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Problem: Certain geoprocessing tools will not execute or work unless the user is an administrator

Description

Geoprocessing tools that use the topology engine may not execute or work as expected unless the user is an administrator.

The following tools utilize the topology engine:
 

Buffer (Analysis)
Clip (Analysis)
Erase (Analysis)
Identity (Analysis)
Intersect (Analysis)
Symmetrical Difference (Analysis)
Union (Analysis)
Update (Analysis)
Split (Analysis)

Feature Class to Coverage (Conversion)

Dissolve (Data Management)
Feature to Line (Data Management)
Feature to Polygon (Data Management)
Integrate (Data Management)
Validate Topology (Data Management)

Cause

This issue is related to the topology engine and the geoprocessing tools that use it. The engine may create scratch files, xx files, which are located in one of these locations depending on the user's system variable settings and their access permissions:

  • If there is an environment variable called ARCTMPDIR pointing to a writable directory, the files will go there.
  • If there is no ARCTMPDIR variable or the path doesn't exist and the current user is an Administrator:
  • When tools are run from the dialog box, the scratch files will be written in the ArcGIS install location. For example, C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Bin.
  • When tools are run inside a model, the scratch files will be written to the following location: C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\ArcToolbox\Toolboxes
  • When tools are run inside a script, the scratch files will be written to the folder where the script is stored.
  • If the ARCTMPDIR is set to a path that does not exist, or the user does not have write permission to the ARCTMPDIR location:
  • When tools are run from the dialog box, the scratch files will be written to the following location: C:\Documents and Settings\<user_profile>\Local Settings\Temp
  • When tools are run inside a model, the scratch files will be written to the following location: C:\Documents and Settings\<user_profile>\Local Settings\Temp
  • When tools are run inside a script, the scratch files will be written to the folder where the script is stored.

Solution or Workaround

Try each of the following steps, in order, and test after each step. It may not be necessary to complete all steps. In most cases, step one alone fixes the issue.

  1. Create an ARCTMPDIR environment variable with the variable name: ARCTMPDIR and the variable value: C:\temp
    Instructions provided describe how to edit environment variables for various platforms. See: How To: Edit an environment variable
    Note:
    Replace C:\temp, in the above, with a disk location appropriate for the current user. The current user must have full read/write access to this location.
  2. Restart ArcInfo or ArcGIS Desktop for this change to take effect.
  3. If the problem persists, right-click the application shortcut (say for ArcCatalog or ArcMap), select 'Properties', on the Shortcut tab set the 'Start in:' to a folder location in which write access is granted.
  4. Restart ArcInfo or ArcGIS Desktop for this change to take effect.
  5. If the problem continues, contact the system administrator to verify that the user has the proper system permissions to the install folder.