Managing Your Email Quota
Computer accounts at USC have email quotas to limit the amount of space that messages--including attachments--can take on ITS email servers. When a user's account usage approaches or passes 90% of the alloted disk quota, the user will receive a warning message from the system (this will not be an email message).
As a general rule, you should not wait to receive a notice before you start to monitor the volume of your email. Certain factors may preclude warning messages from being noticed. ITS encourages users to be proactive about staying within the allowed limits.
Frequently Asked Questions about Email Quotas
What are the current email quota limits?
How can I find out how much of my email quota I'm using?
What do I do when I have reached or passed 90% of my email quota?
What do I do when I have reached the limit of my email quota?
What if I need an increase in my email quota?
USC student accounts have a default email quota of 75 MB (megabytes). USC faculty and staff accounts have a default email quota of 4 GB (gigabytes). Your email quota includes the space taken by messages in your Inbox and Trash folders, as well as any messages in IMAP folders that you have created.
You can see a breakdown of your current usage by clicking the Folder tab in the USC Web Mail client. This will display the current number of messages in and total space used by each folder, including the Inbox. The bottom row displays the total for all folders, with your total email space usage in the bottom-right cell. You can find your current email quota by clicking the Options tab. Both your quota and usage will be displayed.
Note: The web client divides your email quota by 1.024 to get the number displayed on the screen. For example, for most student users, the web client will report a quota of 73 MB, when it actually is 75 MB.
Users will sometimes receive a notice from the system after checking their mail, advising them that they are at a certain percentage of their email quota. Typically, this notice is displayed through the email client, sometimes as an error message.
If you are approaching 90% of your mail quota, you should begin to consider removing old messages or those already marked for deletion, removing messages with large attachments, and archiving messages you wish to keep.
Removing Messages Already Marked for Deletion
Many users with IMAP accounts do not realize that the process of deleting messages from IMAP accounts is a two-step process. As a result, users frequently only complete the first step, leaving copies of the message on the email server.
As a first step, a user must mark a message for deletion. Messages marked for deletion in IMAP accounts usually appear in the email client, or program, with a strikeout line through them. Alternately, they may be marked with a "D" (as in Pine), or may be moved to an IMAP Trash folder. The second step is for the user to actively expunge the email message from the system, after she or he has marked it for deletion. Most email programs have an Expunge, Purge Deleted Messages, or Empty Trash button or menu option to remove deleted messages from an IMAP Trash folder. Please see the documentation on the email client you are using for more information on this deletion process.
Removing Messages with Large Attachments
Message attachments (in both your Inbox and Sent-Mail folders) count toward your mail quota. To free up space on your account, save large attachments to your local machine or your UNIX home directory, and then delete these messages from the email server. Typically, multimedia files, word processing documents, file archives, and PDFs are large in size.
Archiving Messages You Want to Keep
Because IMAP folders count towards your overall mail quota, you may need to archive your messages on your local machine or home directory. Simply moving a message from one folder to another within the same account will not decrease your usage.
Pine users can either export messages to a file in their home directory, or create local mail folders (contrary to folders stored on the mailstore). For instructions, see the Local Folders page in the Pine documentation section.
Creating local folders in other email clients (ie., Outlook, Eudora, etc.) generally requires users to create a POP folder under Local Folders rather than the IMAP account itself. Downloaded IMAP messages can usually be copied or dragged into the local folder, creating a copy of the message on your machine.
Note: Users should verify that they have copied the entire IMAP message to a local folder before deleting it from the server. IMAP accounts are often configured to download only message headers, and users must select the message in order for the contents to be downloaded from the server.If you are not sure whether you have downloaded the entire message into a local folder, take your computer off-line and try to view the message in the local folder you created.
Many mail clients may offer an ability to create archives or export text digests of your messages for storage purposes. Check the Help feature of your client for instructions on creating such archives.
If you have reached the limit on your email quota, mail sent to you will be rejected by the system, and a notice will be sent to the sender. Mail is not stored until you fall back below quota; it is important to stay below your quota in order to help ensure uninterrupted email access.
You must delete messages to fall back below your quota. For greater efficiency, you should begin by deleting large messages (look for folders that are much larger than others) and old folders using the USC WebMail client. You will receive messages again once your usage is low enough to store new incoming messages.
If you receive a message saying that your mail was compressed and moved, you should follow the steps in the email for uncompressing your mail and moving it to the mail subdirectory. (UNIX users can edit their .pinerc as above, changing the folder-collections property, to be able to view the uncompressed folder within Pine.)
If you need an increase in your email quota, you will need to place a request with your department's Authorized Signer. Only Authorized Signers are able to make such requests. Please be prepared to justify the need for a quota increase.
Getting Additional Help
For questions or help, please contact the ITS Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555, or send an email to email@example.com.