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

Mark J. Blair nf6x at
Fri Jun 12 10:22:02 CDT 2015

> On Jun 12, 2015, at 07:57, Antonio Carlini <arcarlini at> wrote:
> Doesn't control-P on the console halt the machine on a VAX-11/730?

It brings up the console prompt, but the (H)alt command just prints the PC rather than triggering a halt on the 725/730.

Next time I work on the system (Tonight? Or maybe tomorrow... depends on how cool it is in the evening, as that box pumps out enough BTUs that I need to open windows!) I will try a password reset as described here:

Oh yeah, I forgot to comment on this earlier:

> On Jun 12, 2015, at 04:01, Peter Coghlan <cctalk at> wrote:
> Once you get logged in to VMS, I think it should be possible to use EXCHANGE to
> poke around the console tape images on the file level.  It might be possible to
> find the reason for the problem that way?

I can poke around at the file level with my RT11 filesystem tool:

In fact, the image I've used to boot the system isn't exactly the one that you fixed for me, but rather a new one I created using its files and bootblocks, with several scripts added to try booting different root directories. On the 730, I don't think I can modify R5 in the boot command. Rather, I would need to either manually type in the whole boot sequence manually, or create a new boot script off-system. I chose the latter, and made a bunch of them to try probing different root dirs on both the R80 and RL02 drives. BTW, standalone backup was not helpfully installed on E on my R80, so once I crowbar my way in, I'll try running a backup under the full OS.

And new replies have arrive while I was typing:

> On Jun 12, 2015, at 08:00, Peter Coghlan <cctalk at> wrote:
> You can get a free hobbyist license if you join whatever DECUS is called now.

I joined a while back, but haven't requested license yet since I didn't have my system serial number handy. I'll pull the rack out and jot down the number before I leave for work this morning.

> [and an alternate set of password reset instructions]

Thanks! This is very helpful, as I am a real VMS noob. My previous experience with it was just using it briefly in one or two classes, and running a canned script to perform backups as a graveyard shift operator (Great pay for a student! And a key to the machine room! And a staff account with no quotas, rather than buying limited time or fighting with everybody else for CPU cycles on a class-account cesspit server! Do homework on a Sun workstation instead of a Wyse terminal! Heck, run a sim on the C240 supercomputer! Giggle!). I can still hear that TU77 howling in my mind. Hmm, I wouldn't mind having one, with a matching 11/780... :)

Back in the day, I really hated VMS for no other reason than I liked UNIX and embraced it with the natural snobbishness of a youth growing up in the computer environment of the 80s, where our computer was the "best" even though the other guy's "crappy" computer used the same 6502 running at the same clock speed (but mine really was the best, because it used a 6809 :) ). But now I want to learn about VMS and appreciate it for what it is.

> On Jun 12, 2015, at 08:11, Johnny Billquist <bqt at> wrote:
> Avoid V5, though. I remember at the time that people was having serious issues with that version. V6 improved things again. I think DEC spent a fair amount of time to improve performance because of all the complaints about V5.
> V4 would also be good in some ways, but it's old and might feel limited if you want some modern software running...

Modern software running on a 730... I don't know if I'll live long enough to wait for it to launch! :)

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at>

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