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The non-thinking person's guide to identifying corrective PTFs

Ever wonder how IBM tells you which PTFs to apply to fix your problem? It's not magic. Here's what you do.

Ever wonder how IBM tells you which PTFs to apply to fix your problem? It's not magic. Here's what you do. When errors do occur, you must read through the appropriate joblog and locate the error messages for the problem at hand. Once you have located the root error(s), you will need to note the FROM program and the TO Program. Bearing in mind, this tip is for the "non-thinking" person, we don't have to ponder whether the fault might lie in the FROM or the TO program.

Now, you should run a DSPOBJD against the programs in question, being sure to display the *SERVICE attributes, such as:

DSPOBJD OBJ(LIBNAME/OBJNAME) OBJTYPE(*PGM) DETAIL(*SERVICE)

**Hint** OBJTYPE is not necessarily type *PGM, it could be a service program, *OBJTYPE *SRVPGM. Run a WRKOBJ command against the object to be absolutely certain.

Now, when displaying the service details, you can page down and find a field for PTF #. At this point, you should jot down the PTF# and go to the AS/400 Technical Support Web site and search the PTF cover letters.

Now, key in the PTF# for your search criteria. From the hit list returned, see if there is a PTF# which is greater in value than the PTF applied on your system. As a general rule, the PTF with a greater number is newer and supersedes the PTF applied on your system. This can be confirmed by displaying the cover letter and reviewing the list of superseded PTFs. If "your" PTF is superseded, you are not up to date.

THIS IS THE PTF YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD AND APPLY TO YOUR SYSTEM, the supersedING one that is.

Backtracking for just a moment to the DSPOBJD command, it may turn out that there is no PTF applied for the program in error. In this case, you should enter the name of the program in doubt for search criteria, only this time you should search through the APAR database.

You should filter out the version/release appropriate to you by adding your release level to your search argument. For example, if you are on V4R4, the search argument would be "qbadpgm AND r440", quotation marks not included.

Now, similar to the PTF cover letters, you want to begin with the APAR document ID with the greatest value. When viewing it, you want to focus on two items: the PTFs Available and the Modules Affected. If the program in doubt is listed under Modules Affected, then the PTF listed is the PTF you want to apply, which we hope is the latest and greatest available. Also, if you read the Error Description contained in the APAR, you may find yourself saying "Bingo, that is precisely my problem!"

Now, after the PTFs are applied and the problem is still not resolved, you can call IBM SupportLine ready to work on the problem; but, hopefully the PTF did fix your problem.

Closing comment: The databases referenced in this tip are not necessarily current, so you may find that a call to IBM still results in a PTF prescription, but at least you tried to fix it yourself first. Also, experienced users of IBM Link should find searching through the SIS option of Service much easier than the public Web site.

Last but not least with this tip, your mileage WILL vary.


This was last published in February 2001

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