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 idea.properties 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\idea.properties file to change the defaults, make sure to uncomment the lines defining these properties:
Changing the location of idea.properties file
If needed, you can also override the location of idea.properties file using IDE specific environment variable:
- IDEA_PROPERTIES — IntelliJ IDEA
- CLION_PROPERTIES — CLion
- APPCODE_PROPERTIES — AppCode
- PYCHARM_PROPERTIES — PyCharm
- DATAGRIP_PROPERTIES — DataGrip
- STUDIO_PROPERTIES — Android Studio
- WEBIDE_PROPERTIES — WebStorm
- PHPSTORM_PROPERTIES — PhpStorm
- GOLAND_PROPERTIES — GoLand
- RIDER_PROPERTIES — Rider
For example: IDEA_PROPERTIES=C:\Users\USER\idea.properties
The order in which IDE will read idea.properties files is as follows:
- Environment variable (%IDE%_PROPERTIES)
- Default IDE configuration directory
- HOME\idea.properties (where HOME is the user's home directory on the system)
Unlike .vmoptions file handling, idea.properties 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\idea.properties 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.