How to change the temporary folder if you run out of space while burning a DVD in Media Center

I recently tried to burn a video DVD on my Media Center 2005 system.  I tried to fit 2 hours of recorded TV content on the DVD, and Media Center told me it would need to compress the content in order to fit it on the DVD.  I pressed OK and left my Media Center going overnight to burn the DVD for me.  Then, when I came back in the morning I found an error message stating that my system was out of disk space.  I have my system configured with a 10 gigabyte C drive where I installed the Media Center OS and and then a 200+ gigabyte D drive where I store my music, photos and recorded TV.

After some further investigation, I found that the Sonic DVD burning software that is included with Media Center uses the default temporary folder (%temp%) when it transcodes recorded TV to compress it for burning to a video DVD.  In my case, I only have about 2-3 gigabytes free on my C drive, but I have 150+ gigabytes free on my D drive.  I found that I was able to change the default temporary folder location that Windows uses in order to allow my Media Center to use the D drive for temporary storage and correctly burn my video DVD.

Here are the steps I used to change the default temporary folder location and fix the Media Center video DVD burning issue I was running into:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type sysdm.cpl

  2. Click on the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button at the bottom

  3. Double-click on the User variable named TEMP and change it to a path on your D drive

  4. Double-click on the User variable named TMP and change it to a path on your D drive

  5. Double-click on the System variable named TEMP and change it to a path on your D drive

  6. Double-click on the System variable named TMP and change it to a path on your D drive

  7. Click OK to officially change these environment variables

  8. Restart your computer so that Media Center will pick up the changes to these folder locations

  9. Try to burn your television show to a video DVD again


Comments (15)
  1. mabster says:

    Hi Aaron,

    I have an MCE DVD-burning question.

    If the video I’m burning has a 16:9 aspect ratio, is it possible to burn an "anamorphic" (16:9 enhanced) DVD from Windows Media Center?

    The DVDs I’ve burned thus far using 16:9 source material have all been letterboxed.



  2. Hi Matt – Unfortunately, Media Center does not support this type of anamorphic burning. You may want to try some 3rd party burning software in order to achieve that. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

  3. mabster says:

    Hey – no inconvenience! Thanks for replying!

    Do you have any recommendations for 3rd party software? I think I have a copy of Nero lying around somewhere, but MCE has been so good I never bothered installing it! 🙂

  4. Hi Matt – I haven’t tried to do this type of burning yet, so I’m afraid I’m not sure which software would be the best to try here. You may want to check out the Green Button forums or the MCE newsgroups and see if other folks have some useful recommendations. Also, if you get a chance, please post a comment back with your findings so I can store it away for the future in case others ask the same question.

  5. George says:

    You are awesome,altough I used it for other purposes than the ones mentioned in the article,it worked even without a system restart.

  6. cryptex says:

    i googled for "how to change temp folder" and this the only good result i got 🙂 nice work mate

  7. fruzs says:

    thank you!!! i used it for photoshop, it creates enormous temp files… but even i (=a girl who knows nothing about informatics) could change the path with this tutorial! 🙂

  8. <3 u says:

    Thank u for making an awesome tutorial i was running out of free space and had 350+ on my D hard disk thank u again. 😀

  9. Ed ( changing temp file location) says:

    Im  sorry but i must be missing something , I  see %system root%temp  and the other file but what do i change them to ? I  click edit and the %userprofile%/local settingd temp pop up am i looking at the right thing , and how to change it ??

  10. Darrin says:

    I am encountering the same problem with Windows Media Player. I have ample space on D: drive, but C: drive is almost kaput. Unfortunately, the WMP Temp CD Burn folder is not appearing in the Variables window. I see every other temp folder but that one. Regardless, how does changing the name of the path equate to changing the drive from C: to D:, which apparently cannot be done!?

  11. Hi Darrin – The temp path in Windows will default to the system drive (usually C).  So if you change the temp drive to a path on another drive letter, that can help solve out of disk space issues with the system drive.

    The information in this blog post is applicable to Windows Media Center, not Windows Media Player though.  I'm not sure how to change the temp path used by Windows Media Player.  You can find support information for Windows Media Player at…/7763.

  12. gamerx says:

    Great article. Thanks!

  13. Peter says:

    This is Great, stop write amplifying my SSD.

  14. Sjco says:

    Thanks a ton, didn’t realize my temp folder was on my SSD until today.

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