1. This is very helpful, particularly for those who need access to a CICS region.
    Thank you!

  2. Nice blog. I was wondering if HercPRT works under TK4 coz I would like to see a printed output of my COBOL programs if ever. TIA.

  3. I also have the DUZA mainframe system which is similar to Fan De Zhi but based on z/OS 1.10 instead of 1.6. It’s a customized vesion of 1.10 with System Automation capabilities, NetView etc. Problem is I’ve only been able to access TSO/ISPF and NetView.For some reason it gives an error message when I try enter CICS, IMS and TWS on the panel. I suspect these three components have to be manually started first

    1. DUZA is a pirated copy of ADCD files from IBM. It has CICS. For logging in to CICS you have to make changes to a file called “hercules.cnf”. There you have to give LOADPARM for starting DB2 and CICS. Only then you will be able to login to CICS. LOADPARM of 0A95DB should work.

      1. 0A95DB didn’t work. Found the build structure for z/os 1.10 ADCD Winter and tried 0A82 and added the AC suffix tag from the pre-configured LOADPARM options.

        Table Listing of available pre-configured distributed LOADPARMS.

        LOADPARM Description
        CS (default) CLPA and cold start of JES2. Base z/OS system functions i.e. no
        CICS, DB2, IMS, WAS, etc.
        AC CLPA and cold start of JES2 load IMS and CICS libraries, start
        IMS, DB/2 v8, and CICS.

        I’m pretty sure other options would’ve worked as well but upon logging into CICS I got stuck coz of the error message asking for a transaction name which I didn’t have. I suspect you need to create a COBOL + DB2 program first with a defined transaction name in the program then submit it using JCL or maybe load the program using CEMT before a transaction name becomes available prior to login.
        Didn’t know how to exit the CICS panel coz it didn’t even have a prompt and F3 doesn’t work either so I just shut it down using CEMT.

        Brings back memories when my system operator buddies and I used to throw tapes in the air across the mainframe room whenever the tape drives ask for an SMF backup and taking turns napping behind line printers when the supervisor was on his lunch break. This was about the time they were fixing and preparing for the “end of the world” Y2K bugs. Roger Bowler should have a Nobel Prize for his efforts. : )

        But thanks for the help just the same.

  4. Having been an administrator on the FanDeZhi system for the best part of ten years, I’d suggest that you completely remove it from your page(s) as it was permanently taken off-line more than a year ago due to the fact that the underlying hardware had reached the end of its useful life.

    Right now the escaped-into-the-wild z/OS 1.10 ADCD is still around (16Gb download) and that’s the one I myself have been using since 2009, initially on a 2Gb/1.5GHz rescued from the dump, nowadays on a 2.5GHz i7 something notebook with 24Gb (of which I give 12Gb to z/OS) Never IPL’ed with more than the basic software stack, but added a dozen or so 3390(-9) volumes, three of them for the SPOOL and uploaded a lot of no longer available Bookmaster manuals.

    Also created a new userid, and disabled all the IBM supplied ones, with the exception of ADCDMST, which I occasionally use to clear the jobs from the spool that my own userid isn’t allowed to.

    Use it to work with PL/I (and REXX) keeping my skills reasonably up-to-date, as can be seen by logging in to IBMs Developerworks site and looking for the various accepted RFEs that I filed (and a similar number that were rejected, can’t win them all). The last three I filed were all accepted:


    Finally, there is a (slightly) newer (z/OS 1.11) ADCD available on archive org, with the z/PDT software, but the latter requires Linux and a hardware token to run, whereas the z/OS system itself still runs on Hercules without any problems.

  5. Hi Abhishek,

    Thank you so much for this webpage that I’ve accidently stumbled upon in my search to get a free IBM mainframe account! I can’t thank you enough! I’ve been a student of yours with the Udemy – “The complete job control language (JCL) course” (60% done). But your information for this VS Code and my new mainframe account with VS Code has been invaluable to me after my ‘Master the Mainframe’ account expired. I found Z Xplore error prone with even resetting a password and getting “invalid credentials” that I never could figure out the problem occurring and getting past it. You have solved this major problem for me, since now I have a Z/OS mainframe account, thanks to you, that I can now hone my IBM COBOL/JCL/CICS/DB2/IMS mainframe skills to seek a new job on the mainframe as I had before with the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Company. Thank you again, Abhishek.
    – Michael Workman

  6. Hi,
    I’m so happy and thanks a lot for the valuable information. Because of you, I got my mainframe id, IP, and port. But the main thing is that now I’m unable to get my password. The slack thing I’m unable to access the. And in Coursera, I’m also unable to find the slack channel.
    I’ll be grateful, please help me out regarding this, It’ll help me a lot with my studies.
    My humble request.

  7. Do you (or anyone else reading) have a specific “mainframe for rent” option that you recommend. You say “just google it and you’ll find many options”. I’m not finding that to be as easy as you say. I contact one called maintec.com, twice, with no response yet. Many of the sites that I go to are for hosting apps for businesses, but don’t offer individual accounts. I don’t mind paying a monthy fee, I just want reliable access with CICS, DB2, COBOL, TSO/ISPF. Thanks.

    1. the maintec mainframe is extremely costly at 100$ per month. You can try searching on LinkedIn groups for mainframe access. I do not recommend because i have no ties with any of these and i do not want to endorse anyone at all.

      1. Mathru is $50 USD a monthly and their service is first rate. I rented an ID and I am now using it for my COBOL class. If this is too expensive go to Coursera and sign up for one of the IBM courses (audit them for free) they all provide mainframe access. They make you sign up for their slack group when you register to get your id but well worth it. Avoid the COBOL.

  8. Nice work from your side. I usually never sign up just for posting comments but this blog made me feel like your are really really great and have come up with such a wonderful structured approach to getting mainframe access.

    I have one doubt. Will I be able to practice COBOL, JCL , VSAM , DB2 & CICS at a stretch if I sign up for that coursera course which you have mentioned right there ?

    1. Maybe there is access for all those resources. I am not sure. Plus it is not intended to practice our own content there. We will have to practice on the content that is given on their course. So, it is not a moral thing to do.

  9. Thank you for this blog. When I enter my credentials from the IBM contest in the Vista emulator, only the last access line appears, not the one that says “login in progress”, and when I press enter I get the following error:


    And I tried to enter the procedure you have on your video tutorial but lt didn’t work. I also tried with another userId but lt’s always appearing the same error

    I’d be very grateful If you can help me 🙂

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