We have enabled Time Machine on a Mac OS X server (10.6) with a big RAID drive. The server will be used by many users for their backup. How can we set quota so that every Time Machine backup takes up a limited amount of disk space?

We tried setting quota on the server with edquota but Time Machine on the client still displays all free space on the volume as "free" regardless of quota. Backup just fails on the client with a small message in the log file when quota is reached.

We also tried to set a fixed maximum size on the sparse disk image that TimeMachine uses but it gets reset to infinite size on every backup.

We don't want to partition and share the disk with one partition per user as that would mean hundreds of partitions (how many does OS X support? :-)

Any ideas?

  • By now we have changed to using Linux with netatalk 2.2 (netatalk.sf.net) on the server. netatalk 2.2 has a volsizelimit option specifically for fooling Time Machine.
    – robcast
    Apr 16, 2012 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Looks like you're trying all the right things. I do this with a Drobo for a small number of Macs now. I have a 2TB volume, but I don't want that to fill up with old TM backups so I just use the sparseimage trick and it works great.

It is unclear why this is getting reset for you. Perhaps you should try this again.

I found these instructions useful: http://www.somelifeblog.com/2009/02/fixed-time-machine-backup-to-network.html

  • 1
    Thanks for the heads up. I'll try again with the instructions you mentioned and report back.
    – robcast
    Sep 13, 2010 at 9:20
  • It seems Apple changed the behavior in 10.6.3: it always resizes the sparseimage but you can try to interfere by locking the Info-files (hintsforums.macworld.com/archive/index.php/t-110709.html)
    – robcast
    Apr 16, 2012 at 17:45
  • I'm using 10.7.3 and I don't see that behaviour. However, I also didn't see this behaviour under Snow Leopard (10.6).
    – mkoistinen
    Apr 16, 2012 at 20:32

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