How to fix storage quota registry entry tattooing in Windows

Storage quotas can be a boon for managing available storage pools. But if the registry entries become corrupt and tattoo the system, they can render a computer unusable.



During a recent visit to a client's office, a curious issue was brought to my attention by the onsite admin regarding a growing number of users who were seemingly prevented from saving documents to their computers. They would log in just fine, but then a small alert would appear stating they had exceeded their profile size. The computer operated normally and their files were accessible. However, when they attempted to modify a document or computer setting, the error message would appear again.

Needless to say, this issue was driving the staff nuts but not more so than the system admin, since they were not using any form of storage quotas at all. The issue--identified later as a result to an update that didn't quite install correctly--needed a quick solution. Production had come to halt for a quarter of the employees.

Here's a solution that works for standalone systems and one for those that are connected to the company's network .

Local solution

On an unaffected computer, open Notepad and enter the information shown in Figure A.

Figure A


Next, save the file, making sure it is saved with an REG extension instead of TXT. Once the file is saved, simply copy it to removable media or another distributable form, such as email. Users and/or IT staff should be instructed to double-click the file to import the registry settings into the live registry. This will overwrite the existing settings for the locally logged-on user only, to effectively remove any trace of registry tattooing for the storage quota entries. A quick reboot of the system will restore the end-user's profile back to normal once again.

SEE: Power checklist: Managing and troubleshooting servers (Tech Pro Research)

Network solution

For our network solution, start by launching Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) on an administrator's computer. Scroll down to an existing Group Policy Object (GPO) or create a new policy and edit the settings. Then, in the Computer Configuration portion of the policy, expand to reveal Preferences | Windows Settings (Figure B).

Figure B


Now right-click Registry and select New | Registry Item. In the properties box of the new registry item, change the Action: setting to Delete from the drop-down menu. Also, modify the Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Click on the "..." button to search for the Key Path (Figure C).


Figure C


For the Value Name, type EnableProfileQuota. When you're finished, click OK to apply the settings and close the properties window (Figure D).

Figure D


The entry should now appear in the list of registry items in the policy under the GMPC. Repeat the process until a registry item exists for each of the six values listed Figure A. Figure E shows the results.


After all entries have been added to the GPMC policy, each desktop should be rebooted to ensure that the policies will be picked up accordingly. By default, Microsoft stipulates that there is a 30-minute delay between the processing of group policies in the background and when they were created. This depends on several factors, including how GPMC is set to process background changes, network congestion, and local resource usage.

To force an immediate update of the policies, simply enter the following command locally at the computer or across the network for instant results:

gpupdate /force /boot

Tips and tricks?

Have you encountered a similar issue with Windows? If you'd like to share your story or provide useful tips that helped to resolve the issue, please submit your comments below.

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By Jesus Vigo

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...