Can I run NetBeans with an alternate "userdir"? Can I move the .netbeans directory?

Yes. Running NetBeans with a non-default userdir can be useful in various scenarios:

  1. You want to temporarily run NetBeans with different settings (window layouts, font settings, etc.) and revert to the default later.
  2. You want to run FaqMultipleIdeInstances.
  3. You've run into problems and want to exclude the possibility of corrupted settings. When evaluating a bug report, NetBeans developers often ask if the problem is reproducible with a clean userdir - this is what they mean.
  4. Your default installation is on a slower drive, and you want the userdir to be located on a faster one.

Changing the userdir

You can specify the new location for the .netbeans userdir via the --userdir <path> startup option when starting NetBeans. New userdir location cannot be in Netbeans folder. See: FaqNetbeansConf.

The <path> argument may refer to an existing or a new folder name. If pointing to an existing dirctory, it will be reused. If you provide a non-existent path, a new userdir will be created by NetBeans.

NetBeans 7.1 permits a --cachedir <path> option to store the IDE's "caches" elsewhere, such as on a fast local disk rather than a slow but backed-up network drive. The cache consists of files that may become large; may change frequently; and can be freely deleted and recreated. For example, the results of the Java classpath scan would live in the cache.


  • Windows:
    netbeans.exe --userdir C:\MyOtherUserdir --cachedir "%HOME%\Locale Settings\Application Data\NetBeans\7.1\cache"
  • Unix:
    ./netbeans --userdir ~/my-other-userdir
  • Mac OS:
    /Applications/NetBeans.app/Contents/MacOS/executable --userdir ~/my-other-userdir

Applies to: NetBeans 3.6, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.0, 7.1

Platforms: All


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