McIDAS User's Guide
Version 2012.2

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Installing McIDAS-X on Windows XP Workstations

If you are installing McIDAS-X on a workstation running the Windows 7 operating system, go to Installing McIDAS-X on Windows 7 Workstations. If you're installing McIDAS-X on a workstation running the HP-UX, Linux, Solaris or Mac OS X operating system, go to Installing McIDAS-X on Unix or Mac OS X Workstations.

This section contains background information about and the procedure for installing McIDAS-X on PC workstations running Microsoft Windows XP with Services for UNIX (SFU). Hereafter, the terms McIDAS-X for XP and McIDAS-X for XP 2012.2 refer specifically to this package. The McIDAS-X command suite, which is identical in all three packages (Unix, Windows 7 and Windows XP), is referred to as McIDAS-X or McIDAS-X 2012.2.

Because the XP package is distributed as both binary and source code, and the Unix package is distributed as source code only, which must be compiled (built) on-site, the installation files and procedures for these packages are different.

The table below lists the software versions compatible with McIDAS-X for XP 2012.2. McIDAS-X for XP 2012.2 was tested on these versions only. The McIDAS Users' Group is extremely limited in its ability to support sites running McIDAS-X for XP 2012.2 with other software versions.

Operating System Fortran compiler C compiler X server
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 3 and Services for UNIX 3.5 g77 : 3.3 gcc : 3.3 see below

System Configuration Notes:

  1. Because McIDAS-X for XP is distributed as a binary package, the Fortran and C compilers are needed only if you do local development on the workstation. The compilers are included in the Software Development Kit (SDK) available with Services for UNIX (SFU).

  2. We do not have a specific X server that we recommend for XP. We have tried many, but have encountered problems with all of them, especially when cutting and pasting. Some work better than others; many people at SSEC use Exceed 6.1.1 (an older version that's no longer available), X-Win32 or MI/X (available for $25 from

  3. McIDAS-X for XP will not run (it gives a mcimagem: ERROR fork()ing error at startup) if the Windows XP Physical Address Extension (PAE) is enabled. This problem may be encountered with Windows XP Service Pack 2 because SP2 uses the OptIn configuration by default. The OptIn configuration enables Data Execution Prevention (DEP), which implicitly enables PAE.

    You can check if PAE is enabled on your system with Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System to bring up the System Properties window. If PAE is enabled, the bottom of the Computer section of the General tab will include a line saying "Physical Address Extension".

    The procedure to disable PAE depends on your computer's configuration. To disable PAE on a computer that is running a PAE kernel, add the /NOPAE switch to the boot.ini file. To disable it on a computer that is running a PAE kernel with DEP, add the /NOPAE  /NOEXECUTE=alwaysoff switch to the boot.ini file.

    See the following websites for more information about PAE and DEP, including specifics about disabling PAE:

The following section, titled SFU Pathnames, contains background information required for installing McIDAS-X for XP.

SFU Pathnames

Unlike Unix, Windows XP does not have a single rooted file system. Rather than mounting a drive on any arbitrary mount point in a file system, the drive must be mounted on a drive letter (e.g., C: or D:). Because SFU uses the XP file system, the pathnames to files may look different than they do in Unix.

There are two types of pathnames on a XP system running SFU: Win32 and POSIX. The Win32 format (e.g., c:\SFU\usr\bin) is the standard format used in Windows and DOS environments. It is used in all XP Win32 applications. The POSIX format (e.g., /dev/fs/C/SFU/usr/bin) is the standard format used in Unix environments. It is used with SFU applications, including McIDAS-X for XP.

For more information regarding POSIX pathnames and SFU, consult the SFU online documentation.

The installation instructions appear below. The system administrator or person who installs McIDAS-X for XP will use these installation instructions, which consist of five tasks:

If you have questions about the installation, call the McIDAS Help Desk at (608) 262-2455, or send email to McIDAS User Services .

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