Previous: System Requirements Next: Data Formats and Sources Table of contents Images Frames Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer > Overview

1.2 Downloading and Running the IDV
Please be sure to read about System Requirements before trying to run IDV applications.

Unidata provides four ways to download and run the IDV reference application. If you have a reasonably fast Internet connection, any method should get the IDV running on your system in less than 15 minutes. Little or no setup or configuration is required. About 160 megabytes of disk space are needed for all the software.

If you have any trouble downloading and installing the IDV, first check the FAQ, then please report your problem as described in Support from Unidata.

The 4 ways to install the IDV on your machine are:

1.2.0  IDV Installers
Provides all the files (IDV, Java, 3D) you need and is recommended for most users.
1.2.1  Using Java Web Start
Can be used instead, but you have to first install the correct Java environment depending on your operating system.
1.2.2  Downloading files manually
Individual JAR (Java Archive) files can be downloaded and installed. This requires the most end-user effort to get the IDV running.
1.2.3  Downloading the IDV Source Code and Javadoc
For developers
1.2.4  Starting the IDV
Instructions for starting the IDV on various platforms.
1.2.0 IDV Installers
The IDV installers are self extracting programs which include the IDV reference application, the required Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and Java 3D. You do not need to have Java or Java3D installed previously on your system. Even if you already have some version of Java on your system, using the installer ensures that you use the IDV with a recent version of Java and Java 3D that works with the IDV.

First, download the single installer file for your operating system from:

Note: You will need to register on the Unidata website before you can access the IDV installers. Registration is necessary to assure your compliance with licensing and to quantify who is downloading our software. This information is for the use of Unidata only. It will not be shared without your consent.

Find the installer for your particular operating system and click on the link to save it to your system. If you are not prompted to download automatically, then use the right mouse button and choose the menu option to save the file to your system.

The installer sizes are about 70-80 megabytes. When expanded during installation, the total disk space needed is about 150 to 160 megabytes.

Once the file has been downloaded, run the installer:

Unattended installations

The installers can be run in a quiet, unattended mode which does not show the installation screens nor require input from the user. In this mode, the default settings are selected. The user can only override the installation directory in this mode. To run the installer in an unattended mode, pass the "-q" parameter to the installer. For example, to run the following:

sh -q
To run the Windows installer in quite mode and override the default installation directory, open a command window, change to the directory where you saved the installer and type:
idv_3_0_windows_installer -q -dir "c:\myidv"
1.2.1 Using Java Web Start
Java Web Start is an application-deployment technology from Sun Microsystems that downloads all necessary software for an application and then starts the application with a single click in your Web browser.

One advantage of Web Start is that it will install the program on the first download and will automatically check for updates and retrieve new versions on subsequent start-ups. New releases of the IDV are common, so this can save you the trouble of manually retrieving new versions.

Web Start has a disadvantage that you have to first install Web Start. Web Start is included in the latest (1.6+) releases of Java for Windows, OS-X, Linux and Solaris. Follow the instructions on the link above for your specific platform.

Unidata has a web page to help you download and start the IDV with Web Start:

For more control of programs run with Web Start, use the Web Start Application Manager. Go to:

You should see the IDV in the Application Manager's panel. Do this after you have installed Web Start and installed the IDV with Web Start.

For more about use of Web Start with the IDV see the IDV FAQ.

1.2.2 Downloading files manually
If your platform does not support Web Start or if you wish to run the IDV without Web Start and have more control over how and where the application is installed and starts, the following instructions will allow you to run it from a command line. You must have Java and Java 3D installed on your system already.

  1. Download the necessary Java Archive (JAR) files from

    Download IDV 6.2u2 JAR Files( from that page.

  2. Unzip the JARs into a directory on your disk.
  3. From that directory, run:

       java -Xmx512m -jar idv.jar

  4. From the command line, the IDV supports several options that allow you to override the default behavior (e.g. load in a particular data set or bundle at start-up). For a complete list of options, run:
       java -jar idv.jar -help

1.2.3 Downloading the IDV Source Code and Javadoc
The latest snapshot of the IDV source code and associated Javadoc files are also available at:

The files are:

For instructions on building the IDV from source, see the Building the IDV from Source document.
1.2.4 Starting the IDV
Now that you have downloaded and installed the IDV, you are ready to start the IDV.

The IDV will automatically start with a memory allocation tuned to your machine.

Macintosh OS X

The IDV now comes with an OS X application bundle. From where they installed the IDV, users can drag that application bundle icon IDV logo to the OS X dock, the desktop, etc.

Microsoft Windows

The installation process will have guided you to places where you installed an IDV shortcut. Also, you will have been prompted for the creation of a desktop icon. Please look for and use that IDV icon IDV logo to start the IDV.

Linux / Unix

On Linux or Unix environments, users start the IDV with the runIDV command from the installation directory.

Running the IDV
When you have successfully downloaded and started the IDV, a splash screen appears as the IDV starts up. This will disappear once the application is running:


Previous: System Requirements Next: Data Formats and Sources Table of contents Images Frames Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer > Overview