How To: Set the default Home folder and geodatabase location for new map documents


This article pertains to ArcGIS version 10.0. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Instructions provided describe how to create and update a registry string value used to override the default location of the Home folder for new documents. This process involves editing the system registry.

At 10.0 Service Pack 5, a new registry value can be used to set the default Home folder for new untitled documents. This new Home folder is used on the next restart of the application. This directory is also the location where the default geodatabase is created for new documents.


Alternatively, a sample toolbox is available on arcgis.com containing a single script tool. This tool achieves the same result as the procedure described below.

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions. Therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. Go to Start > Run.
  2. In the Run window, type regedit.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > Desktop 10 > ArcCatalog.
  4. Select Edit > New > Key and name it DefaultHomeFolder.
  5. Right-click the new DefaultHomeFolder key, select New > String Value, and name it Location.
  6. Double-click the new Location string value and change its value to the path of the desired Home folder.

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