Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Before you reinstall the Notes client, try this


By Nancy Hand

Pamela nearly ran me over in her rush down the hall. She wanted help fixing a problem with a user's mailfile. Her hurried explanation indicated something wrong with the Inbox label on Lisa's file.

If there really was a problem with the mailfile, I'd be able to do more from my workstation than from the user's, so I returned to my desk instead of following Pamela. Anyway, it was getting late.

I opened Lisa's file in the Admin client expecting to find a corrupted view, but didn't see any problems. The database properties box showed the correct label and nothing looked out of place from the Designer client.

Pamela called me from Lisa's desk saying the Inbox looked strange. The label on the tab didn't say "Lisa Smith's Inbox", it said "Inbox-unread only". I looked at the file displayed in my Admin client again, it was fine. I asked Pamela to let me connect to Lisa's desktop so I could see what she was seeing.

Indeed, Lisa's Inbox had a new label and as soon as a message was opened, it vanished from sight. I looked for the View All/View Unread button. It wasn't there. There were no scroll arrows on the bar above the Inbox and a couple of buttons were missing. Functions for the missing buttons weren't available through the menus either.

Pamela handed the phone to Lisa and left.

I asked Lisa if she remembered what she'd been doing before things went wrong. She sounded embarrassed as she explained how she'd clicked on the Mark all Read, Mark all Unread, and a lot of other things. She didn't know quite when the label had changed.

Lisa was in a hurry to go home so I disconnected from her workstation. Then, from my Admin client, I refreshed the design, ran Fixup and Updall, and Compacted her file. On a test machine, I logged into mail as Lisa. The Inbox showed both read and unread messages. All the correct buttons appeared along the top of the Inbox and the label was correct. The problem seemed to be at Lisa's desk.

The next morning I called Lisa to see if things were any better. They weren't. Though she was being patient, Lisa had work to do. To get her working again, I helped her remove the Notes client and re-install it. When she signed back into Notes everything looked fine. I tweaked a few settings on her client and made sure she was satisfied before hanging up.

I spent half the day trying to re-create the problem with a test account. While I created some interesting effects, I didn't succeed in getting the Inbox to rename itself to "Inbox-unread only". I did find it wasn't necessary to remove the client to fix the problems I created. I only needed to delete Bookmark.nsf, Cache.ndk, and maybe Desktop6.ndk. For the next user who manages to change the name of their Inbox maybe I'll be better prepared.