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Disk quotas

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Quotas explained

A "disk quota" is a maximum limit on the amount of disk space which can be used. Many accounts have a disk quota on their home directory. (Yes scholars, it should strictly be a "quotum" since "quota" is the plural, but let's just use the normal terminology.)

How do I check my quota?

All home directories are on AFS. Use either of the following commands to check your current quota:

fs lq -human

Dynamic AFS quotas explains the difference between the current quota and the maximum quota.

How big is my disk quota?

Home Directory

  • UG1/UG2 – 4GB
  • UG3/UG4/PGT – 10GB
  • Staff/PGR – 10GB

These are "maximum quota" figures. Since we are running with dynamic quotas your current quota may actually be less. However it will automatically increase as your disk usage increases.

Web homepages

  • UG/PGT – 5MB
  • PGR – 20MB
  • Staff - 50MB

Web homepages use the NFS filesystem. Use the following command to check your web quota:

quota -v

How can I get my quota increased?

Staff and research postgrads: if you require more quota, contact support with an estimate of how much space you require.

Fourth Year Undergrads and MSc students: we will only increase your disk quota if you need more space for your project. Please ask your project supervisor to contact support with an estimate of how much space you require.

Please note that we do not increase quota to accommodate coursework. The disk quotas required for coursework are agreed with teaching staff before the start of the academic year.

I am locked out of my account as I am over quota.

You will need to delete a large file/folder that you no longer require in order to free up some space, for example empty your Downloads folder. There are different ways to manipulate your homedir files:

Web-based file manager
If you have web access from another device, log into

Command Line method
You can login to a DICE machine in the student labs without using the graphical interface. Type "Ctrl,Alt and F2" to get a text login prompt. This lets you view and manipulate your files via command line.

When you have finished deleting files, logout and return to your window manager login by typing "Ctrl, Alt and F1".

I'm over my disk quota. What can I do about this without deleting important files?

Don't worry; there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the amount of disk space you use, without having to delete things you need.

First of all, empty your Desktop Wastebasket, and your Downloads folder.

Browser cache directories can grow large. To empty Firefox cache, go to Edit -> Preferences -> clear your recent history; Time Range to Clear:Everything, tick Cache and click Clear Now. Similar process for Chrome.

A useful command to see your disk usage is du - type:

man du

for the options available. The most useful command to show how much disk space your hidden dotfiles are using is:

du -sh .[a-z]* |sort -n

To see the same list of files sorted strictly in order of size, type:

du -s .[a-z]* |sort -n 

To see the size of each and every file in your home directory type:

du -h|more

and press return or space bar to scroll down, 'q' to quit.

You can ignore everything under ~/Yesterday as this does not count towards your quota - this directory is a backup where you can retrieve a file from the day before if you find you have accidentally deleted something.

Finally, go to each of your practicals directories in turn, and tidy up a bit. Delete files whose names end in the ~ character. Those are extra backup copies made automatically when you edit a file. Delete files with names ending in .class - those can be re-made from the .java files later. Do file * on the files that remain. This tells you what each file does. You can probably delete files marked as "executable" files, because these can also be re-made later on if you want to, just by compiling the practical again.

Finally, type:

gzip *

This compresses the files which are left so that they take up less space. When you next want to use the files you'll first need to uncompress them again using:


Remember you can check how much quota you are using:

fs lq -human
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