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Lotus Notes Mailbox Maintenance Tips

Along with MS Outlook and Outlook Express, IBM Lotus Notes is another highly used email client, especially in large organizations. Like MS Outlook and Outlook Express mailboxes, Lotus Notes mailboxes also get bloated with time. A common practice that most of you do when your mailbox gets bloated with items is deleting all the unnecessary emails. However, some of you leave your mailbox as it is after reading all-important emails. However, doing so can lead to problems when your Notes mailbox grows out of control.

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Moreover, even if you are a meticulous Notes user who cleans his Lotus Notes mailbox on a regular basis, you may come across bloating Notes mailbox. This is because of the small data storage capacity(mailbox quota) of Lotus Notes, which is about 40 MB. Since an overfilled mailbox database hampers the basic working of Lotus Notes, it must be avoided. Mentioned below are some useful tips that you should practice in order to avoid problems related to the large size of your Lotus Notes mailbox:

Precautions to Avoid Mailbox Bloating

  • Avoid Storing Messages with Large Attachments: If a message having an attachment is of size 2-5 MB on an average, then it would eat up a lot of space on your mailbox. If such messages are of importance, then save their attachments to your computer’€™s hard drive by detaching them from emails.
  • Keep the Size of Your Inbox Folder Small: A filled inbox not only looks messy, but also can create troublesome situations like deletion of an important message. Therefore, it is suggested to keep the size of your Inbox small by sending the less used emails to archive folder and removing all unnecessary ones.
  • Avoid Saving the Copy of Every Single Email Message that You Send: Change the setting of your Lotus Notes mailbox in a way that it prompts you every time to ask whether you want to save the copy of sent item whenever you press €˜Send button for a new message. You can do this by going through File >> Preferences >> User Preferences >> Mail & News to €˜Always prompt€™.
  • Take a Decision Immediately after Reading an Email: It is not compulsory to keep all the emails in your inbox. Make sure that you are having only those emails, which are necessary for you. Delete all unnecessary emails from your inbox and periodically clean out the trash as well.

Problems with Over-sized Lotus Notes Mailbox

Despite following these precautions, there occur times when your Lotus Notes mailbox starts behaving abnormally. This is when the mailbox gets larger than 40 MB and is unable to store a new document like calendar entries, copies of sent items (however, the mailbox keeps accepting the new incoming emails). Moreover, you may also be unable to forward messages. You may get the following error message when you try to save a copy of the message or try to forward it:

Cannot allocate database object – database would exceed its disk quota!

The error message in R5 of Lotus Notes in such situation is:

Your mail file has exceeded the size threshold. You should delete messages and compact your mail file.

These situations force you to take some other necessary steps for reducing the size of your Lotus Notes mailbox. However, before performing any of these mailbox maintenance activities, it is suggested to check the size of your mailbox. To do this, open your mailbox first, and then go to File >> Database >> Properties€™ from pull-down menu. From the dialog box that appears on your screen, click the second tab that has letter €˜i€™. Information from this tab also lets you know about the number of items present in your mailbox, such as email messages in all the folders, ToDo list entries, calendar entries, etc.

Archiving Feature of Lotus Notes R5

With the archiving feature present in your Lotus Notes 5.0 version, you can easily archive your emails and clean out the mailbox without losing any information. Though the archiving feature is also available in R 4.6 version of Notes, it is not recommended to be used as it has so many limitations. When you use the archiving feature of Lotus Notes, it opens your archive mailbox (or creates a new archive mailbox, if you are archiving for the first time). After that, it selects all the documents according to the criteria that you have specified, and then copies all of them to Archive database. Notes delete the archived items from the original mailbox only after this.

The archived mailbox retains the same design as of your original mailbox, including all the customizations that you have made. Your archived mailboxes are stored in the archive subdirectory of the Notes data directory of your mailbox (for example C:\Lotus\Notes\Data\Archive). All the archived items appear as unread when you open your archive mailbox.

With making prior archive settings, you cannot archive your mailbox. The settings specify the message that has to be archived; when, where, and how you want to archive them. For setting the archive settings, open your Lotus Notes database, and from the menu, select ‘Actions >> Archive >> Settings€™.


Deletion of unnecessary emails creates a lot of blank space in your Lotus Notes mailbox that unnecessarily eats up a lot of space of your hard drive. Moreover, there are some unusable items as well in Notes mailbox. All these items unknowingly reserve a lot of space on your Notes mailbox and make your working difficult even after you have performed all the necessary actions for preventing mailbox bloating.

In such situations, if you archive your Lotus Notes mailbox, then you can easily overcome such behaviors. Compacting removes all the free space of your Notes mailbox, and hence improves its working. Follow the below mentioned steps to check whether your mailbox needs compacting or not:

  • Open your mailbox.
  • Select €˜File >> Database >> Properties€™ from the menu to get the €˜Database Properties dialog box.
  • From this dialog box, check the second tab that has the letter €˜i€™ on it.
  • Click [% used] button to find out your current compression ratio.
  • If you find that the percentage of the database that is in use drops below 90%, then click €˜Compact€™ button for compacting this database.

With the help of these simple steps, you can easily maintain your Lotus Notes mailbox. However, even then, if you come across the corruption of your Notes mailbox due to large size, then use of backup of your mailbox database works as a boon. With the help of complete backup of your database file, you can restore your data after uninstalling, and then re-installing Lotus Notes mailbox. However, if you do not have the backup of your data, then use of a professional Lotus Notes recovery tool is recommended. Reliable Notes recovery tool repairs corrupt database file of this email client and restores all the data stored in it, including your emails, contacts, calendar entries, etc.

This is a complete overview of maintenance and recovery aspects for Lotus Notes database files, which a Lotus Notes user can follow in order to maintain his database file and overcome data loss, if it occurs.

Written By

Amanda is a passionate blogger and loves to explore anything about technology, from gadgets to geekiest tips.



  1. Abram

    August 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Hey copy paste content generator,The year is 2013 and the last version on Notes is 9. Mailbox quota is limited only by your hardware and your relationship with your friendly admin… You can have 40 gb of emails and send 40 mb attachments…Get your facts right… Do some research 🙂

  2. raj

    August 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Thanks amanda for sharing with us the maintenance tips for Lotus notes mailbox.

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