Big compressed file with a small drive.
December 7, 2005 7:50 PM   Subscribe

I have a large .rar file--just over 3 gigs--that I want to unpack to a drive on my computer. The source drive and the destination drive both have plenty of room, at least 15 gigs each, but my C drive has just under 3 gigs. When I try to unpack, say from drive E to drive D, the C drive becomes full(!), and I have to cancel. I can't really free up any space on my C drive, so how can I unpack this thing? Is there any way that I can "bypass" the unpacked files being routed through the C drive?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Probably your unrar program is using the C drive for temp space. A few things to try...set your temp/tmp environment variable to a directory on a bigger drive, see the docs for your unrar program to see if there is a way to manually set the temp drive, try another unrar program.
posted by beowulf573 at 7:55 PM on December 7, 2005

Hmm, try creating a new temp folder on one of the other drives, then change your user TMP and TEMP environment variables in the "System" control panel (button at bottom of "advanced" tab) to point to the new directory. Save the original path in a text file or something.

You may have to log out and back in again before newly started programs pick up the new environment settings.

If that doesn't work, You might also check the preferences for your decompression program again to see if there is any setting to change for the temp or scratch directory.

Another UNRar program might also avoid the intermediate file and just decompress directly to the destination, but I don't know one to reccommend.
posted by Good Brain at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2005

You could try using 7-zip (which I use for nearly all my archival/unarchival purposes, and will unpack RAR files) and by opening the File Manager, going to Options/Plugins/7-zip/Options/Folders you could change the "working folder" that it uses to store the temporary files.
posted by j.edwards at 8:03 PM on December 7, 2005

For WinRAR, CTRL-S, select "Paths" , then you can browse to change the temporary file folder.
posted by Yorrick at 10:49 PM on December 7, 2005

I can't really free up any space on my C drive

Yes, you can, and you should. A tight drive thrashes more, for example. Try SpaceMonger.

Remember that you can use the Explorer to move My Documents to any drive you like.
posted by dhartung at 12:34 AM on December 8, 2005

rar for the command line.

That should clear up the space problem. But it might give you 8.3 filenames...

Just to get you started:

rar x E:\directory\of\file\my_file.rar
posted by shepd at 3:28 AM on December 8, 2005

What program are you using? If you're not using WinRar, you should be It kicks ass (better for unzipping then winzip, IMO). If you are and it's still doing that, try some other programs as well. There's no spesific reason why a program would need to behave this way. Internet Explorer needs to use your C: drive to download files to anywhere on your computer, but firefox dosn't (for example)

That would be my first bet (but make sure they're spyware free in this day and age!)

The path changing that others suggested might help as well
posted by delmoi at 6:47 AM on December 8, 2005

How big is the unpacked file? Which software are you using to uncompress.

One other possibility; bad old programs have problems with files bigger than 2 gigs. Sometimes the resulting errors show up as "disk full", when really the problem is "program can't work with files bigger than 2 gigs". You may want to try different software.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on December 8, 2005

Are you unpacking a single file? If not, just unpack it in piecemeal, a few folders/files at a time.

Or change the temporary file folder as the others have stated.
posted by junesix at 10:05 AM on December 8, 2005

i don't have winrar here (but i always have small c: partitions on windows so i know the various problems that come with it)

winrar gives you several ways to extract things from an archive: extract here, extract to, and dragging, and i'm very sure that one or some of the ways don't use the win temp directory
posted by suni at 12:46 PM on December 8, 2005

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