Fix Quota Problem on Student Lab Account


If you are close to your allocated quota, you may be receiving a "disk quota exceeded" warning when trying to save files on your lab account.  If you are over your allocated quota, you will not be be able to log into lab machines even through you are able to access other student applications such as email and Canvas. 

Some file systems support "soft" quotas. When you go over the soft quota, you are given a warning, but the operation still finishes writing properly. If your usage remains above the soft quota for too long, the grace period time limit will expire and your account will not be able to store files properly.


Quotas are limits on individual file storage, designed to ensure that sufficient resources remain available to everyone. Every location where you can store files may have a separate size limit. For example, because you have different quota limits for your email inbox than you do for your Documents, if you have too many files in your My Documents folder on a lab computer, you will still be able to receive email.  Most quota problems on student lab accounts are caused by an abundance of large files (e.g. old course assignments, large projects) or too many files (e.g. many web browser cache files).



Check quota

Use a program such as SSH to login to your account to run Unix commands. Enter the "quota" command at prompt - this will show how much of your quotas you have used.

quota -v

If you want to know which filesystem your home directory is on, enter the "pwd" command.


If you see that the quota and the limit are the same, then this filesystem does not support the "soft" quota feature that gives you warnings before you actually hit the hard limit.


Find and remove expendable files

Use the "du -sh" command to obtain a report of the space used in a specific directory

du -sh <directory name>

If you are familiar with shell job control commands you can suspend the VI session, remove files to make space, resume the VI session and save your work.


Remove files

Remember that the directory must be empty for the rmdir command to work

rm <file name>
rmdir <directory name>

If you would like more options, enter into the prompt:

man rm

If you still have questions or need additional assistance, please submit a ticket or call the ITS Service Desk at (858) 246-4357