By Rick Cook

You don't have to leave disk quotas enabled all the time in Windows 2000 if you just want to monitor disk usage rather than putting hard limits on it. As we pointed out in a previous Administrator tip, storage administrators often don't want to impose hard-and-fast storage quotas on users. However, having the numbers from a disk audit can make it easier to persuade users who are keeping too much in storage to mend their ways.

In the Windows 2000 documentation, Microsoft points out that enabling disk quotas increases overhead and slows server performance slightly. You can avoid the penalty by leaving the quota features disabled most of the time and only turning them on occasionally. When quotas are turned on, Windows 2000 will calculate how much disk space each user is using on that volume at that time. Once it has finished the audit, the quota feature can be turned off again.

If you want to, you can even save a copy of the information to an application like a spreadsheet.

Disk auditing is discussed in the Microsoft Windows 2000 documentation at:

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  • For information about disk auditing in general, go to the above Microsoft link and select the Index button on the screen. Then, browse through the Index topics under "Disk quota" or "Auditing disk space use".
  • For more information on producing a report, go to the above Microsoft link and select the Index button on the screen. Then, browse through the Index topics under "Disk quota reports".
  • This tip is part of a series of tips recently covering the subject of setting or defining disk quotas. To view other tips in this series, please see:,1797,474,00.html.

About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in October 2000

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