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Roaming Notes

How to secure roaming profiles in a multi-user environment.

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I've set up Notes in a multi-user environment. Many users swap PCs all the time (NT + roaming profiles). When using Notes the normal way, you would get many IDs and many local databases on the computer, which is not really secure, because all local databases can be read.

What did I do? I installed Notes the normal way. Every user MUST have a share of their own (home share). I use N: for this example.

  1. Change the new shortcut that points to: "D:LotusNotesNotes.exe =N:notesnotes.ini" without quotes.

  2. Create a folder N:Notes and place all .ntf files from the notesdata directory to N:Notes. Also place your ID and the notes.ini in this directory.

  3. Be sure the "Data path" (normaly D:LotusNotesData) in the notes.ini is correctly filled in before setting up Notes. Point this to the directory that contains the notes.ini, the user.ID and the *.ntf files. For example:

  4. You also might need to change the next setting, depending on where the spelling dictionaries are placed.
    SPELL_DIR=X:Pathtodictionaries (can also be a network share).

  5. Now start Notes and configure it. You might need to adjust the smart icons directory. Users can only start Notes once (normally).

  6. Be sure to delete notes.ini from the normal path.


A partner of mine recently talked to Lotus support on an unrelated matter, but the conversation changed to where the client's data directory was located. We have had our data directory on a shared file server since 1992. It works very well allowing you to move from workstation to workstation. My partner was told that Lotus does not support the data dir being on a file server.

I have not been able to find any corroborating information on this. Has anyone else ever heard that statement? I am not really convinced that this is Lotus' position though. Maybe that is there position now that Roaming_Notes is available.

-- Brian A.


We use the same idea where I work, but recently we ran into a few issues. When users loose their connection to the shared drive, they are not able to update the unread marks in their mail files. According to Lotus the unread marks update the user's mail file from a cache upon closing the program. Since the user can't see the desktop5.dsk, the unread marks don't get updated. Once they get out of synch, they are a pain to get back in synch. Also Lotus informed me that this is not a supported configuration of Lotus Notes. They said it can cause "unforeseen" issues with the application. The other problem is if the file share is unstable and goes down, the first application to take the blame is Lotus Notes. Users' perception is always a big deal from the management point of view. I don't like the idea of the perception of Notes being in the hands of the network team (no offense).

-- Keith Ryan


We have always used the roaming Notes facility on our network but have been getting "unexpected network error" a lot since a few months ago. I have searched the forums and downloaded articles from the Notes Web site, and have noticed that they did say that they don't recommend roaming Notes.

I find this rather unbelievable considering that in this day and age, networking is the name of the game. One of the benefits of networking is the ability of users to move from PC to PC and still expect to be able to access their files and e-mail. So why can't IBM or Lotus Notes software developers design the software so that it can happily support the networking and roaming Notes environment?

As you can imagine, although a lot of times people sit by their workstations/PCs day in and day out, there will be times when they have to use another PC (when they are moved to another office or building or their normal PC is unavailable). Is it not reasonable to expect Lotus Notes to be able to support this roaming facility?

-- Ester P.


We have had the same issue of "unexpected network error" for our roaming users in R5. At one point we got a Microsoft patch (Q812944), which fixed the issue for a while -- but then it resurfaced a few months back. I was told by our IBM support that this was an unsupported configuration. We're still working with Microsoft on a resolution.

--Ninad L.

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