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How To Initiate a VMS (OpenVMS) Tech Support Call

(and Get the Most out of your Support Services Contract)

Here at PARSEC Group, our Technical Support Teams – OpenVMS, Unix and Linux – receive several new trouble/support calls from customers daily.

We – your Support Team specialists – want to provide timely and efficient feedback and resolutions for any and all technical issues, but we need your help to do so, as you'll be our “eyes-&-hands” with your computer system.

Here's how you can help us to make each case resolutions effective and efficient…

  • Note: You (your company or organization) must have a current PARSEC Support Agreement in place to open any Technical Support issue.
  • If you do not have a Support Contract, please contact your PARSEC Account Manager, or call 888-472-7732 (888-4PA-RSEC).
  • Other ways to reach PARSEC Sales and your Account Representative: You can email, or inquire at
  • You can also talk directly with a sales rep via our chat-box on – find it at the bottom right of our home page.
  • If you call PARSEC Tech Support without a current Support Agreement, your tech specialist will direct you to PARSEC Sales.

Initiating a Support Call via Telephone

For immediate assistance, and especially for urgent issues (system down, performance or operational impact, etc.),
call PARSEC's 24×7 Support Line:

866-372-7732 (or 866-3PA-RSEC)

If you've registered as a PARSEC Member, you can also log a new case at

This call will be answered quickly by a non-technical support representative; their job is to get basic contact information, a quick problem description, and then get you in contact with the next-available tech-support specialist from the PARSEC Support Team for your operating system.

Have the following contact information at-the-ready:

  1. Your name (please spell it for the phone-rep, if necessary)
  2. Company or organization name
  3. Your direct phone number – the one where we can reach you again “now” (please, no corporate switchboard or “main” phone#s; provide either your cellphone (preferred), or your direct-to-desk phone if you're there)
  4. Your operating system: VMS, UNIX, LINUX
  5. A very-brief problem description (save the technical details for your PARSEC tech support specialist)

Initiating a Support Call via EMail

For less-than-urgent issues – things that you want to check out or ask a question about – send an email message to one of these:

  • – Monitored by all operating system teams
  • – OpenVMS issues only
  • – Unix, AIX, HP-UX, TRU64 (and other variants)
  • – Linux, any distro or flavor

Include the same contact information and brief problem description as above.

A specialist from the Tech Support team for your operating system will get back to you either by email (likely) or telephone.

Basic VMS System Information

Please be prepared to provide these basic items of “getting started” information to the PARSEC VMS Tech Support specialist who answers your call:

1. Is the system with the problem you're reporting actually on a current support contract?

  • If yes, proceed to step 2 below…
  • If no, contact your PARSEC Account Representative before contacting the PARSEC Technical Support Team.

2. What is the:

  1. Version of VMS?
  2. Serial number of the system?
  3. Architecture of the system (Integrity, Alpha, VAX …soon X86)?
  4. How many CPUs (cores) in the system?
  5. How much physical memory?
  6. How long has the system been up?

All of the above can be displayed with either of these commands:

Command symbol (for your LOGIN.COM) and its invocation:

$ sysin*fo  == "PIPE show system /noprocess " -
             + "; write sys$output ""  Architecture  = ''F$GETSYI("ARCH_NAME")'"" " -
             + "; show cpu /full | SEARCH sys$pipe ""Serial Number"" " -
             + "; show memory /physical | SEARCH sys$pipe ""Physical Memory"" /WINDOW=(0,1)"
$ sysinfo


Just cut-&-paste the following long line onto your DCL command line (all of it; this command is identical to the one above), then hit Enter:

PIPE show system /noprocess -
; write sys$output "  Architecture  = ''F$GETSYI("ARCH_NAME")'" -
; show cpu /full | SEARCH sys$pipe "Serial Number" -
; show memory /physical | SEARCH sys$pipe "Physical Memory" /WINDOW=(0,1)

Hint: Use your mouse to select all four lines above. When the whole command is selected, enter Ctrl/C to copy it to your paste-buffer. Then go to your terminal window logged into VMS (e.g., your PuTTY session), and enter Shift+Insert to paste this text into the command line… hit Enter to execute the command.

In either case, you'll see something like this:

OpenVMS V8.4  on node CLASS8    6-SEP-2018 15:07:27.74   Uptime  51 05:30:49
  Architecture  = IA64
  Primary CPU   = 0
  HWRPB CPUs    = 2
  Page Size     = 8192
  Revision Code =
  Serial Number = (virt.) US42779094
                Serial Number..: 0001c606a2cad9bc
                Serial Number..: 000266ffb74dbc96
 Physical Memory Usage (pages):     Total        Free      In Use    Modified
   Main Memory (1.99GB)            262096       46466      211634        3996

When you run either of these commands, just cut-&-paste the resulting output into an email message for us, typically in response to the PARSEC's introductory email, Subject: Case XXXX has been logged for YourCompanyName by VMStechName.

Be sure that all of your email correspondence about this case includes the “Case XXXX” (where XXXX is your case number) as the first two words of the Subject: line.

The Problem Description -- The Basics

Your initial communication of the problem, whether by phone-conversation or email message, to the VMS Tech Support specialist who answers your call must include:

3. A simple, concise and focused description of the problem.

Stay objectively focused on what's happening, on symptoms, not on what you want fixed, or on what you “think is wrong.”


a) Good: "When a user attempts a directory command on disk DQA1:,
          he gets an error message, device not ready."
   Bad:  "We're getting a not-ready message."
b) Good: "Last night's routine BACKUP command file failed, and when
         I investigated this morning, I've found a flashing red-LED
         light on disk DKA100.  I've got the BACKUP command file
         script for you if needed."
  Bad:  "I guess backups are failing... Can you fix it for me?"
c) Good: "One of my authorized users, JSMITH, cannot login to VMS
         using SSH from her PC and a PuTTY terminal emulator.  She
         last logged in two days ago using Telnet.  Can you help me
         troubleshoot this?"
   Bad: "Users can't login, my system's down."

4. Where available (and this is nearly all the time), be ready to provide exact VMS error messages, or error message text from whatever layered software or third-party software is failing.

Also, where possible, provide the exact DCL (command line) command which is generating the error. Can the problem be reproduced at-will?


a) Good: $ directory /size /date $32$dqa1:[bjones]
         %DIRECT-E-OPENIN, error opening $32$DQA1:[BJONES]*.*;* as input
         -RMS-E-DNR, device not ready, not mounted, or unavailable
   Bad:  "We get a bad-directory error."

What Happens Next

5. The PARSEC VMS Technical Support specialist will contact you within your support contract's SLA window, either by phone or by email. Your specialist will likely follow your case all the way through to resolution, although s/he will likely consult with the rest of the VMS team as needed, and draw on the team's overall experience and expertise.

Because you've previously provided the information specified in Step 2 (above), exchanging this additional information will be much more efficient.

During the initial contact, your specialist will likely ask questions to clarify understanding of the problem, and will also ask you to provide and/or generate additional information about the problem, the operational environment, and the VMS system itself.

You may be asked to execute one or several DCL commands at the $-prompt – it is always best to do these commands from the privileged SYSTEM account, or from another sys-admin account (such as your own) which can activate the necessary VMS privileges.

Your tech specialist will rely on you for “eyes-&-hands” on the system, so be careful to execute the commands/requests s/he makes and to cut-&-paste all relevant output, plus any other information which can help shed light on the problem and its solution/resolution.

Your specialist may repeat the email requests for additional information as the overall picture of the problem emerges and builds. Be patient, but also be forthcoming with additional information if/as things do occur to you which might help. More information is (usually) better than less…


6. As soon as a clear picture of the problem emerges from this conversation, your specialist – backed by the PARSEC Tech Support team – will usually offer a best-effort diagnosis of what the root problem is, what may have caused it, and how to remedy or repair the problem. Proscriptive (preventive) steps may also be offered. It will be up to you to implement whatever steps and/or remedies your specialist will offer.

Closing the Case

7. Your Tech Support specialist will likely ask you for permission to close the case when you both agree that a successful resolution has been reached. It's okay to confirm permission to close at this point.

Of course, any previously closed case can be re-opened with a future recurrence of the problem, or to supply more newly-available information if/as needed.

how_to_initiate_a_vms_openvms_tech_support_call.1536963973.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/09/14 22:26 by lricker