Shedding light on the "Top 5 obscure z/OS tools you're not using"

Wait, is that redundant? If it's obscure, that's why you're not using it, right? Anyway, allow me to make them a little less obscure.

There's been a lot of talk about IBM Ported Tools lately, and there's likely to be even more, so I started thinking about
z/OS tools and some of the obscure ones that I like the most. When I tried to format this info into a blog, of course I
decided on the 'Top n list' format, because I have a fondness for lists. Lists are extremely popular on blogs, but for me,
this is not an aberration, it's normality.
Now, you may argue that some of these are not obscure. And you can argue that in the comments below. But the great thing about a blog is that you get to say what you think! So here we go!

5) Parallel Sysplex Inject Error tool
A tool to inject errors into coupling facility structures to help in testing recovery from coupling facility problems.

//SYSPRINT DD SYSOUT=*                      

You can find it at:

4) DISP Command
I guess you could call this shareware, but the only place I could find it was on the IBMMain listserv. You add DISP in front of any command and it puts the output of the command in a dataset for you to peruse. Great for netstat and help commands, and any command with large output where you may want to scroll forward and backward.


Or Lionel Dyck's variation at
and yet another version at

3) Mark Zelden's IPLINFO Rexx
Displays IPL and other system information on your terminal. Some of the things displayed are the IPL address and volser, the IPL date and time, the IPL LOADPARM, IODF information, the master catalog name, etc etc. If nothing else, this over-3000 line exec is a great source for all kinds of rexx code examples and CVT locations, and it's very well documented.

2) Lookat
Lookat is free IBM Message lookup. It's nice that you can lookat several different z/os versions and z/vm too. You can use it on their site or download it and run it on your own. There's even a mobile version!

1) Vols

Vols is a TSO command to list free space on all or selected online dasd devices. Volume selection includes devicetype,
attribute, volume and ucb. Vols is part of CBTTAPE file 360, from State of Wisconsin. I use this command just about every day, and I'm not even a storage administrator. They use it many times a day and in several production batch jobs.

So what do you say? Do you use any of these regularly? Are there any that I missed?

Your link for today, is to LookAt on Twitter.

Till next time,

Mary Anne



1 Like

Thanks for the plug

March 5, 2013 10:52 AM by Mark Zelden

Thanks for the plug.  BTW,  TSOB/TSOE/TSOV in the EXECs/CLISTs section of my web site (or CBT file 434) do the same thing as DISP (browse/edit/view output).   - Mark

Thanks Mark

March 5, 2013 11:21 AM by Mary Anne Matyaz

Yours looks a bit...cleaner. :)


March 5, 2013 11:47 AM by Mark Zelden


March 5, 2013 12:42 PM by Mark Zelden

My last comment seems to be in the bit bucket, but what I wrote was that the problem with these OUTTRAP samples is that they don't work with TPUT. 

Top z/OS tools

March 5, 2013 03:17 PM by Greg Shirey

The two free tools most often used at our shop are XMITIP from Lionel Dyck and BR from the late great Gilbert Saint-flour (File 183 on the CBT), which enables browsing of VSAM files in TSO.   

For a top 5, the other three, in no particular order, WHOSGOT, PDSRescue, and FIXPDS.

Good ones Greg!

March 5, 2013 06:47 PM by Mary Anne Matyaz


some tools that I use

March 7, 2013 09:20 AM by Meral Temel

MXI - very nice tool. I used it alot!. I use also, IPLINFO alot, and I had some inhouse written rexx for ds copy etc.  IBM tapetool for performance analiz of tape workload,VTS management- great free tool. I started using IBM flashda free program for smf42 statistics. Because it is free,it can be considered tool but I think it is not fair to call it tool,more like it is nice SW, zPCR. Hiperdispatch-LPAR-Design-Tool by IBM. I used to use lookat alot,but for 3-4 years, I prefer google much more as well as z/OS infocenters. I used to use WLMEXEC to display the IEAOPT options effective,but no need to use it now because these can be displayed by having that feature available in RMF monitor II - L option/4.option few years ago.


Great blog subject!

March 8, 2013 03:38 PM by Ray Mullins

Mark's IPLINFO and SHOWZOS (Roland Schiradin, et al.) are indispensable for the system tools developer.


March 12, 2013 01:24 PM by Skip Robinson

Mark's comment about OUTTRAP is worth a little expansion. A TSO command can write to the screen via PUTLINE or TPUT. Anyone who's ever written a command knows how much easier TPUT is to code. However, data written to the screen by TPUT is almost impossible to manipulate or manage. OTOH PUTLINE is a pain to code, but output can be managed via PROFILE command, trapped via OUTTRAP, or written to SYSOUT in a batch job.

Outtrap is not the problem

September 18, 2014 10:25 AM by Kenneth E Tomiak

As someone that started on an MVS system when ISPF was already the interface used by green screeners, any program still using TPUT is the root of the problem. They should be modernized to be PIPE friendly.

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