I took a break from writing LaTeX code for a couple months. I return to my computer, a Windows 10 OS, to find that my documents are no longer compiling with pdflatex. Generally, I write my code in sublime, save the tex file to a folder, and then run

pdflatex example.tex

in the command line to generate the PDF. However, I constantly get the error

>>pdflatex hello.tex
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.18 (MiKTeX 2.9.6350 64-bit)
entering extended mode
! I can't write on file `hello.log'.
Please type another transcript file name:

In the past, pdflatex would generate a log file, but no log file was seen in the folder. I am perplexed at my current issue. I tried reinstalling MiKTeX, taking care to reboot in between deletion and reinstallation of the distribution, yet the problem remains the same. Were any updates to Windows 10 responsible for this weird behavior? Here is my current version of MiKTeX

MiKTeX-pdfTeX 2.9.6354 (1.40.18) (MiKTeX 2.9.6350 64-bit)
2.9.6354 (1.40.18)
TeX is a trademark of the American Mathematical Society.
using bzip2 version 1.0.6, 6-Sept-2010
compiled with curl version 7.54.0; using libcurl/7.54.0 WinSSL
compiled with expat version 2.2; using expat_2.2.0
compiled with jpeg version 9.2
compiled with liblzma version 50020032; using 50020032
compiled with libpng version 1.6.29; using 1.6.29
compiled with libressl version LibreSSL 2.5.3; using LibreSSL 2.5.3
compiled with MiKTeX Application Framework version 1.6334; using 1.6334
compiled with MiKTeX Core version 1.6344; using 1.6344
compiled with MiKTeX Archive Extractor version 1.6300; using 1.6300
compiled with MiKTeX Package Manager version 1.6353; using 1.6353
compiled with poppler version 0.55.0
compiled with uriparser version 0.8.4
compiled with zlib version 1.2.11; using 1.2.11

Edit: I create a folder on my desktop and put hello.tex in the folder. I then cd into the folder and type pdflatex hello.tex command.

  • Did you try to remove hello.log? It may be readonly by an accident. – Przemysław Scherwentke Oct 19 '17 at 2:07
  • There is no read.log at all. It's not creating a log file. – Jonathan Davidson Oct 19 '17 at 2:09
  • Welcome to TeX.SE! Do you have writing rights to the directory? Is there another compile run not ended and therefore the log file can not be overwriten? – Kurt Oct 19 '17 at 2:09
  • How can I check if I have writing rights to the directory? – Jonathan Davidson Oct 19 '17 at 2:10
  • There is no other compile run, running. – Jonathan Davidson Oct 19 '17 at 2:11

Sometimes the content of the .tex file can cause this issue. It has occurred to me in the past too. Let's start from the basics (and just to make sure) is your hello.tex the same as this one? If not, try that .tex file first. If the problem persists then we could be looking at the privileges you have on the computer. It could be that you need writing rights on the directory (like @Kurt mentioned).

  • Exact same tex file. I'm beginning to suspect that it is a permissions problem. I'm just not too familiar on how to check/modify permissions. – Jonathan Davidson Oct 19 '17 at 16:12
  • I see. I was suspecting that. Maybe take a look at this blog , it shows how to "Take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 using File Explorer". I hope this helps! Let me know if you need any help with it. – W. Stalin R. Oct 19 '17 at 16:41

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