Error! Can’t initialize plug-ins directory

I tried to install the new version of IntelliJ IDEA today and I got this strange problem.

Error! Can't initialize plug-ins directory. Please try again later!

Some searches on the Internet made me think that the problem was not from IDEA installer, but from Windows itself. I could later confirm that by fire up the installer of Format Factory and got the exact same error messages.

I took me an hour to try out different things until I got this forum thread:

Basically, the permission settings on the Temp folder of my user profile was messed up, and my account did not have any permission on that folder at that moment.
In short, the fixed is simply go to the Properties of that folder (you can type %temp% in Run to go to the folder directly), jump to Security tab, choose my user account, press Edit, and put a tick on Full control.
There were several error messages saying that I could not change the permission of some subfolder, but ignoring those folder does not causing me any problem till now.

I hope it help if you are having the same problem!

13 thoughts to “Error! Can’t initialize plug-ins directory”

  1. Hey there, I am trying to install codeblocks, it shows the same error of “cant initalize plug in directories ” The full control option in the user is already ticked , but it isnt installing my application. can you plz suggest me something

    1. You can check Event Viewer, see if there is any related error. Another way is to use procmon tool in sysinternals to see what file access is causing that problem. Procmon should show the problem but it might not be easy to spot the relevant lines in thousands of recorded events every second.

    2. Windows 7 Desktop error message “Can’t initialize plugins directory”

      My Fix for can’t install any .exe file

      From the Start button in the Search Bar type in: %tmp% this then brings up a folder on the bottom.

      Right click folder for Properties

      Then click on SECURITY Tab.

      Then select System Advanced

      Then change Permissions from Special to FULL CONTROL

      These steps worked for me.

  2. Hello. Your text really helped me a lot. Now I can again install. This website or url is one of the top on first page of Google.

  3. Hi, this solution didn’t worked for me. I had the same error message but the my problem was in the permissions of the instalation file, not in the temp file. I changed my privilegies over the instalation file and the problem was resolved.


    1. How did you change the privileges? I have full control and ownership of the temp folder but still cannot instal or reinstall programs.

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