My name is Andrew Lapidas, I am a Support Engineer with the Notes Client team. Every day, we work with administrators and end users having problems. Most of the preliminary questions we ask could have been explored prior to opening a PMR, and in some cases, the problem could have even been solved without even opening a PMR! This document goes over some of the very basic things that (if I could pick) I would require be done before opening a PMR. I hope this is beneficial to all who read it, and keep in mind, everything below helps us, which in turn, helps you!
Everyone has encountered the issue where Emma the End User calls up your IT Help Desk with a problem in her Notes client. Before contacting support, you should be sure to complete the basic troubleshooting steps. Outlined below are the most basic things that should be done beforehand, to ensure that the engineer you work with can help you get your issue resolved as quickly as possible.
1) Determine the scope of the problem
Is Emma the only one experiencing the problem? If not, this could point to a server related issue, and you should start your troubleshooting there. If poor Emma is the only one, let's move on.
2) Isolate the issue
Let's say Emma has an issue when working in her mail database. As the all-powerful administrator, you can see everyone's mail, so open up her mail from your machine and see if you have the same issue. If you do, then we know the issue lies in the database. If not, then try bringing Emma's ID to your machine and switch to her ID and see if you have the issue. This will tell you if the issue is ID related.
If you still can't reproduce it, then it looks like it is specific to Emma's machine. Try setting Emma up on a different machine. If she sees the issue on her new machine, consider what this means. If she is roaming, then her roaming files have also come down, and the issue may be related to her roaming files (names.nsf, bookmark.nsf, etc.).
3) Hit the Knowledge Base!
Search through Lotus' extensive collection of Technotes to see if this is a known issue, or explore similar issues and their resolutions.
IBM Notes troubleshooting
Still having the problem?
4) Gather any relevant data, and THEN contact support
This can differ based on the specific situation, but doing your homework before opening your support ticket can only help
the Lotus engineer, and help you!
- Gather any NSD(s) created (located under the \data\IBM_TECHNICAL_SUPPORT folder)
- Ask the user what they were doing when the client crashed, and if they are able to reproduce it
Problem with a specific document, database, agent, etc.
- Have the data ready to give support
- Support will most likely want the original data, not a forwarded message, so be ready to create a new un-encrypted database including the data
Relevant, non-tangible data (You will most likely be asked these things by Lotus Support, so why not be prepared?)
- When did the problem start?
- Were there any recent changes to the environment as a whole, including the client, server, OS, etc.
- Anything else you feel may be helpful in determining the root cause will be beneficial
The Bottom Line
Use common sense! Most likely, something, somewhere, has changed and is causing the issue. Back up, take a deep breath, gather all the details, take a good, long, and maybe even skeptical look, and explore what you determine to be the most probable cause of the issue. But if all else fails, Support is there to help!