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Lotus Notes replication snafu: Accidentally deleted archived email

In an attempt to copy an existing database to a new one, a Lotus Notes administrator accidentally deletes all the data in the .NSF file. SearchDomino.com expert Chuck Connell provides a post-mortem of this Lotus Notes replication snafu.

I want to create a new 2006 local Lotus Notes database (.NSF), using the 2005 one as a template. Instead of using File -> Database -> New Copy, I accidentally used File -> Replication -> Settings -> [tick]Remove documents not modified in the last [1] days.

I then proceeded to replicate the Lotus Notes database, thinking I could replicate the existing database with the same template without the documents. Unfortunately, the process took very long (1GB .NSF file), and I hit the Escape button. All of my archived email was deleted! However, my .NSF file was still the same file size (1 GB).

I know that the email is not actually deleted, and is still residing in the .NSF file, as the file size did not change. How do I recover/undelete my email from that .NSF file?

Unfortunately, the email probably really is deleted. Lotus Notes retains white space in a file, in case it needs that space later. So, the fact that the file is the same size does not mean the documents are there. I would consider this a nudge to start making backups every night!

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This was last published in August 2006

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