Irix 6.5 on an Indy / missing all the icons after install


New member
Nov 25, 2021
Hello everyone,

I posted on the Facebook group but I discover after that this forum is a better place

When I was a teen I never used a SGI but I was aware of those machines that were the state of the art

I bought 3 weeks ago an Indy R4000 with Irix 6.2 installed for my collection of vintage computers
Then after (of course) reading more stuff about SGI and Indy, I discovered that the best CPU was the R5000
So I found another one with a R5000 but without a Hard drive

I bought a SCSI hardrive + SCSI Toshiba CD ROM

I was curious how difficult or not to install an OS compared to my Amiga 4000 for e.g

I burn the Irix 6.5 CD on my Windows and tried multiple time to install Irix 6.5

It was not easy but I finally was able to do it (I have 0 background in Unix)

The only thing that is weird is that after I enter root/no password, the only graphic element I'm seeing on the screen is the "console" icon
There is nothing else on the screen

I can launch SWMGR from the console and it's working (very neat program by the way) but I don't know what I'm missing to see all the icons of Irix?

I will appreciate any help


PS: the only error message I can see is:
IRIS's internet address is the default.
Using standalone network mode"

PS2: I have a 8 bits graphic cards and of course I want a 24 bits now :)



Active member
Jan 13, 2020
Seattle, WA
What size was the drive and what inst commands did you use? This normally happens when you say:

keep *
install minimal <<<-------You NEED a 2GB+ drive for "install standard", if you used minimum it's for =<1.5GB, so it will fit. Missing software, really.
install prereqs

Install standard should have given you the toolchest and get a BARE background and terminal with MINIMAL install setting.

Also install does not reformat the drive between installs (you just end up merging all the diffs into a huge mess). So also make sure you've cleared the drive (via any means) so you're doing a REAL clean install...install doesn't clean old irix installs (even failed ones...causes issues).


Jul 22, 2020
It's a Unix machine, more complex to install than AmigaOS installation. Fortunately for you IRIX was the most friendly and easy UNIX system you can install but never too easy as AmigaOS install.

Your Indy can load IRIX 6.5 but this not means that install lastest Irix in a computer from 1993 have a good performance. I recommend Irix 5.3 or Irix 6.2, both need less resources and less disk space than Irix 6.5. Full install of Irix 6.5 need 5 or 6 CD to install , Irix 5.3 need only 1 CD and Irix 6.2 need 2 CD.

Use CDROM is the easy way to install if you have IRIX cd versions for your computer. Most of us use Dina, Bootenizer or other network install solutions, most SGI computers not comes with CDROM.

As weblacky says you not have desktop because you only install the core IRIX with terminal options.

You need find a step by step guide to install irix. Here a small guide to install.

When you start from CD install tools, you go to mini root for install options. When you are in the main menu of install tools you can type "admin mkfs" to delete your harddrive contents and init install form scratch.
With Irix 5.3 you can make a full install only with 1 CD, with Irix 6.2 you need load content distribution of CD1 and make "go" to install, after install CD1 don't exit and go again to load distribution from CD2 and make "go" to install again, when finish type "quit" and your IRIS is ready.
With Irix 6.5 you can open all distribution CD in one step from install tools menu in the first option and when you load all CDs you can make "go" to init install and IRIX ask to you to change CD when need load content form other CD.
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