This will drop you to the UAF prompt.


This will bring you back to the $ prompt. Log out


The VAX then asked me to reset my password to something 8-32 chars, etc.

From there I got to a $ prompt with full access privs. Now to learn what is here!

  WVLink by Bill Degnan - 04/28/2015 14:40
Apparently this VAX server was used to host an Internet service from 1994/95/96/? called WVlink. MPL Corporation was the company behind this service from Buckhannon, WV. A true piece of early Internet WWW-vintage history.

WVLink Flyer

  TCP/IP for VAX Internet Services by Bill Degnan - 04/28/2015 21:19
Given the system is already configured for hosting Internet services, I will update to match the IP and DNS available to my home Comcast Business service with a fixed IP address. Here is a nice checklist for Open VMS 6.2. I have already gathered the present values from the server, I presume all I have to do is change them to match the new network. I also need to run some basic Ethernet port tests, make sure it's at least attempting to communicate with the outside world.

  MULTINET TCP/IP Networking Done. by Bill Degnan - 05/02/2015 22:59
Updated the configuration of the server to use MULTINET.

I am now able to access external web resources (so far that means telet) via the VAX 4000 using a VT 102 terminal.

The new subdomain is VAX4000.VINTAGECOMPUTER.NET

You can connect to this server via telnet so far, but I have to set up the server to be more secure before I can start handing out users/passwords.

  Public Access to VAX server by Bill Degnan - 05/05/2015 12:05
During the business week I plan to leave this system running. I created a low privlidge test account people can use via telnet -
pass: contact me.

I know, hard to remember, but do your best...I will eventually change the password, so you'll have to contact me for the latest password if you want to play on the VAX. If you uncover a security hole please contact me.

  Adding Users by Bill Degnan - 07/09/2015 12:54
Find where the user directory on your server is and replace aaaaaa and bbbb with the actual values.

My 4000-200 is MPLHST


Then is the basic sequence:

$ set process/privileges=all
$ set default sys$system:
$ run authorize
UAF> show [group,*] /brief
UAF> add username /uic=[group,member] /account=account
UAF> modify username /password=password
UAF> modify username /device=sys$sysdevice
UAF> modify username /directory=[directory]
UAF> modify username /owner="Given Name"
UAF> modify username /nopwdexpir /flag=nodisuser
UAF> modify username /defprivileges=(...) /privileges=(...)
UAF> modify username /flags=nodisuser
UAF> exit
$ create /directory /owner=[group,member] sys$sysdevice:[directory] /OWNER=[USERNAME]

  Screaming Drive by Bill Degnan - 07/10/2015 04:45
The left-most drive when looking from the front went into fault today. The system still works but I took it down for repairs. I may have a suitable replacement drive, but I am guessing based on past experience I need to replace with a same size/specs drive.

  Upgrade to OPenVMS 7.3 by Bill Degnan - 08/07/2015 09:51
Should this be of interest, I may someday want to upgrade once I get a replacement drive.


This applies to the 4000 class VAXen

  Replacing Model RF72 Hdrive by Bill Degnan - 11/10/2015 15:00
Ordered a replacement hard drive for the 4000. The model is RF72 1Gb. Seller claims 1 year warranty!

  Initializing Replacement Hard Drive by Bill Degnan - 11/17/2015 17:39

After a little elbow grease I was able to move the rails from the old drive to the replacement I picked up from Ebay. The seller offered a 1 year warranty and the drive installed without incident. Next I need to initialize ?

  VAX 4000-200 FAQ for Support by Bill Degnan - 11/18/2015 11:15
The following FAQ comes from the documentation. The specific model I have is the VAX 4000 model 200 system in the BA430 enclosure

Processor: KA660 / 28 MHz
Cache: 6 kB
Memory: 8 MB / 64 MB
Disk: 381 MB / 21 GB
Interfaces All support Q–bus, DSSI, and Ethernet. Model 100 also supports

Models 200/300/400/500/600

B400X, R400X, RF31, RF35, RRD42 — See above
TLZ04 1.2 GB tape drive
TSZ07 140 MB tape drive
RF72 1.0 GB ISE
RF73 2.0 GB ISE
TF85 2.6 GB tape drive
TK70 296 MB tape drive
TU81 140 MB tape drive
CXA16 16-line asynchronous
CXY08 8-line asynchronous
DSV11 2-line synchronous

Model 200 Documents

EK-432AB-IN VAX 4000 Model 200 (BA215) Installation
EK-433AA-OM VAX 4000 Model 200 (BA215) Operation
EK-436AB-IN VAX 4000 Model 200 (BA430) Installation
EK-395AB-OM VAX 4000 Model 200 (BA430) Operation
EK-396AB-TM VAX 4000 Model 200 Technical Information
EK-437AB-TS VAX 4000 Model 200 Troubleshooting and

drives in "Mass Storage Shelf" of BA430
ISE 2 | ISE 1 | ISE 0 | Tape Drive

Console Commands

SHOW QBUS Displays all Q22–bus I/O addresses that respond to an aligned word read, plus vector and device name information. For each address, the console displays the address in the VAX I/O space in hexadecimal, the address as it would appear in the Q22–bus I/O space in octal, and the word that was read in hexadecimal. Also displays the vector that you should set up, and device name or names that could be associated with the CSR.


Displays the current state of command recall, either ENABLED or DISABLED.

SHOW RLV12 Displays all RL01 and RL02 disks that appear on the Q22–bus.

SHOW SCSI1 Shows any SCSI devices in the system.

Shows any virtual addresses that map to the specified physical address.

SHOW UQSSP Displays the status of all disks and tapes found on the Q22–bus that support the UQSSP protocol. For each such disk or tape on the Q22–bus, the firmware displays the controller number, the controller CSR address, and the boot name and type of each device connected to the controller. The command does not indicate whether the
device contains a bootable image.



DEV - everything

DSSI - Shows the status of all nodes that are on the DSSI bus. For each node on the DSSI bus, the console displays the node number, the node name, and the boot name and type of the device, if available. The command does not indicate the "bootability" of the device.

The node that issues the command reports a node name of "*".

The device information is obtained from the media type field of the MSCP command GET UNIT STATUS. In the case where the node is not running or is not capable of running an MSCP server, no device information is displayed.

more SHOW...





VAX 4000 Models 200/300/400/500/600

RF-series disk On-board DSSI adapter DImu
KFQSA DSSI adapter DUcu
RRD4x drive KZQSA adapter DKAu
KRQ50 controller DUcu
TF-series tape On-board DSSI adapter MImu
TF85 tape On-board DSSI adapter MIAu
KFQSA DSSI adapter MUcu
TK70 tape TQK70 MUcu
TLZ04 tape KZQSA adapter MKAu
Ethernet On-board adapter EZA0
DESQA Ethernet controller XQAu
PROM MRV11 module PRAu


Key to device logical names
• m — DSSI bus adapter: A = bus 0; B = bus 1
When under operating system control, DIBu devices are recognized as DIAu

To obtain a list of boot devices available on the system, issue the
console command SHOW DEVICE.

Example 5–1 is a sample SHOW DEVICE listing for a VAX 4000 system. The system displays the device logical name preceded by a dash (–) for each device.

Example 5–1 Sample SHOW DEVICE Display

DSSI Bus 0 Node 0 (CLYDE)
DSSI Bus 0 Node 1 (BONNIE)
-DIA1 (RF73)
DSSI Bus 0 Node 5 (TFDR1)
-MIA5 (TF85)
DSSI Bus 0 Node 6 (*)
DSSI Bus 1 Node 7 (*)
UQSSP Tape Controller 0 (774500)
-MUA0 (TK70)
SCSI Adaptor 0 (761400), SCSI ID 7
-MKA0 (DEC TLZ04 1991(c)DEC)
Ethernet Adapter
-EZA0 (08-00-2B-06-10-42)
• c — Disk or tape controller designator: A = first, B = second, and so on
• u — unit number
• x — SCSI ID of device, (except ID 6 — reserved for SCSI controller)
• nn — SCSI logical unit number; usually 00.



The BOOT command syntax is as follows:

>>> BOOT [/qualifier...] [device_name[,device_name...]]



Usually CONTINUE given the way you typcially boot (B/1)

SET/STARTUP Sets the name of the system startup command procedure.


The SET BOOT console command allows you to specify a default boot device, or a list of devices, which the system will search for boot software.

Once a default boot device is defined, the system will automatically boot from the device on power up or after a
power-fail or error halt. If a boot device list is defined, the system will boot from the first device on the list which contains bootable software

>>> SET BOOT [/qualifier...] device_name[,device_name...]

SET BOOT EZA0 Defines the default boot device to be the Ethernet controller.

Defines a boot device search string with DUA0, DIA0, MIA5, and EZA0 as possible boot devices.

When attempting an autoboot, or if the BOOT command is issued without specifying a device, the system checks each device in order and boots from the first one that contains bootable software


installing standalone BACKUP (check whether it's already there, if not..)


When the procedure finishes, the system displays the following message:

The kit is complete.

The STABACKIT procedure places the files in the directories

[SYSE.SYSEXE] and [SYSE.SYS$LDR] on the system disk. It lists the files as they are copied.

If you want to install standalone BACKUP in another directory,change the target directory from SYS$SYSDEVICE: to the directory of your choice. Note you should install on the backup drive so you can restore from it.



1. Boot standalone BACKUP.
2. Enter the BACKUP command in one of the following formats. If backing up to disk:

$ BACKUP/IMAGE/VERIFY source_drive: target_drive:

source_drive Device name of the system disk drive.
target_drive Device name of the drive holding the backup disk or tape.

Before the backup operation begins,
the target device is initialized,
erasing all data currently on the


The system displays the following message.
%BACKUP-I-STARTVERIFY, starting verification pass

When the procedure is finished, the system displays a message similar to the following:
%BACKUP-I-PROCDONE, operation completed.

Processing finished at 18-JAN-1993 15:23

If you do not want to perform another standalone BACKUP operation, use the console to halt the system.

If you do want to perform another standalone BACKUP operation, ensure the standalone application volume is on-line and ready.

Enter "YES" to continue

Action: Stop the system. If the system has a Halt button, press it twice. Ensure that the light on the button goes off. If the system does not have a Halt button, press the Break (F5) key.

Reboot the system.

To prevent the BACKUP command from reinitializing the target disk, use the /NOINITIALIZE qualifier. For more information about initializing a disk, see the Guide to Maintaining a VMS
System. For more information on the BACKUP command, see the VMS Backup Utility Manual.



Determine the device name of the drive holding the system disk, and of the drive holding the backup disk or tape cartridge.

Enter the SHOW DEVICE command at the console prompt if needed for a list of devices.

Boot standalone BACKUP

Enter the BACKUP command in one of the following formats.

• To restore from a backup disk:

$ BACKUP/IMAGE/VERIFY source_drive: target_drive:

source_drive Device name of the drive holding the backup disk or tape cartridge.
target_drive Device name of


• Restoring from a backup disk:


The system displays the following message:
%BACKUP-I-STARTVERIFY, starting verification pass

When the procedure is finished, the system displays the following message:

%BACKUP-I-PROCDONE, operation completed.

Processing finished at 19-APR-1991 15:00:00.00

If you do not want to perform another standalone BACKUP operation, use the console to halt the system.

If you do want to perform another standalone BACKUP operation, ensure the standalone application volume is online and ready.

Enter "YES" to continue:

Action - stop the system


  BACKUP from DIA1 by Bill Degnan - 11/18/2015 12:09
StandAlone Backup installed on DIA1, if you boot to this drive you can initiate the standalone backup. Tested/OK

  INITIALIZE / MOUNT by Bill Degnan - 11/18/2015 20:46
So I tried to format the drive, here is a log of the attempt:


Device Device Error Volume Free Trans Mnt
Name Status Count Label Blocks Count Cnt
$1$DIA0: (RF72A) Mounted 0 VMS062 709740 185 1

Device Device Error Volume Free Trans Mnt
Name Status Count Label Blocks Count Cnt
$1$DIA1: (RF72B) Online 0

Device Device Error Volume Free Trans Mnt
Name Status Count Label Blocks Count Cnt
$255$DIA5: (RF72) Online 0
%SYSTEM-W-NOSUCHDEV, no such device available
_Label: TEST
_Log name: TEST
%MOUNT-F-NOSUCHDEV, no such device available

What's wrong?

I learned from glsick of

"While you can SHOW DEV DIA5: without the leading $255$ you need to include the leading $255$ when you initialize and mount the volume on your system. "

So, in my case that would be:

INITIALIZE $255$DIA5: vmsbak

$255 appears to be a "shadow set" for grouping drives, I suppose useful for differentiating same named drives in a cluster.

Here is more info:


$ show device $255$dia5:

Device Device Error Volume Free Trans Mnt
Name Status Count Label Blocks Count Cnt
$255$DIA5: (RF72) Online

$ show device $1$

Device Device Error Volume Free Trans Mnt
Name Status Count Label Blocks Count Cnt
$1$DIA0: (RF72A) Mounted 0 VMS062 709740 185 1
$1$DIA1: (RF72B) Online 0 more question - why does this system come with 3 drives anyway? I need to learn more about what you do with three drives to optimize a system like this.

DIA0 = system drive VMS 6.2
DIA1 = standalone backup
DIA5 = new drive I will use as a system drive backup.

stand by for initialize results...

  Image Backup of Primary System Disk by Bill Degnan - 11/19/2015 12:19
Display of the alt system disk, DIA5, booting up to VMS 6.2 after image created from DIA0. Click image for larger view.

After successfully initializing the new hard drive, using this command:

INITIALIZE $255$DIA5: vmsbak

I used it to store a bootable image of the primary hard drive, thus the volume name "vmsbak". This way if the primary drive fails I have a copy that will boot.


dismount/nounload $255$dia5:
(response - "device is not mounted")
mount/foreign $255$dia5:
(response was "..mounted..")
backup /image/ignore=interlock $1$dia0: $255$dia5:

(from page 44 of the OpenVMS System Management Guide)

  Replace NiCad Battery by Bill Degnan - 11/19/2015 13:32
VAX 4000-200 Qbus modules
First locate the KA660 M7626 bulkhead cover and carefully remove it. It's on the right of this photo, click image for larger view.

KA660 M7626 removed from bus. Item cleaned and NiCad battery removed. No leakage detected. Click image for larger view.

Note that you need to remove screws from both the front and the back, including the serial connector holder and co-ax connector holder to get to the NiCad battery pack. Click image for larger view.

I should not have had this component on a rug like this, oops.

Here is a page that helped me locate the battery within processor bulkhead

More Photos

  More About ALLOCLASS by Bill Degnan - 11/20/2015 14:34
"..Hi Bill,

Thanks for sharing that. It's handy to have all this in one place to refer
people to when they arrive on the mailing list asking how to get into their
new VAX, how to see what disks it has and so on.

The $255 in the DIA5 device name is the device allocation class, also known as
ALLOCLASS. This is a not very well explained and rather obscure corner of VMS.
I think the original purpose of ALLOCLASS was to provide a way to ensure that
particular devices that are visible to several nodes in a cluster via different
paths can be configured so that all nodes see the same device name. This is
important because the VMS distributed lock manager requires the full name of a
file, including device name, to be the same wherever it is seen from. This
problem usually arises when disks are served to multiple cluster nodes from a
storage controller such as a HSC or a HSZ. If NODEA and NODEB can both see
DUA0 (for example) on the storage controller and they both also serve this disk
to other nodes in the cluster, the same disk could be seen from a third node as
either NODEA$DUA0 or NODEB$DUA0 and file locking would then not operate
correctly leading to possible data corruption.

Many years ago, after a lot of head scratching, my boss and I eventually
figured out that shadow sets can only be composed of members with a non zero
ALLOCLASS. This is probably why lots of the examples of using ALLOCLASSes also
invove shadow sets. I think we figured out why this made sense some time after
that but I have since forgotten again.

Your system might not have any shadow sets but it does have DSSI disks and
these behave like each disk is effectively it's own cluster node. See:


Setting a non-zero ALLOCLASS in this case may be preferable to the semi-random
looking pseudo-node names for each disk that DSSI subsystems typically comes up
with. It looks likely that the replacement DIA5 you obtained arrived
configured with an ALLOCLASS (255) which is different to the ALLOCLASS your
other disks are configured with (1). This can probably be changed by using


to connect to it but I never got into finding my way around that as the only
DSSI disks I've ever seen died not long after I got them.

You have probably been able to omit the $1$ when referring to your original
disks because the system ALLOCLASS (set in SYSGEN) is likely also set to 1.

I was hoping I might be able to clarify some of the confusion that often
surrounds ALLOCLASS but reading back over what I wrote, it seems that I
probably haven't. It seems to be a topic that is as hard to explain as it is
to understand in the first place :-(

P Coghlan. .."

  Restore Complete by Bill Degnan - 12/03/2015 20:33
A no-flash photo of the system in action. At present the system is logged into the BACKUP drive (DIA1). All three drives are bootable system drives.

  DECnet by Bill Degnan - 04/24/2016 15:07
Next: Update the 4000-200 startup file. systartup_VMS.COM to launch DECnet. This must be done before MULTINET is loaded. The decnet license is valid. The file is located here:

$ dir sys$common:[sysmgr]

(which makes sense because VMS 6 was starting to transition into SYSMGR automation, you can read more about that somewhere else)

The 4000-200 has been connected the MicroVAX 3100 via 15 pin port connectors.

Access 3100 dir as such (?):

$ dir cobuck::cobuck $dkb500:[....

not sure if this is the right command.

$ lancp
lancep> show conf
(shows the decnet configuration)

  Updating User Disk Quota by Bill Degnan - 11/06/2017 13:13
This is important, otherwise one can't save files or get email after a user is created.

Enter SYSMAN to check (for example) the SYSTEM user quota, or other users in the UIC 200


SYSMAN> diskquota show [*,*] /device=$1$dia0:
For every new user there has to be a matching quota set, use others in the same UIC group to match.

Assume the user you want to add is UIC = 200,3 and in this group the other quotas are 2000...

SYSMAN> diskquota add [200,3] /device=$1$dia0: /permquota=2000 /overdraft=2000



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