HowTo limit Hard Drive Space in Windows for a specific User

You may share your PC/Laptop with your family and want to ensure that this person doesn’t waste all the hard drive space, the solution here is simple you can work with Windows own Disk Quota feature, the benefit is that you won’t need any third-party tool. There are a few things you need to keep in mind before enabling and using the feature.

HDD

  • We re starting by with a right-click on the partition or drive where you want to create the disk quota and then we’re going to select Properties.
  • 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. The option needs administrative privileges in order to prevent changes from not authorized users.
quota-settings
Our test drive is F: the Properties dialog reveals several tabs, one of them is ‘Quota’.
  • Select the checkbox Enable quota management in order to see the additional settings.
  • 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 50 GB for all users and to show a warning when they reach the 40 GB limit. Of course you can type in whatever you want.
  • 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 simply check 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.

volume-quota-limit

This method works on a global basis for everyone but you might want to do this for only one person, so the following steps are the ones you’re looking for.

Quota Entries

Quota entries

    • The Quota entries button gives us the ability to create new restriction based on the Windows permission level.
  • In the Quota Entries window, select the New Quota Entry option from within the Quota menu.
  • 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. If you’re not sure, Windows also can search for all accounts and lists them, so you can double-click on it to ensure the correct account was selected.
  • 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.

Quota limit

That’s basically it. You limited the storage space.

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. This is not really needed but data loss can be problematically if you don’t have any backups.

Remove quota limit

In the case that 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.

 

Remove the limit and it's files

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.

Notice: Keep in mind that this feature has a small impact in the I/O performance since it constantly monitors/regulates the HDD storage. On a SSD it’s not really noticeable but on a older HDD you might see that you apps are slower opening than usual, that’s normal.

This tip works across all Windows operating systems from Windows 7 up to Windows 10.

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