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Upgrading software? Gather all essential OS/400 information first

Find the OS/400 information you need to order, configure, or upgrade a piece of software.

Call it a personal quirk, but I get annoyed at how much information I have to provide for software upgrades and purchases. When ordering, installing, or upgrading IBM software, customers like me frequently have to reference their current PTF level, server model and feature code, how much main memory your iSeries has, how much free DASD is on your system, and all the software options installed on your system. And this is usually before we get around to actually installing the software.

If you're not organized enough (like me) to keep all this information in one place, there's a few easy ways to find it whenever it's needed. To that end, here's a cheat sheet for locating some of the more common pieces of OS/400 information you may be asked for when you order, configure, or upgrade a piece of software.

Cumulative PTF level - Many vendors specify that you have to be at a certain OS/400 PTF cume tape level to install or upgrade software (WebSphere V4.0 for iSeries, for example, specifies a cume level of C1196450 or greater for V4R5). To check your system's cume tape level, use the Display Program Temporary Fix (DSPPTF) command as follows to display the most recent cume tape that have been applied against your operating system. For OS/400 V4R5, enter the command this way:


For OS/400 V5R1, enter the command this way:


The top PTF listed in the Display PTF Status display that appears is a marker PTF that has a PTF ID listed in the 'TL0nnnn' format, where nnnn is a four-digit number that is encoded with your current cume tape level. To translate that number into your current cume level, append the letter 'C' to the beginning of the nnnn number and add your operating system level to the end of the number (note: only use the three digit OS number without any letters: i.e, '450' for OS/400 V4R5 and '510' for V5R1). By doing this, you would see that a V4R5 5769999 PTF of TL01196 indicates a PTF level of C1196450, while a V5R1 5722999 PTF of TL02071 specifies cume level C2071501. Once you understand how these numbers are loaded, it's simple to determine your PTF level. If there are several 'TL0nnnn' PTFs listed for your operating system, your current cume PTF level is the highest number 'TL' PTF under the operating system PTFs, which, as I said, will also be shown at the top of the list.

OS/400 Server and Feature Code - This server number refers to the model number of your system (i.e., 270, 640, 820, etc), while the feature code refers to the processor feature the model contains (i.e, 2292, 2061, 2248, etc). You can find this information from the green screen or in iSeries Operations Navigator. To find it on the green screen, enter the Start Service Tools (STRSST) command and select option 1 (Start a Service Tool) followed by option 7 (Hardware Service Manager) from the SST menu. On the Hardware Service Manager screen that appears, select F6 to print your configuration and the server number and feature code will be listed at the top of each page (you can also spot some other nice pieces of system information on this report, including the system serial number and your system type).

It's even easier to find this information in Ops Nav. Under your AS/400 icon, open the Configuration and Service->System Values->System Control node. Click on the System tab of the System Control panel that appears, and you'll find the processor group and serial number listed on this screen.

Processor Group and Serial Number - Processor group is a mandatory item for software vendors who want to charge you more money when you're running their software on a more powerful iSeries machine. While you may not agree with this pricing scheme, sometimes you just can't get around it. As previously mentioned, the serial number shows up on the system configuration report, and it also shows up on the System Control panel of iSeries Operations Navigator. To display the processor group that a specific iSeries belongs to, enter the Work with Licensed Information (WRKLICINF) command, and you'll see it displayed at the top of the screen.

Amount of Working Memory - This one drives me crazy because I couldn't find anyplace in OS/400 where it's explicitly listed. So in a pinch, I pull up the Work with System Status (WRKSYSSTS) command, and add up the numbers listed under the Pool Size column for each storage pool. Generally, these numbers will add up to a multiple of 512. If anyone knows a better way to locate this number, let me know and I'll publish it in a future tip.

Amount of Free DASD (hard drive space) - This is another number that I can usually calculate from the WRKSYSSTS screen. To retrieve this number, write down the Total System ASP and % System ASP used numbers from WRKSYSSTS and plug them into the following formula:

Free DASD = Total System ASP * ((100 - % System ASP used) / 100)

And this should give you your total free DASD. Also note that -- because it depends on the Total System ASP used -- this technique will not work if you've divided your storage up in a system Auxiliary Storage Pool (ASP) and one or more user ASPs.

Software Options Installed - Many OS/400 licensed programs -- such as 5769SS1 or 5722SS1 -- have different product option numbers that are associated with different installed program features. 5769SS1 and 5722SS1 Option 18, for example, is 'OS/400 - Media and Storage Extensions' while Option 30 is 'OS/400 - QShell Interpreter'. And many other OS/400 programs, including the AS/400 Toolbox for Java (5769JV1) or Lotus Domino for AS/400 (5769LNT), also contain several different product options that enable different features. To display the available product option numbers for a specific licensed program, type in the Display Software Resources (DSPSFWRSC) command. Alternatively, you can also go to the Work with Licensed Programs menu (GO LICPGM), enter option 10 (Display Installed Licensed Programs), and then press the F11 key twice to see all the product options that are installed for each licensed program.

Whether you're a consultant working with different iSeries and AS/400 machines at different locations or a system administrator working with multiple iSeries, in the same computer room, these tips can save you time and frustration in digging up system data. And -- while they may not be the efficient way to find this information -- they certainly get the job done.

About the author: Joe Hertvik is an IT professional and freelance writer who has been working with OS/400 since the days of the System/38 in the mid-1980s. Joe can be reached at


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