ArcGIS Desktop defaults the Home folder to something like
C:\Users\<username>\Documents\ArcGIS - creating a folder in the
My Documents or
Documents folder depending on the version of Windows.
Personally I try to keep my GIS work out of the Documents folder, and usually store all my files in a folder called
D:\GIS. Primary reason for this was because my work had network stored Documents folders which had a quota of 5mb, which was much much much too small for storing any kind of GIS data. This is made worse by the fact that Esri Add-ins default to installing into this folder also.
I've been trying to find a way to make ArcGIS default to my
D:\GIS folder as the Home location without first saving an MXD. I know that I can save an MXD into that folder and it will then become the Home folder for that MXD. I'd like to be able to open ArcMap and have my files/folders already accessable from that Home folder
D:\GIS without having to go find it, or even having it as a Folder Connection.
The Home folder is used by default in ArcMap to save results, store new datasets, and access file-based information. It is the location that is initially used to add new layers to ArcMap and to store new datasets that are created during editing and geoprocessing.
The same is true for nonspatial data. When you export a page layout as PDF, the default location will be the map's home location (the map document's workspace folder).
I have found several posts (mostly on Esri's Geonet) asking how to do this, but none of these posts have a solution other than the two options I mentioned above (which aren't really a default).
How can I force ArcGIS to use my own folder location as the default Home folder without having to save an MXD first?