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How to retrieve a deleted Lotus Notes database

Posted on 2009-05-08
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Hi,

I have accidentally deleted a .nsf file from server (by righ-clicking the db icon - select Database - Delete). Is there anyway to retrieve the .nsf file except restoring from backup tape?
Unfortunately, my backup system was unsuccessful for a few months. :(
Need advice urgent...

Thanks very much in advance.
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Question by:kspuea
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23 Comments
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24341366
You can try to recover it on OS level sorry :(
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Author Comment

by:kspuea
ID: 24341507
I have tried searching the nsf file at server OS level, no avail... :(
So want to ask the experts is there possible Lotus Notes keeps the deleted files in a Trash/Recycle Bin before it really purges out.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24341542
I did not say that you can "find" the file in OS level. I told you might "recover" it from the OS level. There's no Trash type of thing for deleted databases. Wht you ould do best is to stop the server. Make the volume offline and try to recover thi file in OS level. As the time passs by the possbility of overwriting the file increases. Since the OS thinks it is an empty space now it will try to save newere files on this space. So the best thing you could do is to stop th woulume and try to recoverthe file with a tool such as:
http://ntfsundelete.com/ (it is a free program)
http://www.ntfsdiskrecovery.com/ (Priced program)
and similar programs.
But whatever you do act now!!!. The time passing increases the chance of file growth over your deleted data!
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24342508
try undelete software, there are many good ones out there.
try this, from the makers of ccleaner
http://www.recuva.com/
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 24347527
What O/S?

If you have a replica copy of the database on another server, or on a client PC, you're saved: make a new replica from that one to the server.
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Author Comment

by:kspuea
ID: 24348472
OMG, that means i have missed it for 3 days already!!
No matter what i will still try the software. Thanks, KeremE !

sjef_bosman, nope, have checked with my users, nobody has local replica, no server replica too. :(
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348486
well also if you know the header bytes of lotus notes that will be very helpful, or the extention of the files that were deleted. Some software will ask or sort the files that way.
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Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24348488
Yr welcome. Depending on the available space on the volume and how fragmented the contents you mas still have a chance to rescue the deleted file.  Good luck.
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 24348524
If it's Windows you might be able to recover it, but only if the data blocks of the file haven't been reused. Otherwise, forget it. Not even a 500 point question can get it back then... Sorry...
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24348525
msn-expert: All lotus notes databases, universally, have the extension on .nsf for for almost 2 decades :) Thanks for reminding.
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 24348534
> All lotus notes databases, universally, have the extension on .nsf for for almost 2 decades
Not quite true. ;-)
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24348553
Quite true :)
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 24348595
All databases?? Really? How about .ntf, .ns4, .ns5, .box, .ndk, .dsk, and probably several more?
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Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348621
unless it is a SSD, it can still be retrieved even if it is rewritten over 5X+
The government and law enforcement have certain software and methods that can retrieve deleted info.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348639
LN DB may include and not limited to .nsf, .nsg, .nsh, .ns2, .ns3, .ns4, and .ntf (binary data) and .ndl (text data)

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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348644
ntf being template
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24348658
ok :) Lets start with .ntf. It is rather a "template" which are generally used for creating .nsf s. Even if they cantain data it is not for purposes of string it but serve as a template.

.ns4 and .ns5 are as you might well know for the obsolote Lotus Notes fversion 4 and 5.

.box files are simply transaction log enabled databases which are used to store temporary data such as mailboxes.

etc.

So this is irrelevant discussion. Let alone the initial posting states that it was an .nsf file and deleted by right clicking te icon and selecting delete.  If it were a .ntf that was deleted he'd use one of the database using the template and recreate the NSF. It it were a .box file all he'd lost would be some temporary transactions and I'm sure he'd never mind. If they were obsoleted .ns4 and .nsf5 files I'd expect them to have ancient backup copes since they have survived nearly a decade : ))

So your explanation is good while simply makes no sense. I am sure that more than 90% of all production db's likely to have .nsf extension.


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Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348713
well sjef was only correcting the part that all lotus db are not that extention, i read the question fast and thought he right click and deleted the database using windows. But now it seems that he deleted it using lotus subshelled into explorer. That is now a whole other beast. Iam not sure what lotus notes will do to the db, maybe it was purged and is now scattered all over the HDD fragmented with nothing to bind it together... I would contact ibm/lotusnotes directly, iam not too sure they will be willing to help, the easy answer out is always no, it cant be done, sorry [click].

Then I would go back to your backup from a few months ago since it seems to be the easiest solution if you are certain there is no replication.

I am sorry but I do not think there is any answers you will like.

If you really want to be technical, find out how lotus deletes a db.
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Sjef Bosman
ID: 24348753
> find out how lotus deletes a db
It goes immediately in the digital dustbin, completely, no doubt about that.
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Accepted Solution

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Kerem ERSOY earned 150 total points
ID: 24348823
Nope msn-expert. It deletes the file immediately using the OS Delete. So there's no additional tasks that notes do when you execute the delete database command. This is why I've suggested the asker try to salvage the file on OS level without loosing time. Since as you know the underlying os thinks the area as a empty space and event the OS processes might use this area at once. But should the the drive is overly fragmented. There's a good chance that data could survive the new allocation by other procesess. So the best thing to do is to get the drive immediately offline to prevent deleted file space been overwritten. But as the asker is already 3 days late for that his chances of successfully undeleting the file is gradually diminishing.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:msn-expert
ID: 24348844
Unfortunatly iam also answering an undelete question on someone's laptop so Iam mixing my way of thinking. Hopefully since it is the weekend no one has been using the DB. If the company can afford to take the server offline to extract the HDD and connect to another computer it might be possible.

But i do not know for certain how it is deleted, maybe with increased security LN wrote zeros to those sectors?
But I hope everything works out, cross your fingers, pray to your religious diety, and rub your co-workers bald head.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 24348920
Nope Notes is famous for its strength in encrypting databases, communications and application of PKI very well yet don't cease to be practical to use etc but it deletes the file at the OS level and that's it. There's no additional operation apart from deleting.
0
 

Author Comment

by:kspuea
ID: 24351519
Thanks very much, guys!

KeremE, have tried the undelete software.. no avail... :( Think I'm too late to use that software to recover... :(

Anyway, thanks to eveyone!
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