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Changing IDE default directories used for config, plugins, and caches storage

Common cases when you may need to change the default locations of the IDE files:

  • user profile drive runs out of space
  • disk is slow and you want to use faster HDD or SSD for caches
  • default user profile points to the UNC path unsupported by the IDE
  • home directory is on a network drive
  • user profile directory is not detected correctly (Java bug 4787931)
  • you want to create a portable installation on a USB stick
  • home directory is encrypted and slows down the IDE or causes caches corruption
  • caches should be excluded from the home directory backup
  • antivirus or search indexer is scanning the home directory affecting IDE performance

Locations can be changed by editing the following file:
IDE_HOME\bin\idea.properties

Follow the comments in
idea.properties file to change the defaults, make sure to un-comment the lines defining these properties:
  • idea.config.path
  • idea.system.path
  • idea.plugins.path
  • idea.log.path

Comments

  • Avatar
    Jeff

    This is useful information.  It would be nice if there was a comment here on what should/should not  be copied during this process.

  • Avatar
    Serge Baranov

    Jeff, It's assuming that you move the contents of these folders to the new corresponding locations.

  • Avatar
    Jeff

    I am glad you said that.  I was just about to  not do so...  I found "config" and "system" in the directory and the other two seem to be subdirectories of "system"...  I copied these to my SDD drive and restarted Idea.  It took a minute for IDEA to figure out what was going on and then worked fine on my grails project.  After this I saw at least some of the disk activity on the SDD. 

  • Avatar
    Sumoky

    I tried to change the values but it didnt worked. There will be created a new folder in my profile. I use IntelliJ IDEA 13.0.1.

  • Avatar
    Jem

    I changed the values *and* copied the idea.properties from $IDE_HOME/bin to $HOME. Neither seems to have had an effect. v13.0.2-IC

  • Avatar
    Serge Baranov

    Jem Mawson, make sure to uncomment the lines in the file. Copying is not needed unless you are on Mac.

  • Avatar
    Jem

    Yes, uncommented those lines & they didn't take effect. Strange corporate policy stuff is afoot I think.

  • Avatar
    Zsmith4

    This issue is extremely frustrating for Windows users (and it shows a bias towards Mac/Java).  By default, Windows 8 does not allow users to modify files in the Program Files directory (for valid security reasons).  In addition, when you open the config file using notepad, it's munged together with no line breaks.  So you spend 10 minutes hitting a line return in front of every '#' in order to read it, but can't save it once you modify it.  No amount of manipulating in the UI allows you to change the default home directory and it always leads to a build error.  JetBrains needs a more elegant solution to this that is not focused around working on a Mac.

  • Avatar
    Zsmith4

    And changing the path didn't work anyway.  It still looks to the network location during a build

  • Avatar
    Gerd Aschemann

    I am very new to Idea, but isn't it much easier for Windows Users to set user.home as a System property in idea{,64}.exe.vmoptions, e.g., to -Duser.home=C:\Users\xxx? For some strange reason Windows/Java uses %HOMESHARE% instead of %USERPROFILE% as User Home (and %HOMESHARE% here points to a very slow network drive ...

  • Avatar
    B3162696

    @Zsmith4 Why in the world would you ever install any IDE or program that you want to be able to edit in C:\Program Files. As for "valid security reasons", any program you install can just grab admin rights and do whatever, there's no point to the security since it only bothers the user. You should also be using something like Notepad++ to edit these kinds of files to avoid them becoming a jumbled mess.

     

    Any half-baked programmer knows how to circumvent these things. This is purely a "you" and windows issue.

  • Avatar
    Gerd Aschemann

    @B3162696: Can you imagine there are organizations on this planet (banks, military, ...) which do not allow the average user to install software like IDEs on their own or in self defined places apart from c:\Program Files. Therefore it is always convenient if the configuration of the tools can be outsourced to user space ...

  • Avatar
    Konstantin Milyutin

    I find it easier to move configuration folder to another location (SSD or another drive) and just create a soft link pointing to it. This way it's transparent to Intellij and there is no need to change the configs.

  • Avatar
    Victorbisaev

    It works.

    But there should be more convenient way to fix "idea.system.path" as its default value was prevented CMake from correct work. In my case, cyrillic characters were presented in my <user name> so CMake failed.

  • Avatar
    Constantin Kraft

    Where exactly do you fnd & change the value?

  • Avatar
    Rob Deker

     I have a similar (bus slightly different) scenario. I need to have the project build directories for different projects stored in project-specific locations because of compartmentalization needs. Each project has a separate truecrypt volume with its data and so I need the source code to not "wander" when I build. Isn't there any way other than setting the entire system directory to re-point the build path? I suppose I could keep a separate idea.properties for each project's work and move them around as I start/close CLion to work on each project, but this seems hackish at best. I guess I could also just have a completely separate CLion install per project inside the truecrypt container with the idea./properties customized, but that seems kind of silly and wasteful (and a real pain since I'd have to re-do all of my settings/plugins/etc. for every project). 

    I'm still evaluating CLion and i *REALLY* like it so far. It's a shame that something as simple as a project specific build space setting will likely be a deal breaker on being able to use it.

    I'm open to any suggestions.

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