Manage disk quotas in Windows with Group Policy Objects

To maintain your servers and workstations, you have to control the amount of drive space users can consume. Users need enough space to do their work, but giving them too much space can encourage users to fill it with inappropriate files (such as games, music, movies, etc.). You can use a GPO to control disk space quotas across the network on Windows 2000, XP, and .NET systems. The disk-quotas controls are in the computer configuration section of the GPO in the administrative templates/system/disk quotas folder. The six controls there manage disk usage restrictions throughout your Active Directory environment.

The Enable disk quotas control turns on disk quotas for the affected systems (i.e. the members of the site, domain, or OU to which the GPO is applied). This control simply enables disk quotas; it makes no other configuration settings.

The Enforce disk quota limit control determines whether quota limits are enforced or just used as warnings. If enforced, users will be unable to save new data once they have reached their limit. If not enforced, they can continue to save new data even after they have exceeded their limit.

The Default quota limit and warning level control defines the default quota limit and the warning level for users. All users who do not have uniquely defined quota and warning limits will have this setting applied to them. In general, it is a good idea to set the warning level about 10% below the actual quota

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limit. In most cases, this will provide users with sufficient warning to manage their space usage before the threat of data loss occurs. If this setting is not defined, the default is for the quota limit to be the total size of the volume.

The Log event when quota limit exceeded control simply creates an event detail in the Application log when a user exceeds the quota limit. This control is independent of whether the quota limit is actually enforced.

The Log event when quota warning level exceeded control simply creates an event detail in the Application log when a user exceeds the warning level. This control is independent of whether the quota limit is actually enforced.

The Apply policy to removable media control enforces quotas on NTFS formatted removable media. By default, removable media are not subject to quota limitations.

James Michael Stewart is a partner of ITinfo Pros, Inc., a technology-focused writing and training organization.

Editor's Note: This tip originally appeared on SearchWin2000.com

This was first published in November 2002

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