Skip to content Skip to navigation

How to Get More Storage Space


Disk space is online storage space. Stanford students, faculty, and staff are provided a variety of online storage options for their computer files. The information below gives you a quick description of AFS disk space, email disk space, research disk space, and other storage options at Stanford. There are links to the details on each of these storage systems.

Files are stored in AFS (Andrew File System). In AFS, your storage space works like the hard disk in your Mac or PC. You can store your computer files on AFS storage space but, instead of being inside your desktop computer, the files are stored in large computers (servers) across campus. There are many servers that effectively create one large storage system shared by thousands of users. You don't have to be sitting at your Mac or PC to access your AFS disk space; you can access it from almost any computer.

AFS disk space

All users with a full service SUNet ID get 5 GB of AFS disk space for storing web pages, text files, computer programs, and other forms of electronic information. This space is also referred to as "disk quota" or sometimes just "quota." This space can fill up fast depending on how you use it. It's important to monitor your disk space.

Personal AFS disk space

To check your personal AFS and email quota at the same time, log into a shared Stanford UNIX workstation and, at the command prompt, type:


Certain types of academic coursework requires extra disk space. Course instructors determine if an increase in disk quote is warranted. If you are granted a quota increase, when you finish the course your quota will drop to its previous level. These changes in disk space are reflected in your quota summary when you check quota online.

Students doing academic research projects can also be sponsored for more disk quota by the researcher or instructor for whom they're doing the work. If you feel that you qualify for more disk quota, you can fill out an AFS Space Request form.

To request more personal AFS disk space for other reasons, use the AFS Space Request form.

Group/Department disk space

AFS file space can be requested for groups that want a common place to store shared files. The guide lines for requesting group space is described on the Group Request page. The form for requesting group AFS space is at the bottom of the page.

To check your group or department AFS quota, log into a shared computer with AFS installed and use the command "fs listquota" command.  For example:

fs listquota /afs/ir/group/somegroup

To request more group or department AFS disk space send a request to HelpSU detailing how much additional space you need and why you need it.

Research disk space

Researchers often have large data sets that must be stored.  Researchers with large storage needs can obtain extra disk space from IT Services.  This space is not part of the main AFS system, but it is also easily accessed.  It is only available to Stanford faculty or students doing academic or non-sponsored research.  As you might imagine, this disk space is very popular, so be sure to request and reserve it before it is required.  To learn more, go to the Research Disk Space Request page.

 If you need large amounts of disk space for academic or unsponsored research, use the Research Disk Space Request form

Cleaning out your disk space

The time will come when you must clean out files you don't need now, but may need later.  For most people, this happens when they're about to leave Stanford.  There is no need to print out email or other documents.  The Information for Graduating Students  page has details on how to disconnect services and archive/store email and other files.

Email disk space

Generally speaking email does not consume AFS disk space.  There are times when it does which are described below.  A full service SUNet ID comes with 5 GB of email storage (faculty receive 20 GB; sponsored SUNet IDs receive 3 GB) in addition to the 5 GB of AFS storage space.

Email clients that download messages on the local disk using POP (PostOffice Protocol) and delete mail as it is down loaded will consume very little storage on the central email server. It is unlikely that exceeding message quota will ever be an issue for POP user agents unless the POP client is configured to to "Leave Mail on Server." Email downloaded to a computer is available only on that computer. POP email users that download their messages to AFS file space can access their email from anywhere, but are subject to the AFS disk quota restrictions.

Webmail and IMAP users messages are stored on the central email server. The central UNIX timeshare systems have the email user agents Apline and Mutt configured to use IMAP by default. Since the email is stored on the centrail email servers it can be accessed from anywhere, but are subject to the message space limits described above.

If the email quota is exceeded then the account will stop receiving new mail until either the quota is increased or the number of messages store is decreased. To view the email quota go to the Stanford Email and Calendar web client and hover the cursor the account owner's name in the upper right corner. The current quota usage is displayed in megabytes and by percentage.

To request more email space:

  1. See how much it costs: go to the Sponsorship page and click on "Additional email quota."
  2. Find a sponsor—an instructor or department administrator—who agrees that you need more email disk space and is willing to pay the cost.
Last modified August 7, 2014