Managing Windows Server 2008 Disk Quotas

Disk quotas were originally introduced in Windows 2000, but have improved in each subsequent version of Windows. Of course these constant improvements mean that the way that this quotas are implemented have changed from one version of Windows to the next. In this article, I will show you how disk quota management works in Windows Server 2008.

Installing the File Server Resource Manager

Before you can manage the disk quotas for a server, you will have to install the File Server role, and the File Server Resource Manager. To install the File Server role, open the Server Manager, right click on the Roles container, and then choose the Add Roles container from the resulting shortcut menu. Follow the prompts to install the File Server role.

After the file server role is installed, you will have to install the File Server Resource Manager. To do so, open the Server Manager, and then select the Features container. Next, click the Add Features link, found in the console’s Details pane.  When you do, Windows will display a series of check boxes corresponding to the various server features. You won’t immediately see the File Server Resource Manager on the list, but you can find it by expanding the following options: Remote Server Administration Tools | Role Administration Tools | File Services Tools | File Server Resource Manager Tools. Select the File Server Resource Manager Tools check box, and then click the Install button.

Quota Templates

Now that the File System Resource Manager is installed, I want to show you how quota templates work. Quota templates are designed to make the process of creating quotas easier. The basic idea behind these templates is that they allow you to develop a model for setting quotas. Once you have constructed a template, you can use that template as a way of applying a quota to the various folders on your server. Windows Server 2008 ships with half a dozen predefined templates, but you’ve always got the option of creating your own.

To access the quota templates, open the File Server Resource Manager and navigate through the console tree to File Server Resource Manager | Quota Management | Quota Templates. Upon doing so, the details pane will show you the predefined templates.

The Anatomy of a Quota Template

To see what a quota template is made of, right-click on the quota template and choose the Edit Template Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, you will see a dialog box similar to the one that is shown in Figure A.

managing windows server 2008 disk quotas 1

Figure A You can define template settings through the quota templates.

As you can see in the figure, the first thing that you will have to enter is a template name. Generally, you will want to use a descriptive name just as Microsoft has for the built-in templates. Just beneath the Template Name field is a field where you can enter an optional label. This field just gives you extra space for entering a description of the template.

The next section of the dialog box allows you to define the space limit that is associated with the quota. When you define the space limit, you must also tell Windows whether the template will define a hard quota or a soft quota. A hard quota is a quota that users are not allowed to exceed. A soft quota is generally used for monitoring purposes and is not actually enforced.

If you were thinking about implementing quotas in your organization, then I would recommend starting out with soft quotas. This gives you a chance to test all of your quotas without actually impacting the end users. Once you are confident that the quotas work the way that you think they should, you can make the switch to hard quotas.

The last section in this dialog box allows you to control what happens at various threshold levels. In this particular case, an e-mail warning is generated when a user has used 80% of their allotted disk space. When the closure eventually met, an e-mail message is sent to the user, and an event log entry is also generated. Since the dialog box shown in Figure A applies to a soft quotas, we also have a warning that is generated when a user exceeds 120% of their allotted disk space. Once again, Windows sends an e-mail message and generates an event log entry. If you look closely at the dialog box though, you will notice that we also have the option of executing a command or of generating a report.


In this article, I have shown you how quota templates work. In part two, I will conclude the series by showing you how to actually implement a quota.

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