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DEC Windows Command Line Login

Rob Kersey

DEC Windows Command Line Login

I recently noticed on the Login screen of one of our SOLARIS box's that there is the option to login as a command Prompt Login?

Is it possible to set this up on DEC windows on our AXP VMS (7.3) boxes as we would like to be able to use captive accounts to login for some operator tasks / duties.

I have had a look in decW$PRIVATE_APPS_SETUP.TEMPLATE and also CDE$SYSTEM_COMMON:[CONFIG.C]XRESOURCES.DAT but cant se any options to add more login options such as add command line login.

The other option is to turn DEC windows off at the console but would rather not do this if it is not necessary.

Can anyone point me in the direction of some good documentaion?
Martin P.J. Zinser
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC Windows Command Line Login

Hello Rob,

depending on your VMS version and/or graphics card you might be able to switch between console and Decwindows mode using Ctrl/F2 . This does tend not to work on more recent Decwindows versions according to my experience :-(

Greetings, Martin
John Gillings
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC Windows Command Line Login


The DECwindows login box is effectively just an X application that prompts for username and password. When they validate it then starts up session and window managers.

You should be able to create a private application to start up, either instead of, or in addition to, the login box, which lets you fire up a lone DECterm on the display with a "Username" prompt (since you probably don't want to start a window manager, the DECterm won't have any "decorations")

For your needs, perhaps a simple window with two buttons "Command Line" and "DECwindows". "Command Line" would result in a DECterm with a login prompt. When logged out, the screen would return to the two buttons. "DECwindows" would result in a normal DECwindows login box. Again, when the session completed back to the two buttons.

This is definitely feasible, but you will need to cut some code. Implementation left as an exercise ;-)

Your other option is to provide operators with an account that fires up a heavily customised (and somewhat lobotomised?) DECwindows environment with very limited options. Remember you can arrange to start a DECterm in a different account from the owning session, if necessary. This is more flexible and may be simpler to implement.

If you would like DECwindows to be enhanced to include this feature, please log a case against your service contract and ask the service engineer to submit a formal enhancement request to DECwindows engineering.
A crucible of informative mistakes
Martin Kirby

Re: DEC Windows Command Line Login


I am not sure what your objective is. Is it to force certain accounts to have just a DECterm or is it to allow it? Also, which desktop are you using?

The New Desktop login box has a Failsafe session which is just a DECterm.

If you want a captive account style then use a DECW$LOGIN.COM file to redefine DECW$SESSIONMAIN to a create terminal command (not tried this). The traditional desktop login sequence is discussed in section 4.2 of:


There isn't any good documentation for the New Desktop as it mostly is still Unix documentation and takes a lot of interpretation.

Hope that helps,

Martin Kirby
Mohamed K Ahmed
Trusted Contributor

Re: DEC Windows Command Line Login

You can either disable the Xstart command, like disable the X windows or CDE windo from loading at the start of the system.
You can set any terminal to be used as an operator terminal and recieve all the OPCOM messages like failed logins, mounting disks and others by issuing the command
$ reply/enable
at any terminal
when you are done, you can disable it by the command
$ reply/disable.

Try it, I think this is what you are looking for