Disk Quotas in XP

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to manage Disk Quotas in XP.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: user, limit, file, space, partition, entry, set, drive, ownership, enable

Quota Tab

We can use Disk Quotas on NTFS partitions to keep track or restrict the amount of disk space used by specific users. We can enable quotas by editing the properties of an NTFS drive. Let’s right-click E drive, open its properties, and go to the ‘Quota’ tab.

Quota Tab

Image 247.1 – Quota Tab

To enable quotas, select ‘Enable quota management’, and then click ‘Apply’. The warning message will appear.


Image 247.2 – Warning

We will click OK to enable quota management. When we enable quotas, the system scans the drive and creates the quota entry for all users who currently own files on that partition. Let’s click ‘Quota Entries’ to take a look at the entries that have just been created.

Quota Entries

Image 247.3 – Quota Entries

Notice that we have entries for administrators group, Administrator, Ally Anderson, and Kim Verson. At this point, quotas are doing nothing more than reporting the used disk space on the drive. Let’s close the ‘Quota Entries’ window, and let’s select the default quota limit for new users on this volume. To do that, check the ‘Limit disk space to’ option.

Limit Disk Space To

Image 247.4 – Limit Disk Space To

In this case we will accept the default limit of 1K with the default warning level of 1K, and then click ‘Apply’. Keep in mind that this limit only applies to users who currently have no files on the drive. The limit value for the existing users have not changed. Let’s take a look a the ‘Quota Entries’.

Quota Entries 2

Image 247.5 – Quota Entries 2

Notice that Ally Anderson and Kim Verson still have no quota limit. Let’s close that window. Currently we are logged on with an Administrator account. Let’s log on with another account to see how will our quotas behave. Let’s log on as ‘wdelmonte’, which is a new user who has never loged on to our computer before.


Image 247.6 – wdelmonte Log On

Let’s try to copy a file to the E partition. Let’s create a new folder named ‘wdelmonte’. We will copy an mp3 file to that folder.

 File Copy

Image 247.7 – File Copied

Notice that our mp3 file is much larger than the 1 KB (which is our quota limit). We could go over our limit because we did not enforce disk quotas. Let’s take a look at our Quota Entries again.

 Exceeded Limit

Image 247.8 – Exceeded Limit

Notice that Willie has exceeded his quota limit. To deny disk space usage for those who exceed quota limit, we have to check ‘Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit‘ option. This way we will enforce Disk Quotas.

Deny Disk Space

Image 247.9 – Deny Disk Space Option Checked

We can also edit individual quota entry for users. To do that, open ‘Quota Entries’, right-click on a user, and select ‘Properties’. Let’s limit disk space for Willie Delmonte to 100 MB, and set warning level to 90 MB. Click ‘Apply’ to confirm.

 Willie Modified Entry

Image 247.10 – Modified Quota Entry

If the quota is not needed for particular users, we can delete Quota Entry for that particular users. In our case we will delete Ally Anderson quota entry. Let’s right-click Ally Anderson, select ‘Delete’, and click ‘Yes’ to confirm. The following window will appear.

Allys Files

Image 247.11 – Files That Ally Owns

The thing is, we have to do something with the files that Ally currently owns. We can delete, take ownership of those files, or move them somewhere else. In our case, we will select all files, and click the ‘Delete’ button.

Delete Files

Image 247.12 – Delete Files

Notice that the quota entry for Ally Anderson is now gone.

Ally Quota Removed

Image 247.13 – Quota Entry for Ally is Removed


We can use Disk Quotas on NTFS partitions. We can enable quotas by editing the properties of an NTFS drive.