Fatal error: cannot mkdir R_TempDir

When attempting to run R, I get this error:

Fatal error: cannot mkdir R_TempDir

I found two possible fixes for this problem by googling around. The first was to ensure my tmp directory didn't contain a load of subdirectories - it doesn't and it's virtually empty. The second fix was to ensure that TMP, TMPDIR, and R_USER in my environment weren't set to non-existent paths - I didn't even have these set. Therefore, I created a tmp directory in my home directory and added it's path to TMP in my environment. I was able to run R once and then I got the fatal error again. Nothing was in the TMP directory that I set in my environment. Does anyone know what else I can try? Thanks.


Your default temporary directory appears to have the wrong permissions. Here I have

$ ls -ld /tmp
drwxrwxrwt 22 root root 4096 2011-06-10 09:17 /tmp

The key part is 'everybody' can read or write. You need that too. It certainly can contain subdirectories.

Are you running something like AppArmor or SE Linux?

Edit 2011-07-21: As someone just deemed it necessary to downvote this answer -- help(tempfile) is very clear on what values tmpdir (the default directory for temporary files or directories) tries:

By default, 'tmpdir' will be the directory given by 'tempdir()'. This will be a subdirectory of the temporary directory found by the following rule. The environment variables 'TMPDIR', 'TMP' and 'TEMP' are checked in turn and the first found which points to a writable directory is used: if none succeeds '/tmp' is used.

So my money is on checking those three environment variables. But AppArmor and SELinux have shown to be an issue too on some distributions.

Dirk is right, but misses a point: If /tmp is full, you can't create subdirectories there. Try

df /tmp

I just hit this on a shared server, where /tmp is mounted on it's own partition, and is shared by many users. In this particular case, you can't really see who's fault it is, because permissions restrict you seeing who is filling up the tmp partition. Basically have to ask the sys admins to figure it out.

Go to your user directory and create a file called .Renviron and add the following line, save it and reopen RStudio or Rgui or Rterm

TMP = '<path to folder where Everyone has full control>'

This worked with me on Windows 7

Just had this issue and finally solved it. Simply a windows permission issue. Go to environment variables and find the location of the temp folders. Then right click on the folder > properties > security > advanced > change everyone to full control > tick "replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object" > Ok > ok.

This will also happen when your computer is completely, utterly out of space. Currently, my Mac has 0 kb free and it's causing this error. Freeing up some space solved the problem.

Check for the user account with which you are launching the RStudio with. Now u check the TMP(System Environment variable) for its location. If the user who is launching RStudio has Write access for those directories you will not face this issue. Being said that you are facing this issue, all you have to do is to change the permissions for that user to have write access on those directories.

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