How To Limit Disk Space Usage By Users In Windows 7

You just bought a 2TB hard disk and weeks later, you find that you are running out of hard disk space again. Sound familiar? No matter how big your hard disks are, sooner or later they are going to run out of space. The rate your storage space diminishes will be even faster if your computer is shared by several users, unless you place a cap on your users disk space usage.

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to limit the disk space usage of your users in Windows 7.

Limiting the user’s profile size

In Windows 7, the user profile is usually stored in “c:\users\username” (replace username with the name of the user). This profile includes all the data related to an user. You will be able to find “Desktop”, “Documents”, “Music”, “Videos”, “File settings”, etc within this profile folder.

Note: This tutorial can only be used in Ultimate, Professional and Enterprise editions. Other versions of Windows 7, such as the Home Premium or Basic, doesn’t include the group policy editor.

We are going to use an inbuilt utility so there is no need to download or use third party applications. Our first step is to open the group policy editor.

Click the Start button and type “gpedit.msc” (without quotes) in the search field.

win7lps-run-gpedit

Once the Local Group Policy Editor window appears, go to “Local Computer Policy -> User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> User Profiles”.

win7lps-gpedit-user-profiles

On the right pane, you should be able to see a list with multiples entries. Scroll down the list to find an entry “Limit profile size”. It should show “Not Configured” under the State column.

win7lps-gpedit-limit-profile-size

Double click the “Limit profile size” entry. This will open up a configuration window. At the top, select the “Enabled” button.

At the bottom, you can set the maximum profile size for each user profile and the custom message to show when the size is exceeded.

win7lps-limit-profile-size-settings

Optionally, you can select the option “Notify user when profile storage space is exceeded” so that your system will notify the users when the limit is reached.

For Windows earlier than Vista, when the profile size is exceeded, the system won’t let the user log off until the profile size size is reduced to within the limit. For Windows Vista and above, the user can still log off, but they won’t be able to sync their profile with the roaming profile server.

Note: Windows, in this case only control profile size. It will not control direct sub folders of the C drive or other drivers different that the one containing the system.

Do you have ever use an application to limit the file usage by an user?