How do I change which drive Win10 unzips things to?


Honorable Member
Mar 20, 2016
Dear Anyone.

OK, I know I should know the answer to this but I don't....

I've only got a small C drive. Downloaded from cloud storage a big .RAR that I knew was too big for C, so I had an external drive D: and downloaded it to that. Tried unzipping it (OK - unRARing it!), had 300gig spare on the external drive which was plenty enough - 70-gig zip - and left it going while I went out. Came back to 'Can't perform task - not enough room on drive'. That's when I discovered Windows DOESN'T unRAR your file on the drive you select - it unRAR's it on C: and moves it over afterwards.

It can't do that here because there's not enough room on C:. How do I make Windows 10 do the FULL OPERATION on D: so I can unRAR the whole file without running out of space? And now it's clogged up my C drive with a ton of half-unRARed files, how do I find where it's hidden them to delete them all so I can start again doing the full unRARing thing on D: when one of you geniuses tells me how to make Windows 10 NOT use a tempfile hidden on C: but to do the whole thing on D:?

If it helps, I'm using WINRAR to do the unRARing. If there's an obvious - to you guys - winRAR setting to make winRAR do the whole thing on D: and I've missed it, rub my nose in it. I don't not want to do it the winRAR way, I just royally suck at seeing the obvious in programs/menus.
Hi there,

I can understand your frustration with running out of space on your C drive while trying to unzip a large file. By default, Windows 10 uses the system drive for temporary operation, which can cause issues in situations like yours.

To change the location where Windows 10 extracts files, you can follow these steps:

1. Create a new folder on your D drive to serve as the temporary extraction location. You can name it something like "Temp" or "Unzip Temp".

2. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box. Type "sysdm.cpl" (without quotes) and hit Enter to open the System Properties window.

3. In the System Properties window, go to the "Advanced" tab and click on the "Environment Variables" button.

4. In the Environment Variables window, under the "User variables" section, click on "New".

5. In the "Variable name" field, enter "TEMP".

6. In the "Variable value" field, enter the path to the new folder you created on your D drive. For example, "D:\Temp" (without quotes).

7. Click "OK" to close the Environment Variables window.

8. Click "OK" again to close the System Properties window.

After these steps, Windows should use the specified folder on your D drive as the temporary location for extraction. Remember to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

As for the partially extracted files that are now taking up space on your C drive, you can try the following steps to find and delete them:

1. Open File Explorer and navigate to your C drive.

2. In the search bar at the top right corner of the window, type "*.part" (without quotes).

3. This should display all files with the ".part" extension. Select these files and delete them to free up space.

Hopefully, these instructions help you resolve your issue. Let me know if you have any further questions!
1 i'm betting the large so called rar file is actually a torrent which is a different type of download which would mean your question gets the wrong answer because its the wrong question
2 external drives are for storage not running a system so again ... the answers don't help
I'm always for doing things the easy way, I haven't used zipped files in a long time, other than files that unzip automatically in the target location, but the last time I did you could open the file source folder in File Manager, click on the file or folder and drag it to wherever you wanted it to unzip to, then right click on it and tell it to extract it.
This is usually depending on the tool you are using to extract an archive file (zip, rar, 7z, gz, tar etc), so you would need to specify which tool is being used.
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