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I have been running a query that (I assume) generates a large amount of temporary information, as I receive the following error:

ERROR:  could not write block 16451641 of temporary file: No space left on device
HINT:  Perhaps out of disk space?

********** Error **********

ERROR: could not write block 16451641 of temporary file: No space left on device
SQL state: 53100
Hint: Perhaps out of disk space?

I made a folder tmp_tablespace on my G: drive and then edited postgresql.conf and restarted the database.


# - Statement Behavior -

#search_path = '"$user",public'     # schema names
#default_tablespace = ''        # a tablespace name, '' uses the default
temp_tablespaces = 'G:/tmp_tablespace/'         # a list of tablespace names, '' uses

As far as I can tell, the temporary tablespace is not being used, as no files are written there (at least none that I can see when refreshing). In the Windows Options menu, Show Hidden Files is checked, and I've refreshed the folder a few times while this processing was running, as well as checking the folder size which stayed at 0.

In my SQL code, I also tried using the lines SET temp_tablespaces('G:\tmp_tablespace'); and temp_tablespaces('G:\tmp_tablespace'); but both lines returned error messages.

I'm using PostGreSQL 9.1 32 bit and Windows 7. Are there any other settings I should be checking? My PostGreSQL installation is on the C:\ drive and the associated tablespace is on the G:\ drive.

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You need to create the new tablespace with CREATE TABLESPACE and then specify the name of the tablespace in your configuration, not the name of the underlying directory.

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Is it a similar command to creating a normal tablespace? I just want the temporary files there, rather than all files and if I use CREATE TABLESPACE dbspace LOCATION '/data/dbs'; I assume it moves everything. – celenius Feb 21 '12 at 15:49
Why do you assume that? – Milen A. Radev Feb 21 '12 at 16:21
From the docs, CREATE TABLESPACE registers a new cluster-wide tablespace. The tablespace name must be distinct from the name of any existing tablespace in the database cluster.` – celenius Feb 21 '12 at 17:28
Nothing will move when you create a new tablespace - it will be empty until you tell postgres to put something in it. Such as by telling it to put temporary tables there. – TomH Feb 21 '12 at 21:02
@TomH Sorry, I'm still not clear on how to do this. So if I run CREATE TABLESPACE dbspace LOCATION 'J:\data' I create a tablespace, but how do I tell it to store the temporary tables there? Is it similar to temp_tablespaces('J:\data') ? – celenius Feb 22 '12 at 0:57

After making the folder tmp on drive J, the approach that I took was as follows:

CREATE DATABASE dbspace_tmp tablespace dbspace_tmp;
ALTER DATABASE my_db SET temp_tablespaces = dbspace_tmp;

This appears to be working as it created a file in this location and it seems to be storing temporary data in there.

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why you need the create database statement? – J-16 SDiZ Dec 8 '15 at 2:24
I think he meant to say CREATE DATABASE my_db – sudo Jun 9 at 18:08

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