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 file. The easiest way is to use Help | Edit Custom Properties… menu action. It will create a copy of this file in the appropriate location so that the original file in the IDE bin subdirectory remains unmodified and doesn't cause conflicts during the patch updates.
Follow the comments in IDE_HOME\bin\ file to change the defaults, make sure to uncomment the lines defining these properties:
  • idea.config.path
  • idea.system.path
  • idea.plugins.path
  • idea.log.path


Changing the location of file
If needed, you can also override the location of file using IDE specific environment variable:
  • STUDIO_PROPERTIES — Android Studio

For example: IDEA_PROPERTIES=C:\Users\USER\


The order in which IDE will read files is as follows:

  1. Environment variable (%IDE%_PROPERTIES)
  2. HOME\ (where HOME is the user's home directory on the system)
  3. IDE_HOME\bin\
  4. Default IDE configuration directory

Unlike .vmoptions file handling, file with the higher priority doesn't undefine or discard variables already defined in the file location with lower priority. If there is the same variable defined in multiple properties files, the value of the variable from the higher priority file will be used, this way you can override the defaults already defined in IDE_HOME\bin\ in another file in the IDE default config directory or defined via the %IDE%_PROPERTIES environment variable.


Changing the default location of the IDE files using the Toolbox App

If you use the Toolbox App, note that the Toolbox App provides the possibility to set a custom location for each installed IDE in its own settings.

To change the default location of a particular tool, hover an IDE item in the Toolbox Tools tab, press a gear icon, click Settings | Configuration | System, plugins, config and logs directory.

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It's asinine that this cannot be changed inside the UI and I have to manually edit a config file!

Worse, the information here is out-of-date.

Edited by Jetbrains
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It can be changed via UI of the Toolbox application if you are using it to manage your IDE installation: .

For 2020.x versions the default folders were changed and this document will be updated soon to reflect it. Sorry for the delay.

Related tickets:

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When idea.plugins.path has been changed, there is an error with com.intellij.platform.images plugin:

Plugin 'com.intellij.platform.images' is compatible with IntelliJ IDEA only because it doesn't define any explicit module dependencies.

If /plugins directory and sub-dir /platform-images is created in root path with a copy of lib/platform-images.jar & resources_en.jar, the error disappears.

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Simple steps if you want to change your Jetbrains IDEA Default location from C drive to some other drive(I will take D drive).

1. If you are opening for first time, open IDE, and click on "Do not import settings" and continue.

2. A welcome to IDE(Webstorm, IntelliJ, etc...) will pop up which always opens if any project is not opened.

3. Click on bottom left "Options Menu"/Settings Icon and Select "Edit Custom Properties". A input box will pop up.

4. Enter these 4 lines:

idea.config.path=D:/Users/Your username/.webstorm/config
idea.system.path=D:/Users/Your username/.webstorm/system
idea.log.path=D:/Users/Your username/.webstorm/log
idea.plugins.path=D:/Users/Your username/.webstorm/plugins

Replace "your username" with your username.

5. Save and Close the windows. Reopen the app.

6. Tadaa. It has created the folder in your given directories. Go and check and have fun. Enjoy!!

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For anyone coming here looking for a way to start multiple instances of IDEA this way - on Windows you must execute idea.bat rather than idea64.exe for this to work. See IDEA-273669


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