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1996 Digital AlphaServer 2100 4/275


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  1996 Digital AlphaServer 2100 4/275 by Bill Degnan - 05/11/2015 08:57
Digital AlphaServer 2100 4/275
The Digital Equipment Corp AlphaServer 2100 series model 4/275. This AlphaServer is powered by an Alpha 21064A microprocessor. Features include a 275-MHz CPU with 4 Mbyte cache; Click image for larger view.

So far the system powers up, initializes and then fails to load an operating system. This machine would have been shipped with OpenVMS, Digital UNIX or Windows NT. Click image to see larger view.

More pictures

  Resetting SYSTEM password Alpha 2100 by Bill Degnan - 06/01/2015 12:16
Resetting SYSTEM password Alpha 2100 running Open VMS 7.1

Boot the system, get to the >>> prompt.

Enter command:

This will show the names of the drives. On my system the boot drive turned out to be DKB200: Your system may vary. Assuming it's DKB200:

Enter command:

b DKB200 -flags 0,1

This will eventually drop you to the SYSBOOT prompt. If asked first asked for the date enter it per format requested.


This will drop you to the $ prompt.


This will drop you to the UAF prompt.


This will bring you back to the $ prompt. Log out


The Alpha 2100 then asked me to reset my password to something 8-32 chars, etc.

  compaq QVision VGA Controller by Bill Degnan - 06/01/2015 19:34
I was able to reset the password but there is a point where the system (appears to) go into a hi-res mode. At that point the Dell SuperVGA monitor I have attached to the system loses its synch and I cannot see anything intelligible on the screen.

I also noticed that the system battery needs to be replaced.

So, next I will either attach a serial terminal and see if I can change whatever parameter in the video initialization turns off or otherwise synchs with the SuperVGA monitor I have available OR get the correct type of monitor. This is the era when SuperVGA did not have the 15th pin in the cable, one cannot simply grab any VGA monitor from a more modern-ish machine.

This might help:

So...I simply snipped pin 9 from a modern VGA cable (the "key" pin) and attached a relatively modern ViewSonic Flatscreen monitor to the AlphaServer's "keyed" VGA port. I have a GUI for my DEC OpenVMS 7.1 workstation / minicomputer whatever you call it. The thing is as big as a lawn tractor. I can set this up to perform basic Internet services. Now I have three systems running different versions of OpenVMS.

  System Cleanup by Bill Degnan - 06/11/2015 09:32
The next thing to do is setup the networking so that I can access the system using a terminal via telnet, remotely. I modified the networking parameters -


... and assigned an IP address that I have control over to be dedicated to the machine. I also assigned a new subdomain that will point to it.

As nice as the DECWindow interface is, it's hard to use the DECTerminal program with a modern keyboard. Much easier to interface via a telnet session. Without a proper terminal and keyboard I am handicapped - for example to send a CTRL+Z I have to use an ALT+Z (discovered by trial and error). Some things I could not do - There is for example no way to TAB across a list of selections, etc.


I noticed that after each boot the following errors were appearing
"..volume was improperly dismounted..." on drive HLC$DKA0: At one of the drives seems to be WRITELOCKed. Researched around a few useful sites


... where I found this snippet from an old USENET post


> Correct - the system disk is (obviously) mounted very early. Normally
> without rebuilding - I forget whether this is a special case within the
> mount code or whether it is controlled by a system parameter.





ACP_REBLDSYSD specifies whether the system disk should be rebuilt
if it was improperly dismounted with extent caching, file number
caching, or disk quota caching enabled. The ACP_REBLDSYSD default
value (1) ensures that the system disk is rebuilt. Setting the
value to 0 means the disk is not rebuilt.

Depending on the amount of caching enabled on the volume
before it was dismounted, the rebuild operation may consume a
considerable amount of time. Setting the value of ACP_REBLDSYSD
to 0 specifies that the disk should be returned to active service
immediately. If you set ACP_REBLDSYSD to 0, you can enter the DCL
command SET VOLUME/REBUILD at any time to rebuild the disk.

The default value for this parameter is 1, which means to rebuild the
system volume at startup.



$ @sys$system:shutdown



there's more though...

  Repairs to DKB100 by Bill Degnan - 06/12/2015 10:34
So far I can boot from DKB200, but the boot scripts have many references to DKB100, which apparently is where all of the library data files are located. When you access the system as guest user you find quickly that you can't access the LIST (services) command.

How to fix? Hardware or writelck (writelock)?

Here is a screen dump:

%SHOW-F-OPENOUT, error opening HLC$DKA0:[HLC$99.GUEST]LIST.TMP; as output
-RMS-E-DNF, directory not found
-SYSTEM-W-NOSUCHFILE, no such file

Cannot open list.tmp. Contact System Manager.


The drive clicks when booting up....

show dev reveals this:

HLC$DKB100: Online 1 (error)

I think that I need to get this drive up and running to restore full function to this server.

I saw something like DKA100: No such device ... in the boot messages. I need some help!

  OpenVMS Desktop by Bill Degnan - 06/18/2015 17:22

Uploaded new photos

  SMTP Email Setup by Bill Degnan - 06/19/2015 14:14
Initial test:
from system to gmail OK
from gmail to system NOT:

%%%%%%%%%%% OPCOM 19-JUN-2015 14:11:12.61 %%%%%%%%%%%
Message from user SYSTEM on HLC
PSC SMTP Server: Syntax error in MULTINET:SMTP_SERVER_REJECT. (line 30) - ACTION field must be Y, N, or Q

  FTP Setup by Bill Degnan - 06/20/2015 17:41
Outbound FTP works. I have been able to connect to external FTP...testing...

  Alpha Web Server by Bill Degnan - 11/08/2017 10:59
I located a web site in the HLC$DKB200:[] directory and I used FTP to upload it to my local machine.

I did some probing and found two of the drives in the system are not mounting and have errors. I will come back to that problem.

I can at least get into the Alpha GUI and next I'd like to work on getting Mosaic working correctly. I need to get into two systems, and the related programs that use them such as Mosiac so I can access web pages. DNS CLERK and DECdns. More to come.



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