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HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary

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Enables error checking by the command interpreter after the execution of each command in a command procedure. Specify SET NOON to disable error checking.






During the execution of command procedures, the command interpreter normally checks the status code returned when a DCL command or program image completes and saves the numeric value of this code in the reserved symbol named $STATUS. The low-order 3 bits of this value are also saved in the reserved symbol $SEVERITY. Command procedure execution aborts when either an error or fatal error is detected.

Use the SET NOON command to override default error checking. When SET NOON is in effect, the command interpreter continues to place the status code value in $STATUS and the severity level in $SEVERITY, but does not perform any action based on the values. As a result, the command procedure continues to execute no matter how many errors are returned.

The SET ON or SET NOON command applies only at the current command level. If you use the SET NOON command in a command procedure that executes another procedure, the default, SET ON, is established while the second procedure executes.


$ COPY  *.OBJ  *.SAV

This command procedure routinely copies all object modules into new files with the file type .SAV. The DELETE command first deletes all existing files with the .SAV file type, if any. The SET NOON command ensures that the procedure continues executing even if there are no files with the .SAV file type in the current directory. Following the DELETE command, the SET ON command restores error checking. Then the COPY command makes copies of all existing files with .OBJ file type.


Sets the rate at which output is written to a batch job log file.

For use only within command procedures that are submitted as batch or detached jobs.


SET OUTPUT_RATE [=delta-time]



The time interval at which output is written from the output buffer to the batch job log file. If no delta time is specified, the information is written in the output buffer to the log file, but the output rate is not changed from the default of once per minute. Specify delta-time as [dddd-][hh:mm:ss.cc]. For more information on delta time, refer to the OpenVMS User's Manual or the online help topic DCL_Tips (subtopic Date_Time).


When you submit a batch job, the output to be written to the log file is stored in an output buffer. Periodically, the buffer is flushed and its contents are written to the batch job log file. By default, the buffer is flushed once a minute; therefore, you can type the log file to determine how much of the job has completed while the job is still executing.

To change the default output rate, include the SET OUTPUT_RATE command in the command procedure that you are submitting as a batch job. When the SET OUTPUT_RATE command is executed within a batch job and a delta time is specified, DCL flushes the buffer, sets the default output rate, and starts a new output interval.

If the SET OUTPUT_RATE command is executed within a batch job and a delta time is not specified, DCL flushes the buffer but does not change the default output rate and does not start a new interval.

If you issue the SET OUTPUT_RATE command interactively, or within a command procedure that is executed interactively, then no action is performed.



This command, when executed within a batch job, changes the default output rate from once a minute to once every 30 seconds.


Changes a password or system password. Also, can establish a secondary password or system password, or remove a secondary password.

See the qualifier descriptions for restrictions.






All user accounts on a system have passwords. A password is required for logging in to the system.

To maintain secrecy, users should change their passwords from time to time. The SET PASSWORD command offers a means of making this change.

A system manager can control which users have the right to change their passwords, and can establish a minimum password length and the maximum period of time that a password can remain unchanged. The OpenVMS system automatically screens passwords against a dictionary and a history list to prevent the use of native language words or the reuse of old passwords. A system manager can add words readily associated with the site to the dictionary, thus disallowing them as passwords.

Systems can also have passwords (not to be confused with the password associated with the SYSTEM account). The system manager uses the SET PASSWORD/SYSTEM command to change the system password from time to time.

A user password can contain up to 32 alphanumeric and special characters. Unless your system manager has set the PWDMIX flag in your authorization account record, the only special characters permitted are the dollar sign ($) and underscore (_). Without the PWDMIX authorization, all lowercase characters are converted to uppercase before the password is encrypted. For example, "eagle" is the same as "EAGLE."

If you have PWDMIX authorization, you can specify uppercase and lowercase alphabetic characters, and you can use any special characters in the printable character set. However, avoid using characters that have special significance for layered products that accept passwords. For example, a double quotation mark (") would be unacceptable in a password in a DECnet access control string.


Blank spaces are permissible within a password, but they are not considered part of the password, and OpenVMS ignores them. For example, "MY PASSWORD" is an acceptable password, but the system only records "MYPASSWORD." This means that "MYPA SSWORD" is also a valid password for the account in question.

A password that contains blank spaces will fail in contexts where spaces have meaning. For example, the syntax of an access control string assumes there is one and only one space, preceding the password, for example:


If you enter the following command, it will fail:


Use the following procedure to change your password:

  1. Enter the SET PASSWORD command.
  2. The system prompts you for your current password. Enter your current password.
  3. The system prompts you for a new password. Enter a new password, or press Return to disable your current password.
  4. The system prompts you to verify the password. Enter the new password to verify. (If the two entries of the new password do not match, the password does not change.)

The following guidelines are recommended to minimize the chances of passwords being discovered by trial-and-error or by exhaustive search:

  • Make passwords at least 6 characters long.
  • Avoid names or words that are readily associated with you.
  • Change your passwords at least once every month.

To ensure that the previous guidelines are met, use the /GENERATE[=value] qualifier. This qualifier generates random passwords of up to 12 characters in length. The system manager can require individual users to use generated passwords. For more information about this, refer to the description of the Authorize utility's /GENERATE_PASSWORD qualifier in the HP OpenVMS System Management Utilities Reference Manual.

External Authentication

If external authentication is enabled on your system and user accounts in the SYSUAF file are marked for external authentication, those users are authenticated using their external user IDs and passwords.

When a user has logged in using external authentication, the SET PASSWORD command attempts to notify the external authentication service of any password change. The following messages are displayed when this takes place:

  %SET-I-SNDEXTAUTH, Sending password request to external authenticator
  %SET-I-TRYPWDSYNCH, Attempting password synchronization

If the external authentication service cannot be contacted or the password change is rejected, an error message is displayed to the user:

  %SET-E-EXTPWDERR, Password could not be set by external authenticator

If the user was not externally authenticated but the EXTAUTH flag is set (the user logged in with /LOCAL_PASSWORD), the new password is only set locally in the SYSUAF file (normal OpenVMS password policy checks do not apply in this case).



Generates a list of five random passwords. Press Return to repeat the procedure until a suitable password appears.

Value is a number from 1 to 10 that restricts the length of the password. For any value n, the SET PASSWORD command generates passwords of from n to (n+2) characters long.

If no value is specified, SET PASSWORD uses a default value of 6, and generates passwords from 6 to 8 characters long. Values greater than 10 are not accepted and produce errors.

If your system manager has established a minimum password length for your account, SET PASSWORD/GENERATE=n compares that length with the optional value specified with the /GENERATE qualifier, and uses the larger of the two values. If you do not specify a value with the /GENERATE qualifier, the account minimum length is used.


If the SET PASSWORD/GENERATE command fails to work properly, consult your system manager to be sure that either the file SYS$LIBRARY:VMS$PASSWORD_DICTIONARY.DATA exists, or the logical name VMS$PASSWORD_DICTIONARY is correctly defined.


Creates or allows you to replace a secondary password. The procedure is the same as setting your primary password.

Once a secondary password has been established, you will receive two PASSWORD: prompts when logging in. The primary password should be typed in first, followed by the secondary password.

Secondary passwords make it possible to set up an account that requires two different people to access it. Each person knows one of the two passwords, and both passwords are required to log in successfully.

To remove your secondary password, press Return when SET PASSWORD/SECONDARY prompts you for a new password and verification. After you do this, you will receive a single PASSWORD: prompt when logging in. If you remove the secondary password, your system manager must restore it.

The /SECONDARY and /SYSTEM qualifiers are incompatible.


Requires the SECURITY privilege.

Changes the system password rather than a user password.

A system password can be from 0 to 32 alphanumeric characters. The dollar sign ($) and underscore (_) are also permitted. Uppercase and lowercase characters are equivalent. All lowercase characters are converted to uppercase before the password is encrypted.

A system password is valid only for the node it is set on. In an OpenVMS Cluster, each node can have a different system password.

If a terminal line has the system password (SYSPWD) characteristic set, no terminal prompts are sent to that terminal until the system password is entered.

The /SYSTEM and /SECONDARY qualifiers are incompatible. For more information about the use of system passwords, refer to the HP OpenVMS Guide to System Security.


Old password: HONCHO
New password: BIG_ENCHILADA
Verification: BIG_ENCHILADA


In response to the SET PASSWORD command, the system first prompts for the old password and then for the new password. The system then prompts again for the new password to verify it. The password changes if the user is authorized to change this account's password, if the old password is given correctly, and if the new password is given identically twice; otherwise, an error message appears and the password remains unchanged.

In a real session, neither the old password nor the new password and its verification appear on the screen or paper.


Access to a MSCP/TMSCP class device may be available to an OpenVMS node from more than one host or storage controller. Use the SET PREFERRED_PATH command to specify a particular host or preferred path to access a specific MSCP class disk or TMSCP class tape device.

If a preferred path is specified, the normal OpenVMS path selection process is modified to select the user-specified path over other available paths, assuming the user-specified path is available.

This command is only meaningful for MSCP/TMSCP class devices that have more than one path available.





Specifies the name of a MSCP class disk or TMSCP class tape device.



Tells the MSCP/TMSCP class driver that you want this host to be the preferred access path to the specified device. The class driver remembers this host name until it is changed by taking one of the following actions:
  • Issuing another SET PREFERRED_PATH command specifying a different host
  • Using the /NOHOST qualifier
  • Rebooting the system

Note that simply specifying a preferred path does not mean that it is immediately selected if the disk or tape device is currently using another path. Use the /FORCE qualifier along with the /HOST qualifier to force the preferred path to be used immediately.

The host_name is the name of the host that will be the preferred path to the disk or tape device.


Tells the class driver to initiate the path selection process immediately. If this qualifier is omitted when a new host name is specified, a switch from the current path to the new preferred path will not occur until some other event initiates the path selection process.


Clears any previously defined preferred path assignment. Restores usual OpenVMS path selection behavior.




Prior to issuing this command, the $10$DUA10: disk device has host HSC015 as its primary path and host HSC014 as its secondary path. Issuing this command selects host HSC014 as the preferred path.

Note that the preferred path has been recorded by the class driver; however, the disk will remain on the current path (HSC015) until the next time the path selection process is initiated.



To make the path change occur immediately, include the /FORCE qualifier on the command line with the preferred path specification.



Issue this command to initiate path selection processing if the specified device has a primary path that differs from the preferred path.

If the preferred path is available, the device moves to that path.



Remove the specified preferred path by using the /NOHOST qualifier if the device should no longer have a preferred path.


Allows you to set a prefix control string for verified command lines.





Specifies the FAO control string to be used in generating a prefix to a verified command line. The following rules apply:
  • No more than 64 characters are allowed in the control string.
  • The resulting string can be no longer than 64 characters.
  • Basic formatting FAO directives can be used ("!/", "!_", "!^", "!!", "!%F", and "!n*c").
  • Time and date FAO directives can be used ("!%T" and "!%D").
  • Repeat counts can be used ("!n(DD)").
  • Output field length specifications can be used ("!lengthDD").
  • Combination of repeat count and output field length can be used ("!n(lengthDD)").
  • FAO directives that require arguments will always receive a value of zero.


The SET PREFIX command allows you to prefix verified command lines with a custom string. This string is a limited FAO control string that specifies date and time information as well as constant information and formatting controls (that is, tabs, form feeds, and so on). For example, this allows you to use a full date and time prefix (a time stamp) to identify batch runs and to verify that a batch job ran at the expected time.

See the documentation on the F$FAO lexical function for more information about FAO control strings.

The first line of a verified command is prefixed with the result of the control string. The control string is evaluated before the command itself is executed. Any continuation lines are prefixed with a blank string in order to make them flush with the first line of the command. Command input and output are not prefixed. The prefix control string can later be retrieved by using VERIFY_PREFIX with F$ENVIRONMENT.


$ SET PREFIX "(!5%T) "
(17:52) $ SHOW DEFAULT


This example demonstrates the difference between having and not having a prefix for verification. The first command turns on verification. (Verification must be turned on to see the prefix.) The second command invokes a test procedure to show what the output looks like without a prefix. The third and fourth lines reflect the contents of the test procedure invoked in the preceding command. The third command sets the prefix to an FAO control string so that the first five characters of the standard time will be shown for each command. The last command invokes the test procedure again to demonstrate what the output looks like with a prefix.


Establishes the characteristics of a specific line printer. The default values listed for qualifiers to the SET PRINTER command are the defaults for an initially bootstrapped system.

Requires OPER (operator) privilege. If the printer is a spooled device, LOG_IO (logical I/O) privilege is required to modify its characteristics.


SET PRINTER printer-name[:]



Specifies the name of a line printer to set or modify its characteristics.



/NOCR (default)

Controls whether the printer driver outputs a carriage return character. Use this qualifier for printers on which line feeds do not imply carriage returns.

Specify the /NOCR qualifier for printers where the line feed, form feed, vertical feed, and carriage return characters empty the printer buffer. The /NOCR qualifier causes carriage return characters to be held back and output only if the next character is not a form feed or vertical tab. Carriage return characters are always output on devices that have the carriage return function characteristic set.


/NOFALLBACK (default)

Determines whether the printer attempts to translate characters belonging to the DEC Multinational character set into 7-bit equivalent representations. If a character cannot be translated, an underscore (_) character is substituted.

If the /PASSALL qualifier is in effect, it has precedence over the /FALLBACK qualifier.

/FF (default)


Indicates whether the printer performs a mechanical form feed. Use the /NOFF qualifier when the printer does not automatically perform mechanical form feeds. This qualifier allows the driver to convert form feeds into multiple line feeds and to output them.


Specifies the printer as an LA11. This qualifier provides information for the SHOW PRINTER command, which, in turn, provides the user with information about specific printers. If no printer type is specified, LP11 is assumed.


Specifies the printer as an LA180. This qualifier provides information for the SHOW PRINTER command, which, in turn, provides the user with information about specific printers. If no printer type is specified, LP11 is assumed.


/NOLOG (default)

Determines whether information confirming the printer setting is displayed at the terminal from which the SET PRINTER command was entered.



Indicates whether the printer prints both uppercase and lowercase letters or only uppercase. When the operator specifies the /NOLOWERCASE qualifier, all letters are translated to uppercase.

The /[NO]LOWERCASE and /[NO]UPPERCASE qualifiers are complementary; that is, the /LOWERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /NOUPPERCASE qualifier, and the /NOLOWERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /UPPERCASE qualifier.

/LP11 (default)

Specifies the printer as an LP11. This qualifier provides information for the SHOW PRINTER command, which, in turn, provides the user with information about specific printers. LP11 is the default printer type.


Establishes the number of lines per page on the currently installed form; the number of lines can range from 1 to 255 and defaults to 64. The printer driver uses this value to determine the number of line feeds that must be entered to simulate a form feed.


/NOPASSALL (default)

Controls whether the system interprets special characters or passes them as 8-bit binary data.

If you specify the /PASSALL qualifier, the printer driver does not expand tab characters to spaces, fill carriage return or line feed characters, or recognize control characters.


/NOPOLLED (default)

Instructs the LRDRIVER to run in polled mode instead of interrupt mode.

In polled mode, the printer is checked on a regular basis to determine if it is ready to receive additional data. The polling timer runs only while there is more data to be sent to the printer.


/NOPRINTALL (default)

Controls whether the line printer driver outputs printable 8-bit multinational characters.


Resets the USB pipe associated with the USB printer, thereby canceling all print jobs.


/NOTAB (default)

Controls how the printer handles TAB characters. The /NOTAB qualifier expands all tab characters to spaces and assumes tab stops at 8-character intervals.

Use the /TAB qualifier when you do not want the system to convert tabs to spaces, but want the printer to process the tab characters. The OpenVMS system requires that printers expand tabs at 8-character intervals.

/TRUNCATE (default)


Controls whether the printer truncates data exceeding the value specified by the /WIDTH qualifier. Note that the /TRUNCATE and /WRAP qualifiers are incompatible.


Specifies the printer as nonstandard. This qualifier provides information for the SHOW PRINTER command, which, in turn, provides the user with information about specific printers. If no printer type qualifier is specified, LP11 is assumed.



Indicates whether the printer prints both uppercase and lowercase letters or only uppercase ones. When you specify the /UPPERCASE qualifier, all letters are translated to uppercase.

The /[NO]UPPERCASE and /[NO]LOWERCASE qualifiers are complementary; that is, the /UPPERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /NOLOWERCASE qualifier, and the /NOUPPERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /LOWERCASE qualifier.


Establishes the number of characters per output line on currently installed forms. The width, n, can range from 0 to 65535 for LP11 controllers, and from 0 to 255 for DMF32 controllers. The default value is 132 characters per line.


/NOWRAP (default)

Controls whether the printer generates a carriage return and a line feed when it reaches the end of a line.

If the /NOWRAP qualifier is specified, the printer writes characters out in the last position on the line.

If the /WRAP qualifier is specified, the terminal generates a carriage return and a line feed whenever the end of a line is reached.

Note that the /TRUNCATE and /WRAP qualifiers are incompatible.




The SET PRINTER command in this example establishes the size of an output page as 60 lines and the width of a line as 80 characters for printer LPA0.



The SET PRINTER command in this example establishes the line printer LPB0 as an LA11 printer.



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