OpenVMS screen captures


OpenVMS look & feel

At the moment of writing (August 2006) the OpenVMS operating system has become rather extinct, so I thought I'd make a page with some real screenshots taken with my digital camera from my VAXstation 4000 VLC's screen, for all people who like old operating systems, but lack a real VAXstation. I'm choosing this method to make the screen captures because it feels more authentic and interesting this way.

Login screen

This is what you'll see on the screen once you've booted up a VAX workstation running OpenVMS V6.2 and Motif V1.2.3:

If you have a newer version of OpenVMS your screen probably has another logo, this is what it looks like if you are running OpenVMS V7.3 for VAX.

Session Manager and DECterm

Next you will see a screenshot where I've logged in as the SYSTEM user and opened DECterm (terminal emulator), and I've typed in a few commands:

DECWindows with some more Motif applications opened

Some of Motif's windowmanager's preferences

OpenVMS directory structure and FileView

This is FileView, a visualization of the file system structure (like Windows Explorer in Window$). The storage device concepts are somewhat similar to DOS or Window$ if you substitute the disk device name DKA200: (which BTW means the SCSI disk with ID 2 on the first SCSI controller) with drive C: for example:

There are, however, substantial differences concerning how files are handled, each file can exist in different versions (for example, there are plenty of other differences, too).

One thing I find funny is that the root directory name of a device, is 000000 and not blank as one would expect, a relic from some of DEC's even older OS inventions. All other directories are more similar to *NIX or Window$, but instead of a slash (or a back-slash) a dot is used to separate directory sub-levels.

The famous OpenVMS vs. Window$ relation

According to some sources there is a fuzzy link between Window$ and OpenVMS. Take the letters "VMS" and go to the next alphabetical letters. Then we get the letters "WNT" which may explain how the name Windows NT was first invented. There are more traces, of course, like the conceptual similarities of the disk devices (mentioned above, but more related to DOS or CP/M for that matter) and also one particular file, for which the file name is the same and it has almost the same function, that can be seen on VMS, NT, 2K and also XP.

Look in the screenshot below, can you spot the file in question?

In case you now feel an urge to try out an emulated VAX, please go to the emulator page or go directly to SIMH pages (, there are instructions for getting OpenVMS installed on SIMH (which can be run by any PC/Mac/etc. etc.).

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Last updated:  8-8-2006