Maintaining Your Disk Quota

Most CIMS accounts are assigned a disk quota which you can not exceed, or access to your account may be temporarily discontinued. This page describes how to check your quota, how to find files that may be taking too much space, and several methods for keeping your account below quota.

Available File Systems

Home Directory:

The default file system where user files reside is called your home directory and is located in /home/USERNAME (where USERNAME is your account username) on the Linux/Solaris systems and Z: on windows. Files stored here will be available on any system you log in to.

Data Directory:

Data directories are located in /data/USERNAME (where USERNAME is your account username). Users that generate a lot of run-time data can request a data directory be created for them. Data directories are not quite as fast as home directories and are only backed up on a nightly basis without any incremental backups. This means that if you chances of retrieving a deleted file or reverting to an earlier version are slim. This data store is generally good for data that you might generate when running programs.

Scratch Directories:

Users may also have access to a local /scratch and/or remove /scratch[1-9] file systems where they can store data that is not backed up. In the event of a disk failure, any data stored here will be lost. Store things here that are easily replaced or that you won't mind loosing in the event of a hardware failure.

Checking your Quota

By typing the command:


you will see a report of your disk quota.

Summary of File Sizes

In the event that you have exceeded, or will soon exceed, your disk quota, you may want to know which directories or files are utilitizing a great amount of space. Variations on the command du will give you this information. For example, if you type:

du -s *

This will show you a list of files and directories and their sizes (subdirectories included ). An execution of this command:

du -s .??*

will do the same with hidden or "dot" files. To combine both these commands, execute:

du -s {.??*,*}

Now you will be able to see files sizes. You may need to navigate subdirectories to find those that are holding large files.

Quota Maintenance Solutions

Several methods for keeping your quota at an acceptable level:

  • Clear Browser Cache Files

    Many browsers will keep cache files on temporary folders in your account. Clearing these unneccessary files will help keep your disk usage low. You can clear cache files in one of two ways:

    1. From the Browser

      In Internet Explorer, simply click on Tools -> Internet Options. A dialog box will open up, if you click on Delete Files, the browser will clear your cache files for you.

      In Netscape Navigator, go to Edit -> Preferences. In the dialog box that opens up, there will be a menu along the left side. Click the Advanced tab, and choose the sidebar option that says Cache. In the main content pane, you will then see a button called Clear Cache, pressing this will clear your cache files.

    2. Manual Deletion

      You can find Cache directories that reside in your disk space by typing the command:

      find ./ -name Cache -print

      Be aware that this may display some directories that are not related to your web browser. You can look at the path that is displayed for each directory to determine this. Explorer cache files will probably be under your .ntprofile directory, while Netscape and Mozilla will probably be under the .mozilla directory. Once you know where these directories reside, you can then remove the contents of these directories.

  • Clear Mail Folders

    In certain cases, your mail client may save old or sent messages in a folder in your disk space. You can use the du command specified above to determine if your mail client is storing large files on disk. If you find any of these files unnecessary, removing them may help to keep your disk space lower.

  • Archive Directories and Files

    • Gzip

      The gzip utility will replace a specified file or directory with a compressed version. Simply type:

      gzip -f filename

      And this will replace the file with a compressed version. You can also type the following:

      gzip -fr *

      This command will compress all the files in your current directory, and it will recursively descend into child directories and compress all files contained therein. The gunzip command can be used to decompress gzipped files.

    • Tar

      Tar is a utility that allows you to combine a number of files under one file name. This makes it easy for you to mail, gzip, or tranfer them to a different location where they can be extracted. Simply type:

      tar cvfp newtarfilename.tar ./somedirectory

      This will archive all the files in your current directory under one file. You can then compress using gzip if you wish, and mail or transfer this file elsewhere. Note that it is a good idea to give a relative pathname when specifying a directory to .tar, that way they can be extracted later in any directory. You can also give this command a list of filenames instead of a directory name.

  • Write Files to a CD

    Another option is to write out some of your old files which you wish to keep to a CD. Some of the computers in the labs have read/write drives available. Account users are welcome to use these.

  • File Transfer

    An easy way to transfer files from your CIMS account is through FTP or winscp. If your computer at home is set up as a server and can accept FTP connections, you can easily transfer your files to your computer at home. Winscp is a free computer you can use from home that supports secure connections from home to CIMS servers and has GUI interface for transferring files.

  • Request a Quota Increase

    If none of the options above are an adequate solution you can request a data directory or request quota increase.

Windows Quota Issues

When using Windows in the public labs, your account will be mounted and will appear as the "z:" drive on the Windows machine. When you log in and out, your profile, desktop, etc. information will be loaded and saved to your CIMS home account. Even if you exceed your quota at this time, you will still be allowed to log in and out. If your limit is exceeded at the time of log out, however, you will receive a few warnings and some of your temp files may not be transferred.