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Chapter 10. Disk Quotas

Table of Contents
10.1. Configuring Your System to Enable Disk Quotas
10.2. Setting Quota Limits
10.3. Checking Quota Limits and Disk Usage
10.4. * Quotas over NFS

Contributed by Mike Pritchard . 26 February 1996

Quotas are an optional feature of the operating system that allow you to limit the amount of disk space and/or the number of files a user, or members of a group, may allocate on a per-file system basis. This is used most often on timesharing systems where it is desirable to limit the amount of resources any one user or group of users may allocate. This will prevent one user from consuming all of the available disk space.

10.1. Configuring Your System to Enable Disk Quotas

Before attempting to use disk quotas it is necessary to make sure that quotas are configured in your kernel. This is done by adding the following line to your kernel configuration file:

    options QUOTA

The stock GENERIC kernel does not have this enabled by default, so you will have to configure, build and install a custom kernel in order to use disk quotas. Please refer to the Configuring the FreeBSD Kernel section for more information on kernel configuration.

Next you will need to enable disk quotas in /etc/rc.conf. This is done by adding the line:


For finer control over your quota startup, there is an additional configuration variable available. Normally on bootup, the quota integrity of each file system is checked by the quotacheck program. The quotacheck facility insures that the data in the quota database properly reflects the data on the file system. This is a very time consuming process that will significantly affect the time your system takes to boot. If you would like to skip this step, a variable is made available for the purpose:


If you are running FreeBSD prior to 3.2-RELEASE, the configuration is simpler, and consists of only one variable. Set the following in your /etc/rc.conf:


Finally you will need to edit /etc/fstab to enable disk quotas on a per-file system basis. This is where you can either enable user or group quotas or both for all of your file systems.

To enable per-user quotas on a file system, add the userquota option to the options field in the /etc/fstab entry for the file system you want to to enable quotas on. For example:

    /dev/da1s2g   /home    ufs rw,userquota 1 2

Similarly, to enable group quotas, use the groupquota option instead of the userquota keyword. To enable both user and group quotas, change the entry as follows:

    /dev/da1s2g    /home    ufs rw,userquota,groupquota 1 2

By default the quota files are stored in the root directory of the file system with the names quota.user and quota.group for user and group quotas respectively. See man fstab for more information. Even though that man page says that you can specify an alternate location for the quota files, this is not recommended since all of the various quota utilities do not seem to handle this properly.

At this point you should reboot your system with your new kernel. /etc/rc will automatically run the appropriate commands to create the initial quota files for all of the quotas you enabled in /etc/fstab, so there is no need to manually create any zero length quota files.

In the normal course of operations you should not be required to run the quotacheck, quotaon, or quotaoff commands manually. However, you may want to read their man pages just to be familiar with their operation.