How to Prevent a User from Using All the Hard Drive Space in Windows

On a shared computer it is very easy for the hard disk space to be filled with all kinds of data. For instance, my home computer has a 2TB hard disk and is shared among four people. Even with that much space, it is almost 80% full with all the personal photos, videos, movies, games, etc. Obviously, one (or more) user will use much more space than the others, which can be unfair. In such situations you can limit how much space a user can use on a partition. This ensures that no one is hogging up all the hard drive space.

Creating disk quota in Windows is easier than you think. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before enabling and using the feature.

1. You can only create quotas for individual partitions/volumes and users. You cannot create disk quota for folders or the entire computer.

2. If a user already has files in the volume for which you are trying to create the disk quota, their quota will be disabled until Windows scans and updates the storage usage for each user. Typically, Windows scans the system and updates the storage usage every hour.

1. To start, right-click on the partition or drive where you want to create the disk quota and select “Properties.”

2. In the Properties window, navigate to the “Quota” tab and click the button “Show Quota Settings.” This is where you can create and manage disk quotas.

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3. Select the checkbox “Enable quota management” to see the additional settings.

4. Now, if you are looking to set an overall limit to the entire partition or volume, select the radio option “Limit disk space to” and enter the storage limit for all users on this particular volume. You can also set the warning level in the next field. For instance, I configured the quota settings to 50GB for all users and to show a warning when they reach the 40GB limit.

5. If you want this to be a hard limit, such as if you want Windows to deny any more space once the limit is reached, then select the checkbox “Deny disk space to users exceeding quota limit.” You can also enable the logging options by selecting the checkbox under the “Select the quota logging options for this volume.” Once you are done with the settings, click the OK button to save the changes.

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1. Alternatively, if you just want to set the storage limit for a particular user, click on the “Quota Entries” button.

2. In the Quota Entries window, select the “New Quota Entry” option from the Quota menu.

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3. Enter the user name and click on the “Check Names” button to auto-complete the proper user object name. After that, click on the “OK” button to confirm the user name.

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4. In the next window select the radio option “Limit disk space to,” enter the storage limit for this particular user, enter the warning level and click on the “OK” button to save the changes.

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Before you remove the storage limit on a user, I recommend that you first move the data of that user to another folder or drive to avoid any data loss. Once you’ve done that, you can safely remove the per-user storage quota limit.

1. To remove the limit, open the Quota Entries window, right-click on the user and select the option “Delete.”

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2. If the target user account still has files and folders in that particular partition, Windows will show you a list of all those files and folders. Before deleting the quota limit, you can either delete or take ownership of those files and folders. I recommend you take ownership so that you can manually pick and choose what files and folders to keep at your leisure. To take ownership, select all the files and folders from the list and click on the “Take Ownership” button.

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3. Once you’ve done that, you will no longer see any files or folders in the list. At this point, click on the “Close” button and you are done removing the user storage limit.

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Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above method to set disk quota limits in Windows.

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