OpenVMS Fundamentals

Errors Messages and Problems


Many times, the system will respond to a command with a system message. This message may be an error message, indicating that the command was incorrect, or it may be simply an informational
message intended to tell you about the status of the task.

System messages have the format:

%XXX-L-CODE, text
The XXX portion of the message is a
mnemonic for the program or system procedure which issued the message. Thus, if the error was in DEC FORTRAN the XXX portion of the message would be FORT.

The L is the severity level. The possible levels are shown in the following table.

Table 2.7: Error Message Severity Levels

Mistyping the TYPE command as TYPR results in a warning. No procedure is affected by the error and you can reenter the command:

$ TYPR FILE_NAME.TXT 
%DCL-W-IVVERB, unrecognized command verb-check validity and spelling
\TYPR\
Notice that in the preceding example, the message was issued by the DCL command interpreter and that it is a warning message.

The CODE portion of a system message is a shorthand for the description of the message given by the text. In the example above, the code is IVVERB which is shorthand for "Invalid Verb." The text of the error message indicates that the DCL command interpreter did not recognize the command. The invalid command is displayed below the error message between the backslash (\) characters.

Informational messages might look like the one below, which indicates that a tape was successfully mounted on tape drive MTA0:

%MOUNT-I-MOUNTED, TAPE mounted on MTA0:
The following example shows a fatal error.

%FORT-F-OPENIN, error opening DISK$SHARE0:[SMITH]PROG.FOR as input
-RMS-F-FNF, file not found
This message has two parts: the first says that FORTRAN could not open the specified file, the second says that the Record Management System (which tracks user files) could not locate the file in the current directory. Both are fatal errors, aborting the operation.

Error messages may seem difficult at first, but they become more useful as you gain experience.

Runaway Processes

Occasionally, a program will seem to be in an endless loop (consumes resources, but produces nothing), and you are sure that you did not press - or . If this is the case, you may have a runaway process on your hands.*1

To abort a runaway process:

  1. Press - to interrupt the program.

  2. If that doesn't work, press - to try a system interrupt. This will abort most runaway processes.

  3. If the process is still running, then you will have to resort to some Arnold Schwarzenegger methods that use a bit of brute force:

  4. If the process is still running, then type SHOW SYSTEM. If your process has a state of RWxxx (for example, RWAST) then it may never become computable and cannot be killed. If this is the case, talk to the system manager, or send mail to SYSTEM.

Table 2.7: - Error Message Severity Levels
Runaway Processes

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