HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

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The OpenVMS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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11.11 %DECW-W-NODEVICE, No graphics device found on this system?

To resolve the following error:

%DECW-W-NODEVICE, No graphics device found on this system
-DECW-I-NODECW, DECwindows graphics drivers will not be loaded
  • Ensure that the system parameter WINDOW_SYSTEM is set to 1. If it is not set to a value of 1, issue the commands:

    $ run sys$system:sysgen

    Then reboot the system.
  • On OpenVMS Alpha, ensure the SYSMAN IO PREFIX LIST is set correctly, and specifically ensure the DECW$ prefix is included in the existing list. If it is not, you will need to add it:

    $ run sys$system:sysman
    IO SET PREFIX=(DECW$,*)   * = list returned by the show command
  • Ensure that the image SYS$SHARE:DECW$ICBM.EXE is installed in memory. If it is not installed, then install it:


    $! The following line was added to install
    $! support for the Mach64 Graphics Card
    $ ^Z

    Then reboot the system.
    The ICBM mechanism is not used on and not needed by more recent DECwindows versions.
  • If the system still complains "%DECW-W-NODEVICE, No graphics device found on this system", then:
    • Boot the system as normal
    • Login as SYSTEM.
    • Create the file SYS$COMMON:[SYSMGR]DECW$USER_AUTOCONFIG.DAT. Protection must permit world read access.
    • Add the following string on the very first line:

    • Save the file
    • Set the file protections

    • Reboot the system

Also see Section 11.5.

11.12 How can I reset the warning bell volume?

With DECwindows CDE drivers and ECOs starting with ECOs for the DECwindows keyboard driver SYS$IKBDRIVER.EXE in OpenVMS Alpha V7.1-2 and V7.2-1 and with the SYS$IKBDRIVER.EXE included in OpenVMS V7.2-1H1 and later, the DECwindows CDE controls will now correctly manage the setting of the warning bell volume.

Unfortunately, the equivalent controls in the older DECwindows Motif interface are not compatible and can no longer manage the warning bell volume.

If you need to manage the volume with DECwindows Motif, consider using the following approach:

$ @decw$utils:decw$define_utils
$ xset b 1 100 100

The numerics are the volume, pitch, and duration, respectively.

Why? When OpenVMS first started supporting the PC-style keyboards, the X Windows Server and the keyboard driver interface did not support the pitch and duration, and neither did DECwindows Motif. The DECwindows keyboard driver was accordingly changed to use the volume from the keyclick setting (keyclick is not available in a PC-style keyboard) and the bell volume setting to control the pitch and duration.

DECwindows CDE does provide sliders for setting pitch and duration, so the keyboard driver and X Windows Server were modified to provide all of the information, and now the DECwindows CDE sliders work. This change is unfortunately incompatible with the old scheme used on the pre-CDE desktops, and the volume controls are now incompatible with the current keyboard drivers. Hence the use of xset.

11.13 How can I alter the DECwindows CDE backdrop?

To select a separate backdrop to be displayed on each screen using DECwindows CDE:

  • Click on the Application Manager. This is the drawer icon on the CDE toolbar.
  • Click on Desktop Tools
  • Click on Set Default Screen and select the required screen
  • Click on the Style Manager. This is the one containing the mouse and ttt on the CDE toolbar
  • Now change the background.

11.14 How can I enable the DECwindows TCP/IP Transport

To configure the TCP/IP transport for DECwindows, first ensure that a TCP/IP package is installed and configured. Then set the DCL symbol DECW$SERVER_TRANSPORTS in SYS$MANAGER:DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM to the appropriate local value, based on the comments in that file. If you do not have a copy of SYS$STARTUP:DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM, the use the following COPY command to create this file based on the provided template file:


11.15 Can I use DECwindows 1.2-* on OpenVMS V7.3-2 or later?

The short answer is no.

OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-2 only supports DECwindows Motif V1.3 and later. If you require DECwindows V1.2-6 or earlier, then you are limited to operations on OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-1 and earlier releases.

The central technical reason involves depdendencies among the parts of the X11 subsystem that are delivered with the base OpenVMS operating system including the X Windows display server and the transport images, and the parts of the DECwindows product that are delivered within the DECwindows installation kits including the client libraries and the DECwindows applications.

DECwindows V1.3 and later made substantial changes to the transport layer, and these required corresponding changes to both the associated client and server code. OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-2 includes the server and transport with the V1.3 modifications. These changes were in support of the upgrade of Xlib from X11R5 to X11R6.6, and transport-level changes associated with support of the Kerberos and LBX features.

If you attempt to load DECwindows V1.2-6 images onto an OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-2 or later system, the DECwindows libraries will not function with with system images and will particularly not function with the transport layer.

11.16 How to add Fonts into DECwindows?

The following assumes DECwindows V1.3-1 and OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-2 and later unless stated otherwise, and can permit fonts of various formats to be added into the DECwindows environment.

The recommended location for user font files is to place them in the directories which are reserved for this purpose, typically located below the SYS$COMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW] directory.


The above are recommended for PCF files of 100 Dots Per Inch (DPI) and of 75 DPI resolution, respectively.


The above is recommended for other PCF files, such as terminal (character cell) fonts, and fonts used by specific applications.


The above are recommended for cursors.


SPEEDO is recommended for SPD files.


USER_TRUETYPE is recommended for TrueType (TTF) fonts. Fonts placed in this directory should be in the "Windows / Linux" format.

The directory will contain the font files themselves, and a data file that describes each font in the directory. This file is named DECW$FONT_DIRECTORY.DAT or DECW$FONT_DIRECTORY_extension.DAT, where "extension" is replaced by the type of font (100DPI, SPEEDO, TRUETYPE, TYPE1, etc.)

Make sure that the file protection on the font files is set to allow world access to the fonts.

For example: to add TrueType fonts to DECwindows, place the font files in SYS$COMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_TRUETYPE]

A directory listing might look like this:


ARKOI8N.TTF;1                            46KB/48KB        5-MAR-1995 04:00:00.00
backstage.ttf;1                          55KB/56KB       19-JUL-2004 09:42:20.92
IDAutomationHC39M_Free.ttf;1             27KB/32KB       29-JUL-2003 11:25:48.00
texsi.ttf;1                             133KB/136KB      25-MAY-2003 15:31:11.00
texw.ttf;1                              150KB/152KB      25-MAY-2003 15:32:33.00

Total of 37 files, 3.09MB/3.23MB

The case of the filename is not important.

TrueType fonts should be in Stream_LF file format.

To generate the appropriate DECW$FONT_DIRECTORY.DAT file for most font formats, issue the command:


The above may or may not operate with TrueType files, and you will likely have to generate the DECW$FONT_DIRECTORY_TRUETYPE.DAT file manually. A sample file follows:

BACKSTAGE.ttf -Grfonts-Backstage-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
IDAutomationHC39M_Free.ttf -IDAutomation-HC39M-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-m-0-misc-Barcode39
SUSESerif-Bold.ttf -Suse-Suse-bold-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESerif-Roman.ttf -Suse-Suse-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESans-Bold.ttf -Suse-Suse-bold-r-normal-sans-0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESans-BoldOblique.ttf -Suse-Suse-bold-o-normal-sans-0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESans-Oblique.ttf -Suse-Suse-medium-o-normal-sans-0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESans-Roman.ttf -Suse-Suse-medium-r-normal-sans-0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
SUSESansMono-Bold.ttf -Suse-Suse Mono-bold-r-normal-sans-0-0-0-0-m-0-iso8859-1
MCTIMEBI.TTF -UOregon-MAC C Times-bold-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-macedonian-0
MCTIMEI.TTF -UOregon-MAC C Times-medium-i-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-macedonian-0

The first line of this data file is the number of font file entries which follow. Each entry consists of the font file name, and a font description. There are fourteen fields in the description, separated by hyphens (dashes, "-"). Fields may contain embedded spaces. The fields are

  • Foundry: the name of the company or person which produced the font.
  • Family: the name of the Typeface (what most people will call the "font").
  • Weight: How "heavy" the type appears. Normal fonts are "medium" or "regular", variations include "bold", "demi", "light", etc.
  • Slant: "r" for regular, "i" for italic, or "o" for oblique.
  • Width: "normal", "wide", "narrow", "condensed", etc.
  • Style: normally left empty, it can also identify variations on a basic family such as "sans" (sans serifs; without the serif, the ending and usually pointed portion of the stroke). Fonts of different styles can be grouped in the same family.
  • Sizes: the next four fields identify the size and scale of individual characters for fonts that have fixed point sizes. For fonts which scale (such as TrueType), the four fields are all zero.
  • Spacing: "p" for proportional, "m" for monospaced, or "c" for character cell.
    Note: although DECwindows can identify different spacings within a family, the author has found that mixing monospaced and proportional fonts in the same family may cause some proportional font options to not appear in a font selection menu within Notepad (only). (A fix for this is expected in DECwindows V1.5 and later.)
  • The next field is always zero for TrueType fonts.
  • Character Set: the last two fields identify the name and version number of the character set represented within the font. For many applications, these fields are informational only.

The next step is to update the list of fonts known to DECwindows, using the xset utility.

$ mc decw$utils:xset fp rehash

It is also possible to reset the font list to the default:

$ mc decw$utils:xset fp default

This is useful if you need to recover from errors.

The Notepad utility, normally available through the "Applications" menu in Session Manager, is a convenient way to see if the font is available. Start the application, select "Options", then select "Font...". In the "Family (Foundry)" window, you will see the list of fonts available. User-added TrueType fonts will normally be at the end of this list. Select the desired font family, then select the Size (dpi) (which will always be 0(0) for TrueType fonts), and the various font options (Weight, Slant, Width, etc.) should appear in the next window. You should then be able to select the desired font and click [OK] or [Apply] to use it, or [Cancel] to exit without changing the font.

If you don't see all of the fonts you added, check to see that the number at the beginning of the DECW$FONT_DIRECTORY*.DAT file is correct, that the files are set to world (or appropriate) access, and that TrueType fonts are in Stream_LF format.

Some applications require entering a full font name, which will look like the font description entry.

Please keep in mind that not all applications can use every font which may be available on your system. For example, DECterm is designed to use families of fonts specifically designed for character cell applications. Other fonts (specifically TrueType) may work erratically, and may result in an unusable display. It is best to use only monospaced fonts specifically intended for DECterm with DECterm.

The SYS$COMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_TRUETYPE] doesn't exist on OpenVMS VAX V7.3 with DECwindows V1.2-6, but the procedure above does appear to work if the directory is created and the instructions above are followed.

Chapter 12
Miscellaneous Information

If you are searching for something here, please consider using the text-format FAQ.

12.1 Where can I find information on escape and control sequences?

Information on escape and control sequences can be found in the OpenVMS I/O User's Reference Manual, in the chapter on the terminal driver. The chapter also includes details on the general format and content of these sequences.

Specific details on the escape and control sequences supported by a particular serial device are typically found in the documentation provided with the specific device. Information on the sequences supported by DECwindows DECterm terminal emulator are included in the DECwindows documentation.

Examples of common escape and control sequences---those typically used by the OpenVMS screen management package---can be found in the OpenVMS system file SYS$SYSTEM:SMGTERMS.TXT. (This file can be queried under program control using SMG$GET_TERM_DATA, and you don't need to use all of SMG to use this call.)

The following refers to the function keys on the LK-series keyboards found on the VT-series terminals such as the VT220 and VT510, and the LK-series keyboards found on the OpenVMS workstations, and the keyboards found on compatible terminals. (Though note that the keyboard itself does not generate the sequence, the terminal or terminal emulator generates the sequence in response to user input.) In the following, {CSI} is decimal code 155 and can be replaced by the sequence "{ESC}[" (without the quotes) particularly for seven-bit operations, SS3 is decimal code 143 and can be replaced by "{ESC}O" particularly for seven-bit operations. Older VT1xx series terminals and any other terminals operating with seven-bit characters should not be sent eight-bit operators such as {CSI} and {SS3}.

PF1={SS3}P PF2={SS3}Q PF3={SS3}R PF4={SS3}S
KP0={SS3}p KP1={SS3}q KP2={SS3}r KP3={SS3}s KP4={SS3}t KP5={SS3}u
KP6={SS3}v KP7={SS3}w KP8={SS3}x KP9={SS3}y KPCOMMA={SS3}l KPMINUS={SS3}m
PREV={CSI}5~ NEXT={CSI}6~ F6={CSI}17~ F7={CSI}18~ F8={CSI}19~ F9={CSI}20~
F10={CSI}21~ F11={CSI}23~ F12={CSI}24~ F13={CSI}25~ F14={CSI}26~
HELP={CSI}28~ DO={CSI}29~ F17={CSI}31~ F18={CSI}32~ F19={CSI}33~ F20={CSI}34~

An example of working with escape sequences (in DCL) follows:

$ esc5m = "*[5m"
$ esc5m[0,8] = 27
$ esc0m = "*[0m"
$ esc0m[0,8] = 27
$ write sys$output esc5m + "blinking text" + esc0m

Documentation on an ANSI terminal relatively similar to the VT525 series is available at:

Also see the various documentation and manuals available at:

Information on the ReGIS graphics character set is available at:


Also see Section 11.6, Section 8.13.

12.2 Does DECprint (DCPS) work with the LRA0 parallel port?


The parallel printing port LRA0: found on many OpenVMS Alpha systems is capable of some bidirectional communications, with enough for basic operations with most parallel printers.

DECprint (DCPS) requires more than just the simple handshaking provided by the LRA0: port, therefore DCPS does not work with the LRA0: port.

12.3 How do I check for free space on a (BACKUP) tape?

You cannot know for certain, though you can certainly estimate the remaining capacity.

Tape media is different than disk media, as disks have a known and pre-determined fixed capacity. Modern disks also appear logically perfect, based on bad block revectoring support and the extra blocks hidden within the disk structure for these bad block replacements.

The capacity of tape media is not nearly as pre-determined, and the capacity can vary across different tape media (slightly different media lengths or different foil markers or other variations, for instance) and even on the same media over time (as bad spots in the media arise). Tapes can vary the amount of recording media required, depending on the remaining length of the tape, the numbers of correctable and uncorrectable media errors that might occur, the numbers and sizes of the inter-record gaps and related tape structure overhead, the particular media error recovery chosen, the tape density, the efficiently of any data compression in use, and the storage overhead required by BACKUP, tar, and other similar commands.

BACKUP using with the default settings results in approximately 15% overhead, in terms of saveset size. (eg: Assuming a 500 KB input, the total size would be 575 KB.)

Assuming no compression:
4 GB media / 575 KB saveset = 7294 savesets

Assuming 1:2 compression:
8 GB media / 575 KB saveset = 14588 savesets


There are no inter-record gaps on DAT tapes. When determining media capacity, you have to consider these gaps with nine-track magtape media and other formats with gaps. This is not the case with DAT (DDS), as the format has no recording gaps. However, the block structure underneath the variable length record recording is based on a block size of circa 124 KB. Further, writing doubles filemarks and such can cause a loss of up to the underlying block size. Thus even though there are no inter-record gaps on DAT, larger savesets are still usually best.

The compression algorithms used on various devices are generally not documented---further, there is no way to calculate the effective data compression ratio, the tape mark overhead, and similar given just the data to be stored on tape---short of actually trying it, of course.

A typical compression ratio found with "everyday" data is somewhere around 1:1.8 to 1:2.


OpenVMS often uses the term COMPACTION for compression control, as in the qualifier /MEDIA_FORMAT=COMPACTION.

12.4 Correctly using license PAKs and LMF?

If you have multiple LMF$LICENSE.LDB databases in your OpenVMS Cluster, then each and every PAK must be installed in each and every license database present in an OpenVMS Cluster. Even if you use /EXCLUDE or /INCLUDE, you need to have a consistent set of PAKs registered across all licensing databases present in the OpenVMS Cluster.

If your software license permits it, you can use the following two commands to transfer license PAKs:


To display the particular license(s) required (such as when you receive a NOLICENSE error), use the following DCL sequence:


This logical name will cause all license failures to generate OPCOM messages, and this will hopefully show which license(s) you need--- there may well also be additional license failures displayed, as various products can check for and can be enabled by multiple license PAKs. You will want to deassign this logical name when done.

Some of the more common license PAKs:

  TCP/IP Services:   UCX, or NET-APP-SUP*
  OpenVMS VAX:       VAX-VMS
  Cluster (Alpha):   VMSCLUSTER, NET-APP-SUP*

Various NET-APP-SUP (NAS) license packages are available, each with differing collections of products authorized. See the various NAS Software Product Description (SPD) documents for specific details.

To determine which license PAK is failing (via a license check failure OPCOM message), use the command:


Realize that defining this logical name will cause license checks that are otherwise hidden (unimplemented, latent, or part of a check for any of a series of licenses) to become visible. In other words, expect to see zero or more spurious license check calls when you define this, in addition to the check for the particular license.

For information on PAKGEN and on generating license PAKs, please see Section 10.10. For information on obtaining commercial and hobbyist licenses, and for additional adminstrative information on LMF, please see Section 2.8.4 and Section 2.8.1.

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