Operating System - OpenVMS
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product install

Occasional Advisor

product install


what is the major different between VMSINSTAll.com and PCSI UILITY?

Thank you
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: product install

VMS has some fine manuals over at


including the system management utilities manual in which you will find answers to this question and many others
Purely Personal Opinion
Richard W Hunt
Valued Contributor

Re: product install

Short answer, and by no means complete or definitive.

VMSINSTAL uses .BCK (Backup utility) files as containers. The containers get extracted according to a control file found in the .A container that is the first file you see in the kit. The other containers, .B or .C or etc., contain the main and optional files associated with the kit.

PCSI uses something else that allows for in-line patching as well as binary-file replacement.
Sr. Systems Janitor
Martin Vorlaender
Honored Contributor

Re: product install

Apart from the storage differences Richard told you about:

PCSI (at least newer versions) keeps a list of installed files, and stashes away old files in case of an upgrade, so that a removal of kits is possible.

VMSinstal does nothing like that (apart from the question "Are you satisfied with the backup of your system disk" when installing :-)

Steve Reece_3
Trusted Contributor

Re: product install

Both are methods for the delivery of files from HP and other parties to your system.
VMSINSTAL uses backup savesets for the delivery of files.
PCSI uses a different binary format that requires PRODUCT commands to list the files contained.

PCSI does a better job of working out whether a new file is actually required or not. For example, if you're applying a patch which has an impact on widget.exe, VMSINSTAL will probably just supply the new image. The PCSI utility and PRODUCT commands will actually work out whether you need the "new" version of the file or whether you already have a more recent version of the file on your system.

For VAX, patches are distributed (more often than not) as kits for VMSINSTAL. These are distinguished by a single letter extension (.A, .B etc) whereas those for Alpha and Integrity tend to be released as PCSI kits.
Shriniketan Bhagwat
Trusted Contributor

Re: product install


PCSI utility i.e. PRODUCT command has /SAVE_RECOVERY_DATA qualifier, which enables the retention of recovery data for later use. This feature is not available in VMSINSTALL.

With this qualifier, the directories, files, and libraries that are modified or deleted in the process of installation are saved in a directory tree on the system disk. These files, along with a copy of the
product database, comprise the recovery data set. This recovery data set can be used later to uninstall patch through PRODUCT UNDO PATCH command.

Richard J Maher
Trusted Contributor

Re: product install

Hi Puji

I personally think of PCSI as "The DECnet/OSI of installation tools" if that helps any?

I'm happy with VMSINSTAL (although you do have to provide your own DEinstall scripts) and so is Oracle/Rdb and pretty much everyone outside DEC/Compaq/HP who weren't given conversion funding to justify PCSIs existence.

Like DECForms banging on about seperating "form and function" PCSI's raison detre was to "stop being so procedural". Yep, there was a time when DEC would fund projects on "requirements" as flimsy as those.

If something as useful as what PCs have comes along for VMS then I might change. In the meantime concentrate on the functionality that your actual product provides and leave the mundane installation tasks to the VMSINSTAL workhorse.

Cheers Richard Maher

PS. If you have trouble finding the Developer's guide to VMSINSTAL it's 'cos they tried to force people to use PCSI by sticking it and obsolete-features/srchived section of the library.