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I thought the issue was only in ARCGIS but it seems that ERDAS does the same thing. I have my C with 1.7TB and my D with 10TB and my scratch set to d:\scratch but still ERDAS (and ESRI) fills my profile with it's temp data...why? see the image below (in this example I have tried to set the temp space to c:\scratch)

In ARCGIS I have tried C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities\AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe--> run as admin-->System Paths-->last option "Output Temp file path" and set to D:\scratch.

I have tried "solutions" from http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/3300-ArcGIS-10-Default-Geodatabase

How can we resolve this?enter image description here

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It worked for me by just editing the scratch workspace under geoprocessing in arcmap. Once I did this, and pointed it to a live gdb for my scratch, it worked – Hairy Sep 22 '11 at 7:14
    
Great. Have you tried to process a file that has an uncompressed size larger than your c: drive? to check monitor your c:\users\...\AppData\Local\Temp directory while running a process. If this grows then the issue persists... – GeorgeC Sep 22 '11 at 11:42
    
I don't get this issue George. At my clients, the C: drive is heavily tied down, and so I access all of my data from the D: drive, where my scratch area is set up. However, I do clear down my 'in_memory' area after every loop, I also compact the gdb. One thing that does happen to the scratch db, is that it continues to grow, even if you remove in_memory data, so it's possibly this causing your issues. – Hairy Sep 22 '11 at 11:51
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I set the Windows %TEMP% variable to a different drive so all temp not just ESRI stuff is redirected.

winkey+pause >> Advanced >> Environment Variables.

From there slap [New] to override the user profile temp or [Edit] to change the system wide temp.

windows dialog for setting environment variables

I don't know if this is still true, but I've encountered some geoprocessing tools which would write to the ESRI installation directory(!) in some circumstances (c:\program files\arcgis\bin). Just something to keep an eye on.

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Thanks. Trying this as well. Will test with a large process and see. – GeorgeC Sep 27 '11 at 2:26
    
Thanks Matt. This works so far. – GeorgeC Oct 1 '11 at 9:58
    
Note that this global change will affect all applications that use this standard location. – jpmc26 Jan 14 at 21:56
    
@jpmc26, yes. that's noted in first sentence (but perhaps not clear enough? I'll adjust) – matt wilkie Jan 14 at 22:45
    
Apologies. I must have missed it. Maybe just make it more prominent for people who aren't paying as much attention like me? – jpmc26 Jan 14 at 23:22

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