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Best practices for Disk Quotas

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices

Apply appropriate disk quota limits

  • Apply disk quota limits according to realistic disk space requirements for your users. Start by classifying users by the amount of disk space that you anticipate they will require (for example, users who work with scanned photographs or artwork may require a large amount of disk space). Next, structure your volumes by those classes, and then use disk quotas to limit the amount of disk space allowed for the users on each volume.

    Ensure that you have enough disk space to accommodate both existing users and future additions. Each file stored on the volume can use up to 64 kilobytes (KB) of NTFS metadata that is not applied to a user's quota limit. To avoid running out of disk space, ensure that there is sufficient disk space to accommodate this metadata.

Set default limits

  • Set moderately restrictive default limits for all user accounts, and then modify the limits to allow more disk space to users who work with large files. It may be better to increase disk quota limits for a few user accounts than to force some users to work with a quota limit that does not meet their needs. User Policies occupy at least 2 megabytes (MB) of disk space, so you should set the default limits for all user accounts above 2 MB.

Allow for growth

  • Set quota limits at a level that will allow for growth in disk space use. When quota increases are warranted, increase them by a percentage of the current quota setting.

Delete users' quota entries

  • When a user no longer needs the use of a particular volume (for example, when he or she leaves the company), delete the user's quota entry for that volume and then delete, move, or take ownership of any files that the user owns. This helps you eliminate the use of volume space by unneeded files.

Limit installation to administrators

  • If you enable disk quota settings on the same volume where the Windows operating system and other programs are installed, it is important that the user accounts that are used to install programs and Windows components have a sufficiently high disk quota. You can ensure this in one of two ways:

    • Install all programs and Windows components using the local Administrator account. This account has no quota limit.

    • Configure the disk quota to unlimited (do not limit disk usage) or to a sufficiently large amount of disk space for the user accounts that you use to install programs and Windows components.

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