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Using InterSystems IRIS on Windows

Managing an InterSystems IRIS® data platform instance on the Microsoft Windows platform is straightforward. You can perform most tasks using the Management Portal and the InterSystems IRIS launcher. You can also control an InterSystems IRIS instance from a command prompt.

This topic refers to the InterSystems IRIS installation directory as install-dir — you can find the current default directory in the Default Installation Directory section of the Installation Guide.


Do not use Windows file compression on InterSystems IRIS IRIS.DAT database files. (Files are compressed by right-clicking a file or folder in Windows Explorer and selecting Properties, then Advanced, then Compress contents to save disk space; once compressed a folder name or filename is rendered in blue in WIndows Explorer.) If you compress a IRIS.DAT file, the instance to which it belongs will fail to start, with misleading errors.

InterSystems IRIS launcher

The primary InterSystems IRIS interface on Microsoft Windows platforms is the InterSystems IRIS launcher. From the InterSystems IRIS launcher, you can start all of the InterSystems IRIS configuration and management tools. You can also invoke each Launcher command from a shortcut or command line.

Correspondingly, you can initiate many of the InterSystems IRIS tools from the Windows program menu by pointing to IRIS folder and then to the Start InterSystems IRIS for the appropriate InterSystems IRIS instance name.

When you start InterSystems IRIS on a Windows-based system, the InterSystems IRIS launcher images/gsa_irgreen.png appears in the system tray of the taskbar.

When you click the InterSystems IRIS launcher, a menu appears with commands to use the ObjectScript utilities and programming environments.

The following table describes the commands available from the InterSystems IRIS launcher menu.

InterSystems IRIS launcher Command Description
Getting Started Displays links to tutorials, release notes, documentation, and other related information.
Start InterSystems IRIS
Starts the default instance specified in the square brackets after the menu item, for example [ii2081]. If the InterSystems IRIS server is already started, this option appears dimmed—it is unavailable.
For information about how to prevent an instance from starting automatically, see the Memory and Startup Settings section of the “Configuring InterSystems IRIS” chapter of this guide.
Stop InterSystems Shuts down or restarts the local InterSystems IRIS instance. If the InterSystems IRIS server is stopped, this option appears dimmed—it is unavailable.
Studio Creates, edits, deletes, and compiles InterSystems IRIS class definitions and routines. See Using Studio for more information.
Terminal Invokes the command line interpreter for InterSystems IRIS. See the Using the Terminal guide for more information.
Management Portal Performs common system management tasks. Creates databases and namespaces, and adjusts all InterSystems IRIS configuration settings. Displays classes, globals, and routines, and functions for managing each. Displays tables and views, perform queries and SQL management functions. See the “Using the Management Portal” chapter for more information.
Documentation Displays InterSystems IRIS online documentation.
Preferred Server [server name] Shows a list of remote servers and maintains server connections by using the Add/Edit command on the submenu. The preferred server appears in brackets and has a check mark next to it in the server list. See the Define a Remote Server Connection section of the “Connecting to Remote Servers” chapter for more information.
About Displays InterSystems IRIS version and build information.
Exit Removes the InterSystems IRIS launcher icon from the system tray; this does not stop InterSystems IRIS.

Starting InterSystems IRIS

To start InterSystems IRIS, run the startup procedure at the system level. This procedure runs using either the default configuration file or a configuration file you specify.


If you have any trouble starting InterSystems IRIS, view the messages.log file as described in the Monitoring Log Files section of the Monitoring Guide.

To start InterSystems IRIS on the Windows platform, select Start InterSystems IRIS from the InterSystems IRIS launcher. This starts the InterSystems IRIS instance using the specified configuration file. When InterSystems IRIS is not running, the InterSystems IRIS launcher icon appears dimmed.

If the InterSystems IRIS launcher is not in the system tray, from the Windows program menu select the IRIS folder and Start InterSystems IRIS for that instance. To return the Launcher to the system tray, go to the install-dir/bin directory and double-click the iristray.exe file.

Alternatively, you can enter these commands from the install-dir/bin directory in the Open box of the Run command on the Start menu. For example, to start the instance named ii2018 from the MyIris/bin directory, enter the following command and click OK.

c:\myiinstall\bin\iris start iris

These methods of starting InterSystems IRIS call the iris start command. See Controlling InterSystems IRIS from the Command Prompt for more options and information on the iris command.

Stopping InterSystems IRIS

Normally you leave your InterSystems IRIS system running. However, if your operating system requires a restart, stop InterSystems IRIS before you shut down your system. The maintenance tasks, such as backups and database repair utilities, do not require you to stop InterSystems IRIS.

From the InterSystems IRIS launcher menu click Stop InterSystems to shut down or restart the local InterSystems IRIS instance. By default, this option shuts down (or restarts) InterSystems IRIS immediately, using the default shutdown routine. However, it also provides options for setting a timer for a delayed shutdown, for running a user-defined shutdown routine, for broadcasting a warning message to users on the server, and for shutting down without failing over. You can run this same process from the Windows progam menu. Select the IRIS folder and Stop InterSystems IRIS for that instance name. You cannot cancel a shutdown once the countdown reaches 0 and the shutdown procedures have started.


InterSystems recommends that you run Stop InterSystems IRIS to shut down InterSystems IRIS to ensure that it closes properly.

These methods of stopping InterSystems IRIS call the iris stop command. See Controlling InterSystems IRIS Instances for more options and information on the iris command.

Remove Stop InterSystems Command

To prevent unintentional execution of the Stop InterSystems command, you can remove the command from the InterSystems IRIS launcher by deleting the irisstop.exe file from the install-dir/bin directory of the corresponding InterSystems IRIS instance. You can also remove the Stop InterSystems shortcut from the appropriate InterSystems IRIS instance from the Start menu. Point to Programs and the InterSystems IRIS instance name, then right-click Stop InterSystems and click Delete.

Removing the Launcher from the System Tray

You can temporarily remove the Launcher from the system tray; this only affects the Launcher and not InterSystems IRIS as a whole.

If you click on the Launcher in the system try and choose Exit, the Launcher stops and its icon no longer appear in the system tray. The Launcher reappears when the system is rebooted or you start InterSystems IRIS from the Start menu (see Starting InterSystems IRIS in this chapter).

Controlling InterSystems IRIS from the Command Prompt

You can control an InterSystems IRIS instance from the Windows command prompt by running the iris.exe program in the install-dir\bin directory. For information about the iris command, see Controlling InterSystems IRIS Instances in the “Using Multiple Instances of InterSystems IRIS” chapter of this guide.

To display the most current help information for this command, invoke iris help from the InterSystems IRIS install-dir\bin directory. For example:

C:\MyIris\bin>iris help
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The iris help command will display the most current help information in the terminal. You can also save help information to a file in the intsall-dir\bin directory by adding >outputfilename to the iris help command. For example:

C:\MyIris\bin>iris help>helpinformation
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Connecting to InterSystems IRIS on the Command Line

You can log into an InterSystems IRIS instance on the command line using the iris terminal command. See Connecting to an InterSystems IRIS Instance in the “Using Multiple Instances of InterSystems IRIS” chapter of this guide for more information on iris terminal.