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6 Causes of Corruption in NSF Files

Database files that are used by Lotus Notes software are stored in NSF (Notes Storage Facility) format. NSF stores data in a document known as ‘notes’ consisting of business data including calendar, mails etc. The Lotus Dominos server often hosts NSF files that are downloadable by Lotus Notes clients. It allows working with a functional database even when user is in offline mode. If any changes are made to the database by the client, Domino facilitates syncing the changes in the master database as well. NSF files can be used for data replication process also.

However, users may experience an unexpected behavior with the Lotus Notes mail client. This behavior usually occurs due to the corruption of Lotus Notes database. Corruption of database may occur in two forms:

  • Structure
  • Content

The potential reasons for database corruption may be configuration problems, server crash, improper database manipulation etc. As a result, all data such as contacts, emails etc. stored in the database cannot be accessed.

Following is a description about the causes of NSF file corruption:

  • Abrupt System Shutdown

Shutting down the computer abnormally may result in corruption of Lotus Notes database. If it is in use, it may change the database file structure because some process is in continuation. Therefore, it is recommended to comply with prescribed methods of shutting down the computer.

  • Corrupt NSF File Header

Corruption of NSF header does not allow gaining access to items such as emails, contacts etc. This may be caused by power failure or human error.

  • Checksum Mismatch

Checksum mismatch occurs in case of corrupt attachments thereby resulting in inaccessibility of email messages in Lotus Notes.

  • Virus Infections

Needless to mention; viruses are aimed at damaging the NSF files and restricting access to Lotus Notes. If notes are inaccessible, an error is thrown stating that Lotus Notes get corrupted.

  • Hardware Component Failure

Just like PST, OST and EDB files, NSF files also get damaged if there is damage to hard drive. It may be caused by  bad sectors lying in the hard drive which will automatically affect all files placed on these bad sectors.

  • Corruption due to Migration

When user migrates from Lotus Notes to some other platform, for instance Outlook, an error may crop up due to corrupt files or attachments, infections etc. Note that mailboxes can be exported to Microsoft Exchange Server from Lotus Domino Server through ‘Microsoft Transporter Suite’, which allows maximum file size of 4 MB.

To overcome data inaccessibility or loss due to the above mentioned causes, it is recommended to backup Lotus Notes at regular intervals. However, if backup is not available or not up to date, it is better to choose a competent Lotus Notes Recovery software. These applications are widely available in the market and can be easily found online.

Amanda is a passionate blogger. She loves to write various technology related articles that can help the readers in their day to day life. Her main focus is to research about various Email recovery and conversion methods such as Exchange recovery, Lotus Notes recovery and NSF to PST conversion etc.


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Filed in: Software Tags: IBM Lotus Domino, IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange Server, NSF, Personal Storage Table

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