Windows Server Disk Quota – Troubleshooting


Disk quotas come in handy and allow system administrators to equitably distribute disk space among multiple users in shared servers or PCs. This avoids a situation where a careless user ends up filling the entire hard drive and wreaking havoc in the system. However, quotas do not always work as intended.

As easy as it may seem in setting up disk quotas, sometimes things may go a bit askew. Occasionally, users can get allocated a volume of disk space which is less than what was specified in the settings. This usually happens when the server runs out of space. However, there are situations where you may get the impression that they have received less hard drive space than what was configured. The reason behind this is the misconception that shrouds the meaning of quota allocation when it comes to a user’s files. What users do not realize is that quotas take into account all files that are owned by a user. And this includes files in the recycle bin. This is true especially if disk quotas are implemented on local PCs. Since the recycle bin resides on the PC, this is scenario or discrepancy is most likely to occur.

Another unusual thing that may arise is the unavailability of space despite a user relinquishing the ownership of their files. A user may create a file, change its ownership but still, the file will be counted in the quota.

Another confusing scenario is the use of compressed folders. Windows looks at compressed folders not in their compressed size, but rather, in their original size. This means that quotas look at compressed files in their original uncompressed format, not according to the current size they occupy on the hard drive in their compressed format.

Sometimes, when the disk space limit is exceeded, the user may realize that deleting files in the volume may not free up space as expected. This occurrence has been noted in Windows Server 2008 R2. This happens due to incorrect filling of the file content structure when the deletion happens.

As a solution to this issue, Microsoft released a hotfix which can be downloaded from their official site via this link

Once you apply the hotfix, run the command below

dirquota quota scan /path: d:\users\scratch

For instance, the above command will apply on scratch folder located in users directory.

After running the command, reboot the system to effect the hotfix settings.

This occurs because the file context structure is not filled in correctly when you delete the files.

In case a user is using a system whose hard drive is formatted using FAT or FAT-32 filesystem, they’ll be required to format it to NTFS filesystem since NTFS filesystem is the only filesystem that acknowledges the concept of quotas as well as file ownership. This compels the system administrator to first perform a file backup of the files contained in the FAT & FAT-32 partitions and later format the volumes to NTFS filesystem. This can be quite tedious and cumbersome. It’s therefore important to ensure all volumes are formatted in NTFS filesystem if you are planning to have several users using or backing up data in the system. This is because disk quotas only work with NTFS volumes only.

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