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AXP on FreeAXP 4.0

Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:20 am
by axel.elfving
This is a step by step installation guide for AXP on FreeAXP 4.0 written by community user Luc Bens. It is published on this forum with his permission.

This document is intended for first time users who are already familiar with VMS and Windows.
VMS was created as the native operating system of the VAX by Digital. It was later ported by Digital to the Alpha (AXP). Digital as a whole was transferred to Compaq, which in turn was transferred to HP. Later VSI took over AXP/VMS and its layered products.
VMS is nowadays owned by VSI (VMS Software, Inc -

This Dec-Apha AXP emulator can be obtained from Migration Specialties and is actually a full Avanti emulator. Within certain restrictions (e.g. max 128MB memory) it can be used free of change. More information and downloads can be found at
Since version 4 it will only run in 64-bit Windows.
For the current example we will use FreeAXP™ V4.0.0.653 on a Windows 7-64 machine.
  1. Download the installation kit (decsetup_653a.exe) from the above site.
  2. Double-click the kit to install as usual in Windows.
  3. At a first run you will see the Virtual Alpha Configuration Utility:
  4. At this stage we are ready to get some VMS installation material from VSI.
Prepare the needs for VMS
  1. Create a folder on the Windows system to contain the emulated VMS material. In the example case it is AXPSYS
  2. Go to the VSI-site ( - Community - Community License - Registration.
    Fill in the form and wait for the answer from VSI. They will provide you with a temporary license (6 months – renewable).
  3. You will get an email from VSI with links to a PAK and media (VMS and layered products).
Obtain the VMS media
  1. The VMS media can be found on the indicated address, which is an SFTP server. To download it’s a good idea to use tools like FileZilla.
  2. Get FileZilla FTP Client for Windows from FileZilla ( ... form=win64) and install it.
  3. Running FileZilla gives (Dutch in this example)
  4. In the Host field, you put “SFTP://”, followed by the indicated download address.
    Also input the User and Password fields with the indications from the VSI email.
  5. Select the target folder (e.g. AXPSYS) and copy at least the following files to the target address:
    ACOMMUNITY/ALPHA0842L1.ZIP;x (VMS installation files)
    ACOMMUNITY/LPS/AVMS842L2LP1.ZIP;x (Layered products 1)
    ACOMMUNITY/LPS/AVMS842L2LP2.ZIP;x (Layered products 2)
  6. These files can be opened in Windows by tools like WinRar or Zip.
    In these cabinets, you will find ISO-files to extract:
Configure the Alpha system
  1. Copy the ISO-files to the target folder (e.g. AXPSYS) on Windows:
  2. Run the Virtual Alpha Configuration Utility
  3. Create a new configuration (
    image003.png (1.37 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  4. Limit Main memory to a maximum of 128M to stay within the limits of FreeAXP_4.0.
  5. Setup 2 terminals: one as system console and one as user terminal:
    1. Tab OPA0/tty00: choose “Telnet server” and check “Start session automatically”
    2. Tab TTA0/tty01: choose “Telnet server” and check “Start session automatically”
    When started 2 CMD-windows will appear: a System Console and a User Terminal.
  6. Tab pci6 – KZPAA will get the following content:
    1. Type is KZPAA (narrow)
    2. Disk0.0: choose “image file”
      click the (…)-button and choose a name (e.g. “RZ57”) and choose a known disk type of at least 1GB, like the RZ57.
    3. Disk0.1: choose “image file”
      click the (…)-button and choose “ALPHA0842L1.ISO” (VMS-system)
      (CD-ROM will automatically be checked)
    4. Disk0.2: choose “image file”
      click the (…)-button and choose “AVMS842L2LP1.ISO” (Layered Products1)
      (CD-ROM will automatically be checked)
    5. Disk0.3: choose “image file”
      click the (…)-button and choose “AVMS842L2LP2.ISO” (Layered Products2)
      (CD-ROM will automatically be checked)
  7. The pci6 – KZPAA input will look like
  8. The disk will be initialized at first run. Click the run button (
    image004.jpg (863 Bytes) Viewed 873 times
    ) to start the Alpha.
    (Save the changes in the configuration file - e.g. “AXP”)
    The following window will appear
Install VMS
  1. At the chevron (>>>) “sh dev” will list the available devices.
    image007.png (7.51 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  2. >>>B DKA100 will boot the VMS installation kit and will ask for the date and time.
  3. After inputting date and time you get:
  4. Choose 1
  5. Return to continue:
  6. Choose INIT:
    image012.png (7.48 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  7. Select the target disk (e.g.; DKA0):
    image013.png (4.56 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  8. Take the given default or choose your own:
    image014.png (7.88 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  9. Choose 2 (for ODS-2) or 5 (for ODS-5)
    image015.png (11.38 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  10. Say YES
  11. Choose a suitable SYSTEM password. If not suitable the system will halt!
    image017.png (6.05 KiB) Viewed 873 times
  12. Skip a number of options (they can be added later on)
    Open VMS Cluster – No
    OpenVMS Galaxy – No
    SCSNODE – choose a name (e.g. “AXP”)
    use DECnet – No
    SCSSYSTEMID – a unique DECnet number (e.g. 1) unimportant if no DECnet
  13. Configure the Local Time Zone
    Choose appropriate values
  14. Configure the Time Differential Factor
    Choose appropriate values
    (daylight saving time = summer)
  15. Register PAK’s later after boot
    Say NO. (it can be input after first boot on the console)
  16. Keep it simple and only install VMS (other products can be installed later)
    DECwindows Motif – No
    DECnet-Plus – No
    DECnet Phase IV – No
    TCP/IP Services – Yes
  17. Do you always want detailed descriptions? (Yes/No) [No]
  18. Do you want the defaults for all options? [YES]
    Say NO (extra options can be added later)

    DECdtm Distributed Transaction Manager – NO
    Support for DECnet-Plus or DECnet (Phase IV) for OpenVMS – NO
    Programming Support – YES
    RMS Journaling Recovery Utility – NO
    System Programming Support – YES
    OpenVMS Management Station Software -- PC files – NO
    Utilities – YES
    - Do you want the defaults for all sub options? – YES
    Bliss Require Files - NO
    Example Files – YES
    Message Facility Files (HELP/MESSAGE) – YES
    Translated Image Support – NO
    UETP Files – NO
    DECwindows Server Support – NO
    Delete any obsolete OpenVMS files – YES
    Delete files archived by OpenVMS remedial kits – YES
    Run the installation verification procedure (IVP)? – YES
    Run the installation verification procedure (IVP)? – YES
    DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS Alpha – NO
    DECnet-Plus for OpenVMS Alpha – NO
    DECnet Phase IV for OpenVMS Alpha – NO
    TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS – YES
    Applications – YES

    Do you want to review the options? – NO
  19. The VMS installation process will start:
    image020.png (9.14 KiB) Viewed 873 times
    Say NO (don’t terminate)
    image021.png (10.58 KiB) Viewed 873 times
    Say NO (don’t terminate)
  20. Installation continues (10% 20% … 100%)
    This selection will bring you back to the AXP chevron (>>>)
  21. >>>B DKA0
    First boot will complete the VMS installation.
    … wait until started and logged out
    (PAK is not yet installed)
  22. Login SYSTEM with the chosen password.
    1. Open the license PAK from VSI in Notepad (or similar) on Windows a copy the complete contents.
    2. On the VMS console (your on SYS$SYSTEM):
      … paste the PAK content … (paste by mouse right click)
      the PAK content will be inserted
      Ctrl-Z will store the PAK.COM file and get back to the $-prompt
    3. $ @PAK will apply the PAK’s
  23. Setup your system management work, creating users and their directories, install some layered products, …
  24. $ logout to logout the SYSTEM account
  25. In the Virtual Alpha Configuration Utility you can further add/remove disks and CD-ROMs
Luc Bens 21-March-2021