Disk quota

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From Wikipedia:

"A disk quota is a limit set by a system administrator that restricts certain aspects of file system usage on modern operating systems. The function of setting quotas to disks is to allocate limited disk-space in a reasonable way."

This article covers the installation and setup of disk quota.


Install the quota-tools package.


First, edit /etc/fstab to enable the quota mount option(s) on selected file systems. For example, edit an entry

/dev/sda1 /home ext4 defaults 1 1

as follows:

/dev/sda1 /home ext4 defaults,usrquota 1 1

or, to additionally enable the group quota mount option:

/dev/sda1 /home ext4 defaults,usrquota,grpquota 1 1
Note: These quota options are possibly obsolete. See #Journaled quota.

After adding the options remount

 # mount -vo remount /home

and create the quota index:

 # quotacheck -vgum /home

If you added quota options for more partitions, you may also use quotacheck -vguma as root.


If the command returns with

  • [...]Quotafile $FILE was probably truncated. Cannot save quota settings..., you can try removing the previously created files aquota*.
  • quotacheck: Mountpoint (or device) /home not found or has no quota enabled. quotacheck: Cannot find filesystem to check or filesystem not mounted with quota option. and you are using a custom kernel, make sure quota support is enabled in your kernel.

If it continues to throw an error, you can additionally try to use options "-F vfsold or -F vfsv0 afterwards. Note that as of kernel 3.1.6-1, Arch does not support vfsv1 anymore.

If trying to remount the filesystem returns with

  • mount: /home not mounted already, or bad option you might have enabled quotas already, run quotaoff /home as root and the remount again.

Finally, enable quotas:

# quotaon -av

After this configuration the systemd units quotaon.service and systemd-quotacheck.service will perform the disk quota check without further configuration at least each boot.[1] Both are started automatically, if /etc/fstab quota mount options are parsed.

Journaled quota

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: Section above mentions "Arch does not support vfsv1 anymore." (Discuss in Talk:Disk quota#)

Enabling journaling for disk quota adds the same benefits journalled file systems do for forced shutdowns, meaning that data is less likely to become corrupt.

Setting up journaled quota is the same as above, except for the mount options:

/dev/sda1 /home ext4 defaults,usrjquota=aquota.user,jqfmt=vfsv1 1 1

or additionally, enable the group quota mount option;

/dev/sda1 /home ext4 defaults,usrjquota=aquota.user,grpjquota=aquota.group,jqfmt=vfsv1 1 1

The vfsv1 format is necessary for supporting quotas more than 4TB. You need at least kernel 2.6.33 for quota_v2 support. If your kernel is older, you have to use vfsv0.


Tip: To find out how many 1K blocks are there for a partition use df

Replace $USER as appropriate:

# edquota $USER
Disk quotas for user $USER (uid 1000):
  Filesystem                   blocks       soft       hard     inodes     soft     hard
  /dev/sda1                      1944          0          0        120        0        0
Note: to edit group quotas, use edquota -g $GROUP.
Number of 1k blocks currently used by $USER.
Note: Block size is statically set to 1k regardless of filesystem block size. Explanation
Number of entries by $USER in directory file.
Max number of blocks/inodes $USER may have on partition before warning is issued and grace period countdown begins. If set to "0" (zero) then no limit is enforced.
Max number of blocks/inodes $USER may have on partition. If set to "0" (zero) then no limit is enforced.

Configure the soft limit grace period:

# edquota -t

Example configuration

Consider the following configuration for user1:

# edquota user1
Disk quotas for user user1 (uid 1000):
Filesystem      blocks      soft      hard      inodes      soft      hard
/dev/sda1       695879      10000     15000     6741        0         0

The soft limit means that once user1 uses over 10MB of space a warning gets issues, and after the time set by edquota -t the soft limit gets enforced.

The hard limit is stricter, so to speak; a user can never write more data once this limit is reached.

Warning: The hard limit applies to all files written by and for the respective user/group, including temporary files by started applications, which may crash at this point.
Tip: If a problem is encountered with the defined quotas, you should first try to correct them with edquota user1 from a root console. Alternatively, quotaoff -a as root disables all quotas at runtime and the quotacheck.mode=skip kernel parameter can be used at boot to temporarily disable the systemd-quotacheck.service.


Check for quota limits and advanced operations.


Use this command to check for quotas on a specific partition:

# repquota /home

Use this command to check for all quotas that apply to a user:

# quota -u $USER

for groups;

# quota -g $GROUP

Copying quota settings

To one or several users

To copy quota settings from user1 to user2, use this:

# edquota -p user1 user2

To copy quota settings to several other users, append user3, user4, and so on, to the command.

Use edquota -g -p group1 group2 ... to copy settings for groups.

To all users

The idea is to modify the quota settings for one user and copy the setting to all other users. Set the quota for user1 and apply the quota to users with a UID greater than 999.

# edquota -p user1 $(awk -F: '$3 > 999 {print $1}' /etc/passwd)

Other commands

There are several useful commands:

  • repquota -a shows the status on disk usage
  • warnquota can be used to warn the users about their quota, configuration in /etc/warnquota.conf
  • setquota is a non-interactive quota setting - useful for scripting.

Lasty, quotastats is used to give thorough information about the quota system:

$ quotastats
Number of dquot lookups: 101289
Number of dquot drops: 101271
Number of still active inodes with quota : 18
Number of dquot reads: 93
Number of dquot writes: 2077
Number of quotafile syncs: 134518740
Number of dquot cache hits: 7391
Number of allocated dquots: 90
Number of free dquots: 2036
Number of in use dquot entries (user/group): -1946

See also