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"Quotaless quotas" in Windows 2000

By Rick Cook

Quotas for user storage are one of the new features in NTFS 5.0 for Windows 2000. While quotas are an important tool for managing storage capacity, they can also be a source of contention since users often do not like the limits. For this and other reasons it is a good idea to determine usage patterns in storage before setting quotas.

Windows 2000 provides a way to do this in its quota management feature. First, you must enable quota tracking. This option is off by default. Here are the instructions to enable quota tracking:

1. Open the My Computer icon on your desktop, right-click on the disk volume you want to work on, then click on Properties. (If you are on a network and want to set quotas for a shared volume, make sure that you are set up as an Administrator on the network with access to that volume.)

2. In the Properties box, click on the Quota tab and check the "enable quota management" option. (If you do not see a Quota tab, check the disk volume in question to make sure that it has NTFS installed on it.)

3. Make sure that the following buttons are already on: "do not limit disk usage" and "log event when user exceeds the warning level." If not, turn them on.

4. Select OK to save the changes and close the window.

The Quota Manager will keep a file of disk usage, showing when a user is using more disk space than has been allotted. With this information, you can decide what constitutes an appropriate storage quota for each user and show users how their usage pattern differs from other users.

This can make it much easier to get users to comply with storage limits, and often you can avoid ever turning on the storage limit feature.

Additional resources:

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.

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