Disk Quotas

Disk Quotas allows administrators to control how much of a volume users can fill with files. Although, disk quotas are normally implemented on servers that hosts shared folders they can also be implemented on standalone computers running Windows 7. In a scenario where multiple users access a single computer, a single user may completely fills a volume with his/her files hence, preventing others from saving their files due to lack of storage space.

To configure disk quotas on Windows 7 follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start and then click Computer.
  2. In the right pane, right-click the drive (such as the drive holding users data) on which you want to configure the quotas and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Quota tab and select the Enable Quota Management check box as shown below:

The available options on the Quota tab are the following:

Enable Quota Management – By default quota management is disabled and you should select this check box to enable it.

Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit – Users are only warned if they exceed their quota limits if you leave this check box unchecked. On the other hand, if you select this check box Windows 7 will block disk access when the quota is reached. It is important to note that denying access to disk when the quota is exceeded will cause applications running under the same user to fail if they need to save data to disk.

Do not limit disk usage – this option is the default setting for not specifying a limit to new users however, you can then limit usage on a per user basis from the Quota Entries window. To invoke the Quota Entries window, click the Quota Entries… button as shown below:

From the Quota Entries window you can create different limits for different users, delete entries, export and import settings, and view all entries including percentage usage and other details as shown above.

Limit disk space to – this option allows you to create a default limit for all new users.

Set warning level to – this option will notify users before running out of available disk space. The value you specify must be lower than that in the Limit disk space to box so that users receives the warning message before hitting the threshold.

Logging capabilities (Log event when a user exceeds their quota limit and Log event when a user exceeds their warning level) configures Windows 7 to add an event when the users exceed their warning and quota levels.

It is highly recommended to enable the logging features as this will allow administrators to monitor disk quota events and inform users that they are reaching the limit. Administrators can educate users about storage requirements while users can request more storage space if their requirements change.