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Troubleshooting IBM Lotus Notes issues
This document discusses basic troubleshooting tips for common IBM® Lotus® Notes® v8 issues.
If you have trouble connecting to your server, there are some basic troubleshooting tools to determine whether the issue is related to your network environment.
Ping is a network administration utility commonly used to test if a computer is reachable on an Internet Protocol network environment. It basically measures the round-trip time for messages sent from your computer to a destination computer you specify.
You can ping a computer by opening Command Prompt window and executing the ping.exe file pointing it to a computer of your choice, either by IP address or host name, as shown in figure 1.
Figure 1. Example ping command
In this example, you can see that the computer specified by host name leonardo2.austin.ibm.com can be reached successfully, and the time it takes for a message to go and come back is listed in milliseconds. This means that you have a successful network connection from your workstation to the computer you specified above.
If the ping result was negative, it would indicate a network issue between your workstation and the specified computer. You should first check locally to see if you can identify the problem such as a loose or unplugged cable, a disabled network adapter, etc.
You could perform the same test on a workstation next to you to compare the results; if neither can ping the server, it could indicate an issue with the server, but if the other workstation can ping the server while yours cannot, it indicates there is a problem with your machine.
If, even after performing the basic troubleshooting and checking for the more common issues, you are still not able to identify the cause of the problem and fix it, you should contact your network administrator for further help.
Telnet is a network utility that allows you to connect to a remote host computer over a TCP/IP network. You can use the telnet software client on your computer to attempt to establish a connection to a remote host and a remote port you specify.
Knowing that the standard port that Notes and IBM Lotus Domino® use is port 1352, you could use the Telnet utility to try to establish a connection to your Domino server on port 1352, which should be the port that Domino is listening for incoming connections, to make sure that your Domino server is online and responding.
Let's look at an example of checking basic connectivity to a Domino server that is listening to connections on port 1352:
1. Open a Command Prompt window and enter the command shown in figure 2, using the syntax “telnet server_name port_number”:
Figure 2. Telnet command entered
2. After you execute the above command, the window in figure 3 should display. As you can see, you are now using the Telnet utility to connect to the server leonardo2.austin.ibm.com on port 1352, as previously specified.
Figure 3. Telnet command executed
3. Next, press CTRL + ] to display a window like that in figure 4.
Figure 4. Welcome to Telnet window
4. At this point you could enter “?” for a list of available options; however, for our purposes we just enter “status” to show that the client is, in fact, connected to the server on port 1352 (see figure 5).
Figure 5. Status command
As shown above, we confirmed that the workstation could connect to port 1352 on the Domino server, indicating that the server is up and running. If the test had failed, it would indicate an issue connecting to the the server on the port specified.
You can use the combined results obtained from the Ping and Telnet tests to troubleshoot connectivity issues. For example, if you can ping the server, but you cannot connect to port 1352, it means that you have a working connection to the server but the service is not online. A probable assumption is that your Domino server is down and therefore you cannot connect with your Notes client either.
For more information about using Telnet to check connectivity to a Domino server using port 1352, refer to IBM Support Technote #1248258, ”How to check connectivity over port 1352 with Telne
If your Notes client is not working as expected, it might indicate a database corruption. Database corruption can be generally characterized as when a part or the entire database has suffered data loss, integrity issues, inconsistent data, limited functionality, or is just plain unreadable.
When you have this situation in any local databases, you can try to run maintenance with some Notes built-in tools such as fixup, compact, and updall. It is not guaranteed that any of the tools will be able to fix the issue as the corruption could be beyond repair, in which case it might be necessary to restore a backup.
Close your Notes client before attempting to run any of the following tools:
Fixup is usually run in an attempt to fix corrupted views and documents in a database. It should be used when a database is suspected to have a problem, but it is not recommended to have it run periodically on a database as a preventive measure.
To run fixup:
1. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to the folder where the Notes client was installed (see figure 6).
Figure 6. Example navigation to folder
2. Type the command nfixup -F and the full path of database, including the file name and extension as shown in figure 7.
Figure 7. nfixup -F command
3. Press the Enter key to run the command; it then asks for your user ID password. Type the password and then press the Enter key again. A window like that in figure 8 should display.
Figure 8. Enter password
After the nfixup completes, you should see a window similar to that in figure 9.
Figure 9. nfixup results
Compact is usually run to reduce database size and in an attempt to solve database corruption issues for which the use of fixup did not help.
1. You run the procedure the same way you did above for the fixup, but using the command, ncompact -c -i, and the full path of database, including the file name and extension (see figure 9).
Figure 10. ncompact -c -i command
2. Press the Enter key to run the command; you are prompted for your user ID password. Type the password and then press the Enter key again. The window like that in figure 11 should display.
Figure 11. Enter password
After the ncompact completes, you should see a window similar to that in figure 12.
Figure 12. ncompact results
Updall is typically used to update or rebuild database views and indexes. Keeping these views and indexes current is important for optimizing text searches and overall performance.
1. Run the procedure the same way you did for compact, but using the nupdall -R -X command and the full path of database, including the file name and extension (see figure 13).
Figure 13. nupdall -R -X command
2. Press the Enter key to run the command; you are prompted for your user ID password. Type the password and then press the Enter Key again; you should see a window like that in figure 14.
Figure 14. Enter password
After the nupdall completes you should see a window similar to that shown in figure 15.
Figure 15. nupdall results
For more detailed information about maintenance, refer to Technote #7006573, “Administrator Guide for Domino Server maintenance
NSD is a program that comes with Notes clients (nsd.exe for Microsoft® Windows® 32 platforms, or nsd.sh for UNIX® platforms). It collects vital information about the computer’s current status when executed, such as the client version, date and time, NSD version, the processes running in the operating system, thread information, and memory allocation, and then generates a report with all this information.
In some cases, it may also be necessary to obtain a manual NSD, to diagnose a hang, for example. This information is extremely useful when troubleshooting client crashes or hangs when they occur and is quite often requested by Lotus Technical Support.
Let's look at an example showing how to obtain a manual NSD on a Notes client running on the Win32 platform:
1. Open a Windows Run window (see figure 16).
Figure 16. Run window
2. Navigate to the Notes program directory (where the nsd.exe is located), as shown in figure 17.
Figure 17. Navigation to Notes program directory
3. Now execute the nsd.exe file on the console to collect the information and generate a report. Figure 18 shows the nsd running and gathering system information.
Figure 18. nsd running
After the NSD has finished collecting information, it displays the window shown in figure 19, indicating the time it ended and the location and name of the file generated. The file is usually generated in IBM_TECHNICAL_SUPPORT, located in the Data Directory.
Figure 19. NSD file generated
The generated file has a .log extension and is a text file. Also, the file name created by the NSD contains information about the platform, host name, and the date and time it was executed, which may be useful in locating the desired NSD file.
In the uncommon event that Lotus Notes terminates abnormally, it is possible that a Notes-related process is left behind and remains running in the OS, so you may need to terminate it manually.
For example, if you have trouble starting the Notes client, whereby it gets stuck at some point while loading or it simply crashes every time you try to start it, it is possible that a process from a previous instance is still present in memory.
If you want to terminate all Notes-related processes at once, you can do it by manually running an nsd with the -kill switch, that is, “nsd -kill”, as shown in figure 20.
Figure 20. nsd -kill command
For more information on how to run NSD on the UNIX platform, refer to Technote #1214298, “How to run NSD manually on a Domino server for UNIX platforms
Executing nsd -kill is not the appropriate way of shutting down your Notes client on a daily basis; rather, it is recommended only when you must force the termination of all Notes-related processes.
If experience a performance issue with your Notes client or it does not work as expected, you can try recreating the Notes cache.ndk file.
This file contains all design elements (the design note itself) cached from a server copy of a replica. For multiple replicas, only one copy of the design element is cached, if they are the same. It also contains the unread journal, which is used to coordinate unread information across multiple replicas when accessed from the same client.
To recreate this file, first close your Notes client, go to the Data folder, and rename the cache.ndk file. When you start your Notes the next time, it will automatically create a new cache.ndk file. Figure 21 shows an example of how to find the cache.ndk.
Figure 21. Cache.ndk on local disk
After reading this article series, you should be familiar with the Notes client terminology and be able to use and enjoy the most commonly used features. If you would like more information about any other features that were not covered in this paper, consult the Notes client Help, which contains detailed information. To do that, just open the Help menu in your Notes client or press the F1 key while inside Lotus Notes.
Notes and Domino Information Center:
developerWorks® Lotus Notes and Domino product page:
Lotus Notes, Lotus Domino, and Lotus Domino Designer Release Notes:
Notes and Domino wiki:
Notes/Domino Fix List:
IBM Lotus Technote #:1086958, “Is running Client Notes.ini and/or Notes Data directory on a File Server a supported configuration?:
Lotus Notes Help:
developerWorks article, “Lotus Notes Calendar and Scheduling explained!”:
About the authors
Leonardo Caldas has been a Level 2 Support Engineer with IBM Lotus Support since November 2005, currently working on the LATAM team in North America. Before joining IBM, he worked for an IBM partner in Brazil for 8 years, rising from Domino/Notes Support L1 and L2 positions, to a manager for the Support team, and then to a technical director in 2004. He's an IBM Certified Advanced System Administrator for Domino 6.5.x/7.x/8.x/8.5.x; IBM Certified Application Developer for Domino 8.x/8.5.x, Notes Domino 8 Implementing and Administering Security; IBM LotusLive 2Q 2011 Technical Specialist; and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS): Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gustavo Ferreira has been a Level 2 Support Engineer with IBM Lotus Support since April 2008, currently working on the LATAM team in North America. Before joining IBM, he worked as a researcher for the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and for an IBM partner in Brazil. He's an IBM Certified System Administrator for Lotus Domino 7.x. You can reach him at email@example.com