I am trying to update to iOS 5, but iTunes wants 10 GB in the C: drive. (I don't have that much free space in C, but I have it in another partition.)

I have already reinstalled iTunes in my secondary partition (300 GB free) and moved the Preferences > Advanced iTunes Media to my secondary.

But still when I try to update to iOS 5, iTunes tells me there is not enough free space (it still wants to use the C: drive).

Are there any other settings I should check?

  • 3
    Why don't you just move 10 GB to your bigger partition, do the update, and then move it back?
    – user10355
    Oct 13 '11 at 11:52

I think that iTunes is trying to use your gobal Windows temporary folder. By default, this directory is in your user Local Settings directory, located on the same drive as Windows. This is a system-wide setting that applications are supposed to follow.

You can change the path to this temporary folder by changing the value of the TEMP environment variable. You'll have to restart iTunes after changing the variable to have it take effect.

  • What? Is it working? Oct 13 '11 at 10:44
  • i didn't tried this. It's not possibile that i have to edit such stuff just to change itunes temporany directory.
    – dynamic
    Oct 13 '11 at 11:18
  • It's not iTunes temporary directory, it's Windows temporary directory. Applications are supposed to use it so it's really up to you if you want to move it somewhere else. Windows doesn't provide a neat GUI for that.
    – Dan
    Oct 13 '11 at 11:43
  • To be honest: this did not make any difference. I have updated the TEMP system variable to point to a different drive, but iTunes seems to ignore this system variable completely for the iOS5 upgrade...
    – user12185
    Oct 16 '11 at 15:43
  • You'll need to make this setting stick across a reboot and then restart Windows entirely. This is not something that can be adjusted on-the-fly.
    – EmmEff
    Apr 20 '12 at 13:37

Itunes uses the folder "%appdata%\Apple Computer\iTunes\ipad software updates" to store the iOS 5 update and uncompress it. If you don't have enough space on C: drive, you need to move this folder in order to be able to do the iOS 5 update.

Since iTunes thoughtfully left out any means of doing this, you need to get your hands dirty.

  1. close iTunes.
  2. Cut and paste the folder "%appdata%\apple computer\itunes\ipad software updates" to a different drive or partition with at least 30 GB free. Eg. D:\ipad\ipad software updates
  3. download junction (http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/Junction.zip) and unzip in to C:
  4. Click on "Start", select "Run". Type in "cmd" to open a DOS window.
  5. Type in "cd.." and hit Enter. Keep repeating until the DOS prompt changes to "C:>"
  6. Type in : junction "%appdata%\apple computer\itunes\ipad software updates" "D:\ipad\ipad software updates"


  • Unfortunately, using Junction for this doesn't work. Available drive space is determined by looking at the drive, not at an individual directory. Since iTunes assumes you are using the OS drive, that's what it is going to use and not the symbolically linked directory. I wish that weren't the case because I'm trying to upgrade a 64GB iPod Touch and running into the same problem as the OP.
    – user16217
    Jan 9 '12 at 16:20
  • Using Runesmith's advice (thanks dude!), I just got iTunes to "see" my larger spinning HDD through two junction symlinks: the iTunes folder and the MobileSync folders found in the %appdata%\Apple Computer\ folder (Windows 7). I shut down iTunes, then I cut and pasted both folders to a new "Apple Computer" folder on the larger spinning drive. Then, using Junction (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896768.aspx) like Runesmith said, I made symlinks for each folder back on my smaller SSD drive. It's critical that you get the names and locations of each folder EXACT. Once
    – user87607
    Aug 13 '14 at 4:16
  • @egandb Holy mother of necroreplies.
    – Nahydrin
    Aug 13 '14 at 10:28

Success; I solved it!!!!

The answer is with two parts, no dealing with the registry. One is changing the TEMP variable to D:\temp (or whatever the second hard drive is). The other does involve junction, but you got the wrong directory.

While you got the right directory for where iTunes keeps downloads, that particular file is relatively small and not where it extracts to (where all the space is eaten). The initial dmg files are extracted to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\Temp . "All Users" seems static. The "Temp" part is dynamic (is created at the operation and deleted after) and appears to be hard coded in iTunes 10, so I moved the "iTunes" folder from above to the other drive, then made the junction point to "D:\Temp\Apple\iTunes" (you do where you want; I made "Apple" read only to avoid autodeleting and invalidating the junction. Overkill, but I was trying to work quickly- probably not a good idea to link to a sub off %TEMP%).

Anyway, worked like a charm. The initial extraction of the download went to the linked directory on D:, then the DMG files were extracted in to %TEMP%\$app(n) and the iPod was soon rescued after that.


Just like @cksum said in response to your question: move ten gigs of files from your C: drive to your secondary, update to iOS 5, and move the files back. It's not like iTunes is going to keep using the space after the update is complete.

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