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Ask the Wizard Questions

PATHWORKS: Simple computer questions

The Question is:


It is me again.  I was wondering about something else.
On our campus network here at FLC we have 5 severs each
with there own name (following a general theme - Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs).  Bshful, Doc, Grumpy, Happy,
& Snowht are their names.  Each of these servers I believe
has normal drives that I am used to like C:\.  Then once
I get onto the VAX I get drives like:

Are these drives on the servers like the C drive but just
called different names because they are controlled by the
OpenVMS operating system?  Can one server have drives that
are DOS drives and drives that are OpenVMS drives?  Also
Is there any standard hierarchy to a VAX system?  I am
trying to understand how the VAX and OpenVMS operating
system works in general.  I am a computer science major
with an interest in Operating Systems and core functions
of the computer like the BIOS and the ROM's.

Thank's again very much for all your time and effort.

The Answer is:

Apparently the servers in question are running Pathworks.  This layered product
let's an OpenVMS system become a file and/or disk server to network connected

On your PC, the USE command or the network connection form can be used to
establish new drives by specifying the appropriate path.  Pathworks has two
methods of achieving this; a container file (relatively boring) and direct
access to native files.  Either an explicit service can be setup using ADMIN or
an implicit one to a user account without setting anything special up.

Use the SHOW DEVICE D command to get a list of all drives on the OpenVMS system.
Whereas a MS-DOS or Windows system uses a single letter to name drives, OpenVMS
uses a more complex structure.  On the other hand, OpenVMS and the others are
similar in having a treed directory structure on those drives.

Pathworks forms a binding between a DOS drive and an OpenVMS directory on a
drive.  You could have multiple DOS drives bound to different directories on the
same OpenVMS drive.

OpenVMS goes further and allows drives to be referenced by logical names instead
of the physical name.  So, for example, crystal and diamond are just such
logical names.  The SHOW LOGICAL command will reveal the mapping.  I also like
the SHOW DEVICE logical_name command to automatically work through any nested