Environment variable to control


I've used the TMP environment variable to control things like where gcc writes it's temporary files, but I can't seem to find an equivalent for java's createTempFile API.

Does such an environment variable exist?

2/23/2016 4:34:03 PM

Accepted Answer

Hmmm -- since this is handled by the JVM, I delved into the OpenJDK VM source code a little bit, thinking that maybe what's done by OpenJDK mimics what's done by Java 6 and prior. It isn't reassuring that there's a way to do this other than on Windows.

On Windows, OpenJDK's get_temp_directory() function makes a Win32 API call to GetTempPath(); this is how on Windows, Java reflects the value of the TMP environment variable.

On Linux and Solaris, the same get_temp_directory() functions return a static value of /tmp/.

I don't know if the actual JDK6 follows these exact conventions, but by the behavior on each of the listed platforms, it seems like they do.

6/4/2015 6:48:26 PM

You could set your _JAVA_OPTIONS environmental variable. For example in bash this would do the trick:


I put that into my bash login script and it seems to do the trick.



$ java -XshowSettings
Property settings:
    java.home = /home/nisar/javadev/javasuncom/jdk1.7.0_17/jre = /tmp

It isn't an environment variable, but still gives you control over the temp dir:



To be clear about what is going on here:

  • The recommended way to set the temporary directory location is to set the System property called "", e.g. by giving the option to the java command. The property can also be changed from within a program by calling System.setProperty("", "/mytempdir) ... modulo sandbox security issues.

  • If you don't explicitly set the "" property on startup, the JVM initializes it to a platform specific default value. For Windows, the default is obtained by a call to a Win32 API method. For Linux / Solaris the default is apparently hard-wired. For other JVMs it could be something else.

Empirically, the "TMP" environment variable works on Windows (with current JVMs), but not on other platforms. If you care about portability you should explicitly set the system property.


Use below command on UNIX terminal :

java -XshowSettings

This will display all java properties and system settings. In this look for value.


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