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Purpose:  Consider using the FORCE command as a last resort when the CANCEL command still fails to perform its function after you have issued it several times. 

Task - Immediately Terminate: Syntax:

A job in execution

A started task

FORCE jobname

A time-sharing user (U=userid) FORCE U=userid

A started task

A MOUNT command

An external writer allocation

The output processing for a job


FORCE is not a substitute for CANCEL. Unless you issue CANCEL first for a cancellable job, the system issues error message IEE838I. The steps to use in the process are:

  1. Issue the CANCEL nnn command, making several attempts if necessary.

  2. Use the DUMP command — if you want a dump produced.  Respond to the prompt for parameters with the jobname of the ″stuck″ job.

  3. Issue the FORCE nnn command only when the previous steps fail.

WARNING: Never use the FORCE command without understanding that:

After issuing FORCE, you might have to re-IPL.

 If you issue FORCE for a job in execution or for a time-sharing user, the system deletes the affected address space and severely limits recovery.

If you need a dump, you must issue a DUMP command before you issue

FORCE. Once you’ve issued a FORCE command it is usually NOT POSSIBLE to get a dump of the failing address space.

FORCE {jobname             }
      {U=userid            }



The name of the batch job, started task.

The name of a started task is based on whether the JOBNAME= keyword was specified on the START command.

If JOBNAME= was specified, jobname is the name assigned to the started task.

If JOBNAME= was not specified and the source JCL for the started task is

A job, the system will use the job name from the JCL JOB statement.

A procedure, the system will use the member name as the job name.


  1. When you use the FORCE command to end a job in execution, you also terminate the address space for the job and any other tasks executing in that address space.  If you use FORCE for a job running under an initiator, you terminate the initiator along with the job. With JES2 on your system, you must issue another START command to recover use of such an initiator. 

  2. Entering FORCE for an external writer while the system is allocating the writer to a job terminates both the device allocation and the writer itself.  Entering FORCE for an external writer while the writer is processing output for a job terminates both the output processing and the writer itself.


The user ID of the time-sharing user to terminate.



The identifier for the unit of work to terminate, optionally preceded by the job

name. You can use the following types of identifiers:

The identifier that was specified on the START command.

[/]devnum, the device number specified when the START or MOUNT command was entered. The device number is 3 or 4 hexadecimal digits, optionally preceded by a slash (/). You can precede the device number with a slash to prevent ambiguity between the device number and a device type or identifier.

devicetype, the type of device specified when the START or MOUNT command was issued.

If no identifier was specified on the START command, the system assigns temporary identifier "STARTING" to the unit of work, until the system can assign an identifier according to the following order of precedence:

  1. If an identifier was not specified on the START command, the identifier is the device type (for example, 3410) or device number (for example, X‘0000’) specified on the START or MOUNT command.

  2. If an identifier, a device type, or a device number was not specified on the START or MOUNT command, the identifier is the device type specified on an IEFRDER DD statement (invoking a cataloged procedure) in the JCL.

  3. If none of the above was specified, the identifier defaults to the job name. Specifying both the job name and the entire identifier causes the command to take effect if one and only one work unit with that combination of job name and identifier is running.

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Last updated: October 04, 2001.