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Changing the default service definition staging folder in ArcGIS for Desktop

When you publish a service using ArcGIS for Desktop, a service definition file is created and temporarily stored in a staging folder locally on disk. During publishing, the service definition file is copied to ArcGIS Server. When the publishing process completes, the service definition file is deleted from both ArcGIS Server and the staging folder.

If publishing fails or you decide to cancel publishing, you have the option to keep a draft of the service definition file in the staging folder. If you save a draft service, a draft service definition file is created in the staging folder.

The default staging location is a temporary folder in your Windows user profile, located at C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\ESRI\Desktop<version number>\Staging. If you navigate to this directory, you will see your connections to ArcGIS Server, along with any draft service definition files.

You can change the default staging location in ArcMap or ArcGlobe, or you can override the location using your connection to ArcGIS Server. To modify the default staging location, follow the steps in the sections below.

In ArcMap or ArcGlobe:

  1. From the main menu, choose Customize > ArcMap Options (in ArcMap) or > ArcGlobe Options (in ArcGlobe).
  2. On the Options dialog box, click the Sharing tab.
  3. Browse to the desired publishing staging location.
  4. Click OK.

In your connection to ArcGIS Server:


You must be connected with an administrator or publisher connection in order to perform the following steps. A user connection is not sufficient. See About connecting to ArcGIS Server in ArcGIS for Desktop to learn about the different types of connections.

  1. In ArcCatalog or the Catalog window, expand the GIS Servers node.
  2. Right-click your connection to ArcGIS Server and choose Properties.
  3. Uncheck Use ArcGIS Desktop's staging folder and browse to the desired staging location.
  4. Click OK.