Backing up TK50s (was: VMS 6.2 or older install media needed.)

Antonio Carlini arcarlini at
Mon Jan 21 08:29:23 CST 2008

Dave Dunfield wrote:
> 1) Are any these titles already backed up somewhere?
>    Are they worth backing up? (I assume everything requires
>    licenses - I don't have the machine the VMS LIC tape
>    was issued for).

I guess these are backed up somewhere - but I don't know of
any publically available repositories. I expect HP might become
slightly annoyed if this stuff popped up somewhere. (Although it
seems you are allowed to acquire stuff covered by the Hobbyist
program by copying media that others are willing to lend you,
or presumably via FTP).

Before OpenVMS V5.0, there was no LMF (Licence Management
Facility). So your VMS LIC tape is probably not keyed to anything.
It just patches VAX/VMS to allow more users. (I know DECnet
worked the same way back then, probably clustering too). Without
VMS LIC you get some default number of users (perhaps 8, i.e.
8 simultaneous logins).

I'd certainly say that this stuff is old enough that it's worth

> 2) What is the best way to backup these tapes to a more
>    permanent media?  Can they be read into binary files,
>    and if so, can anything be done with those files?

The tapes are pretty simple IIRC. Some of them may well
be bootable, but I would say that the most important thing
is to save the savesets. For a direct image of the tape
you could try VMSTPC. But you can archive the bulk of the
important info just by mounting the tape in question
and copying off the savesets:
  $ MOUNT/OVER=ID MKA0: label
  $ COPY/LOG MKA0:*.* device:[dir]
I don't have a tape handy on my VAX right now so I cannot
pop one in and figure out the actual gnarly bits (and I'm
likely to have forgotten in the 5 years since I last did

The one thing I do remember is that if you are logged in
as SYSTEM, then your default is SYS$MANAGER, which at least
with later versions of VMS, is a search list. In which case
there's a quirk that means that $ DIR MKA0: will list your
tape contents twice. What I cannot remember is whether it
just displays eevrything twice or does the tape operations
twice: if the latter, then COPY will probably copy everything
off twice! The fix is to SET DEFAULT somewhere that doesn't
involve a search list first!

Copying savesets off a tape like this is a slight cheat: backup
goes to a lot of effort to write recoverable tapes and by using
copy you are ignoring that. But as long as there are no bad blocks
copying savesets off works just fine. If you do hit a bad block,
COPY will fall over in a heap and you'll have to copy remaining
savesets off manually. Then you'll have to use BACKUP to properly
recover the savesets with bad blocks (but it's best to worry
about that when you need to do it). There was a product
called something like Saveset Manager, which did this (and much
else besides) for you, but I never used it.

>    I have available:
>      - Vaxstation 4000 VLC running VMS  5.5
>      - Vaxserver 3100 running OpenVMS 7.2
>      - Vaxstation 3100 running NetBSD

Whichever will take the biggest data disk you have would
be my preference. I've had no trouble with 18GB IBM SCA
drives, so the easiest might be to drop a handy SCSI
drive into an external enclosure?

You might as well mimic the way CDs were organised: each
product ended up in its own directory, so your FORTRAN
distro would end up as [FORT046].

Then FTP the stuff over to a PC and burn (twice) to
your choice of optical media (cue the annual archiving
discussion ...).

Or you could use LDDRIVER, give it a 700MB file (possibly
contiguous?) and mount that as a writeable disk. Copy
the savesets over in whatever directory structure you
think appropriate. Unmount the LD device and FTP
the file over to a PC. Burn (as a physical image) to CD
and you you can mount that as an ODS-2 disk on OpenVMS
(assuming, of course, you have a suitable CD drive).

> 3) What is "MICROVMS" - Is this just VMS (for a uVAX)?

Initially it was a cut down version of VAX/VMS that would
install from RX50 floppy onto a MicroVAX II. That's about
50 floppies. It was cut down in the sense that various
programmer-only options were not available by default.
It was fairly short-lived (from VMS V4 to V4.4) and then
in V4.4 "ordinary" VMS was able to be tailored so that
it would fit on such a MicroVAX.

arcarlini at

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.19.7/1234 - Release Date:
20/01/2008 14:15

More information about the cctech mailing list