First VAX-11/730 VMS Boot! (was: Re: VAX-11/730 %BOOT-F-Unexpected Machine Check)

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Fri Jun 12 01:28:42 CDT 2015

On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 2:06 AM, Mark J. Blair <nf6x at> wrote:
> Using a version 58 console tape image provided to me by one list member, and massaged into a usable state by another list member, I just booted OpenVMS 7.3 off the R80 drive on my VAX-11/730 for the first time since buying the machine. Woohoo!

Wow... I'm rather surprised it can run something that new, and on a
drive so small.  I remember having problems fitting 6.0 on an RD53 (or
was it an RD54?)  It fit, but wasn't straightforward to install.  It
took a couple of tricks.

> Eventually, I'd like to run an older version of VMS than 7.3 on it. Preferably, something contemporary to when the 11/730 was still sold, or at least from before any sane 730 users upgraded to newer and faster VAXen. Of course, that assumes I can procure suitable installation media, or usable images with which to create it.

Back in the day, we ran VMS 5.0 on our 11/730, because we needed a
machine to link our product against 5.0 to support our customers on
the same version.  I also ran Ultrix 1.1 at an earlier time on the
same hardware.  ISTR both Ultrix 1.1 and VMS 5.0 fit just fine on the

The other thing I did, for my own sanity, was I reordered the files on
the console TU58 into the precise order they were requested.  Boot
time was on the order of 5 minutes, down from 25 minutes.  Best I
could tell, the console 8085 cached the directory block(s), so the
tape practically streamed as it read file after file.  Without all
that seeking, it was down to the serial speed the tape and console
were set to (38.4kbps?)


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