IBM Support

Data Transfer from an IBM System i System Walk-Through

Technote (troubleshooting)


This document describes how to do a simple data transfer from System i system to a PC.

Resolving the problem

Important Note: This document discusses Client Access for Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT, Client Access Express, IBM iSeries Access, and IBM System i Access products. These names essentially refer to the same product; however, the functionality and name changed over the last several releases. For the purposes of this document, the terms Client Access, Client Access Express, iSeries Access, and System i Access can be used interchangeably. Where a difference is important, the version of the product is used to identify the differences.

To access Data Transfer From iSeries Server, use one of the following methods:
1. Open the iSeries Access group of icons, and select the Data transfer from iSeries icon.
2. Using menus, go to Start, Programs, IBM iSeries Access for Windows, and Data transfer from iSeries.
3. Right-click on the Desktop, select New, and select Data transfer from iSeries (this option will initiate a wizard where the desired entries can be entered).
4. From a PC5250 emulation screen, click on the Recv button (or use the menu options under Transfer).
The initial screen looks similar to the following:

This picture shows the initial data transfer screen.

First, check the IBM System i system name, and ensure it is the system you want to transfer data from. We will be transferring a file from an System i system called RCHASSQ2.

For this example, we used a table from the QIWS library called QCUSTCDT. IBM includes this file with Option 12 (Host Servers) of the IBM i operating system. It is a simple file containing 12 records. The records contain character and numeric data.

The options available for the File name are to type in the library/filename, Browse for the library/filename, or Browse after entering the desired library so that the desired library is added to the list (used if you know the library name and the library is not in the initial library list associated with the job description on the user profile making the connection. For example, the library is not in the list when clicking on Browse without typing anything in the box).

The next option, PC Output Device, can be set to transfer the file to the Display, File (most commonly used), HTML, or Printer.

The last option on this screen is to type the PC File name (if you select the File option previously mentioned). The PC file name should include the path and can be a new file name you want to create, a file name you want to overwrite, or a file name you want to append to.

Once all of the parameters are selected, the window looks similar to the following:

This picture shows the data transfer screen with the parameter filled in.

You will notice that we typed in the full path for the file we want to use on the PC and gave it a .TXT extension. If we were going to transfer the file as an Excel file, we would have typed in C:\QCUSTCDT.XLS. It is a good idea to add a file extension; however, is not necessary in all cases.

Check the transfer details by clicking on the Details button. A screen similar to the following is shown:

This picture shows the options available when clicking on the Details button.

The top frame contains information about the file that is to be created. The top option (Overwrite existing File) indicates whether to overwrite the file on the PC, if it already exists. In our case, data transfer will look for C:\QCUSTCDT.TXT and, if it is found, the file will be overwritten. The next parameter is File Type. The default is ASCII text, which in our case is fine. Different file types can be specified using the pulldown list.

The lower frame is where you will specify if you will be saving information about the file. The File Description File (FDF) is an ASCII text file that contains information such as field names, the type of file, and file format options. This option should be selected if you plan to send the file back to the System i database.

Following is an FDF from QIWS/QCUSTCDT when using the default ASCII File format and the optional Standard format:

This picture show the data stored in the standard format FDF file.

The PCFDF indicates that this is a PC File Description File. PCFT 1 indicates that this is an ASCII text file layout. PCFO defines File Options (time-format, date-format, and so on). Each of the PCFL lines indicate a field description. The field name is listed in addition to the data format type (1 = ASCII Text, 2 = Numeric) and the length of the field (along with the specified decimal places on Numeric fields).

Following is an FDF from QIWS/QCUSTCDT when using the default setting of Enhanced for the File format:

The picture shows the data stored in the enhanced format FDF file.

The Enhanced FDF support was a functional enhancement added in the V5R3 iSeries Access client. Older versions of data transfer programs cannot use the enhanced FDF files and fail with a CWBTF0028 error if one is referenced in a transfer request.

It is not necessary to save an FDF unless you need to transfer the file back to the System i system.

Once all of the desired information is specified, click OK to return to the main transfer screen. Then, click the Transfer data from iSeries button. The following screen is shown if the file is large enough:

This picture shows the file download count.

The record count will increment as records are brought down from the operating system. Note that the record count above is large. Data transfer was too fast to capture this screen on a 13-record file. After the transfer completes, a screen similar to the following is shown:

This picture shows the file download statistics.

In our scenario, we now have two new files on the PC. Both are in the root directory. One is called C:\QCUSTCDT.TXT and contains the data we downloaded. The other file is called C:\QCUSTCDT.FDF and contains the File Description File information.

When you close the data transfer session, you are given the option to save the data transfer request. If you select Yes, you will be presented with a window where you enter a File name for the .dtf file that will be created when you complete the save. You can specify the path where you would like to save the transfer request. Once the transfer request is saved, you can run the transfer by clicking on the saved transfer request. You can also either put the saved transfer request on your desktop, or you can create a shortcut to the transfer request.
Note: Data Transfer will allow you to save the request in a format compatible with earlier versions before Client Access Express V5R3. If this behavior is required, select 'Save As...' from the Data Transfer To iSeries or Data Transfer From iSeries 'File' menu and change the 'Save as type' to a Version 1.0 (.DTT) or Version 1.2 (.DTF) format and save the request. In addition, transfer requests in Version 1.x formats will continued to be saved in that format unless the new format is specified.

Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Operating System IBM i 6.1
Operating System IBM i 7.1

Historical Number


Document information

More support for: IBM i
Data Access

Software version: 5.3.0, 5.4.0, 6.1.0, 7.1.0

Operating system(s): IBM i

Reference #: N1018296

Modified date: 09 April 2013

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