File Size Limit in /var/spool/mail

Robin Laing Robin.Laing at
Wed Dec 14 15:56:13 UTC 2005

Christofer C. Bell wrote:
> On 12/13/05, Manish Kathuria <manish at> wrote:
>>Is there any limit on the size of the mail spool files in the spool
>>directory /var/spool/mail ? I have a user whose mail file is above 2 GB
>>and procmail cant write any further mails there ? AFAIK, the file size
>>limits are pretty high and in TB now.
> 2GB is the maximum filesize and it's due to limitations in the
> operating system's filesystem driver, not any kind of quota.  There
> may be other filesystem options for Linux or options you can feed
> mke3fs that will allow larger files (like enabling "largefiles" on
> vxfs) but I'm not sure what they are.  Anyway, as for your user's
> email, there is nothing that can be done other than deleting some of
> the mail there to make room for more.
> If you want, you can backup the partition that the data is on, create
> a filesystem there that's capable of supporting files larger than 2GB,
> and then restoring the data.  Keep in mind that filesystems that
> support larger files generally have less space available due to the
> filesytem accounting information necessary to support the larger files
> (which is handled much like segment + offset memory in the old DOS PC
> days).
> Best of luck!


Can you explain then how I can have a 4.7 gig iso image on my HD?  Or 
is this a limitation on how big a file that Linux can work with?


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