assistance for reviving some vax machines


Thread Starter


hi there,
rummaging through our stores i found a few recently condemned computers. they were originally hosts and mmi machines in our scada system running factorylink software on vms o/s. the machines are vax 4000-105's and vax 4000-60's with some really good h/w specifications. the problem is that they steadfastly refuse to go beyond the console prompt and boot the os. if
somebody has experience working with a similar line of vax-machines the help would be highly appreciated. and yes reading digital's troubleshooting manuals didnt help.


tomy zacharia
engg(telecom and instru.)

Richard Dewees


I have been in the same situation with Vaxen of that vintage. It has been over a year since I worked with them though. But I believe what you will need to do is get into the SYSPARAMs Menu it sets up pre-boot parameters (much like a PC BIOS). All of my manuals are at home I will have to look them over to see how to get into the menu and what the commands are when you get there.

Rick Dewees
Ocean Kayak

I'm Bill White, City of Henderson Nevada Water/Wastewater SCADA Engineer.

We have VAX Station 4000/90 with Nemonix Accellerators.

The first thing I'd do is check the hardware configuration of the VAXes

at the >> prompt type "SHOW CONFIG", and SHOW DEV you want to see what hardware is installed and configured.

There is also a diag you can run >>test 100 It tests all devices.

From there you should be able to ID the disk drives, memory, and SCSI configuration. If you get error messages you'll have to solve them one at a time.

If you have more than 1 disk drive you might have to check that the BOOT FLAG is set for the right drive. >>SHOW BOOT

Also, you can boot standalone backup using an external CD/Tape device.

Let me know what your results are and I'll try to e-mail a few suggestions.

Bill White

R A Peterson

sounds like the boot device is gone. vaxes that I am familiar with can boot from various devices including disk and tape drives (if you can stand the pain). if the device it wants to boot from is not found it will exhibit this behaviour. it may also be that the system was set not to automatically boot but to only boot from the command prompt. been too long for me to tell you
how to do this. get the hardware manual. it will have the console commands in it.

Félix Blanco


Does your console prompt look like this ">>" ? if it does try this:

>>B [enter]

hope this helps.

Félix Blanco

Jonathan Green

Try typing "B" for boot at the command prompt. Also just after the memory test, error codes may print in the form of ?? XXX where x is some numeric code. Then the command prompt chevrons appear.

Anthony de la Rosa

I would say the best place to start looking for help, besides this mailing list is at

and while you're at it, sign up for the free Decus membership so that you could get yourself a free OpenVMS hobbyist license. Check out this site, it will be well worth the effort.

My department found an old VAX station II/GPX that still works, but on the XY controls, the Y control doesn't work. Does anyone know where I can find a new wheel or other components to fix this problem.

- Marcos