SnTT: Installing and running Notes R5, 6, 7 and 8 concurrently

>>Author:  Thomas Bahn
>>Ort:     Raisdorf
URL: https://www.assono.de/blog/d6plinks/Running-Notes-R5-6-7-8-concurrently

Kategorien: Show-n-Tell Thursday, Lotus Notes, Administration

Martin Vereecken posted in his blog BizzyBee’s BizzyThoughts an entry about Notes 8 and Notes 7 coexistence. This reminded me, I wanted to write about this subject myself. This year. No Thursday left. So this got a "Show-n-Tell Thunday".

There is a saying here: A picture tells more than 1000 words:
Screenshot of running Notes R5, 6, 7 & 8 concurrently: Notes Client, Domino Designer & Admin

What do you see? It's Notes R5, 6, 7 and 8 Standard running concurrently on one Windows machine, and side by side the Notes Client, Domino Designer and Administrator of each version - no image manipulation (besides scaling), no VMs, no tricks...

Here is another image, a screenshot of the Process Explorer (a world class, free to use Task Manager replacement) showing the processes:
Screenshot of Process Explorer: running Notes R5, 6, 7 & 8 concurrently

By the way, notice that there aren't separate processes for the 3 clients (Client, Designer, Administrator) of the 4 versions! And look at the memory usage just after I have started the clients, but haven't worked with them.

But this post is about installing and running different versions of Notes concurrently on one Windows XP machine.

There are two main point to consider, when you want to install different version of Notes:
  • File system: Where is your program folder? Where is your data folder?
  • Windows registry.

    File system
    Over time, depending on the kind of Notes client (Notes client only or with Admin & Designer), if it's a multi-user installation or not, there are different defaults for the program folder of the Notes client. I decided to use a different and consistent schema for their naming on my notebook:
%ProgramFiles%\Notes7 and
(The content of %ProgramFiles% depends on the language version of Windows XP and the boot drive. In German Windows it's normally C:\Programme.)

Then I have a separate partition for my data, therefore I don't store the data folders under the program folder, but in
D:\Notes\Notes7 and

This naming schema isn't mandatory at all, but it helps me organizing all clients and folders.

Windows registry
IBM decided to store user independent settings of the Notes client under the following key in the Windows registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes. In fact, this is no real decision, but just the standard Microsoft has set.
A picture named M3

There are some setting directly beneath the Notes key: DataPath, Description, MultiUser, Name and Path. Their values are determined by the last Notes installation: they just get overwritten by each installation.
Below Notes is normally only one subkey, with the major version number (e.g. 6.0) of the installed Notes client (e.g. 6.5.6).

In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes is one subkey: Installer - and in it are a lot of settings, like DATADIR, ISMUI, NOTESDATAPATH, NOTESPATH, PROGDIR etc.
A picture named M4

Observant readers might have seen, that there are more registry keys like Notes 5 or Notes 8 in the screen shots. They are my "invention" to store the original subkey for each version installed.

First installation: Notes R5
Lets say, we have a newly installed Windows XP, on which Notes wasn't installed anytime before. And lets begin to install the versions of Notes in ascending (i. e. historical) order, that is Notes R5 in my case.

I always install the "Notes Client, Domino Designer & Admin" version of the client. This is never a multi-user install, and thus there is only one program and one data folder, you can place anywhere you want. In my case I set C:\Programme\Notes5 as program folder and D:\Notes\Notes5 as data folder. After the installer has completed its work, I open the Registry Editor, jump to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes, export the complete registry subtree to D:\Notes\HKLM-Software-Lotus-Notes(5).reg and rename it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes 5. After that, I reimport the registry file. As result I have two identical subtrees HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes 5. Now I can setup the client, run and use it.

Next installation: Notes 6
Before installing another version of Notes, I hide the current installation of Notes R5:
  • I rename C:\Programme\Notes5 to C:\Programme\Notes5x,
  • rename D:\Notes\Notes5 to D:\Notes\Notes5x and
  • delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes in the registry.

    The started Notes 6 installer doesn't see anything from Notes R5 and thus doesn't change anything, like the notes.ini. It just installs Notes 6 into C:\Programme\Notes6 and D:\Notes\Notes6 as I told it to. Afterwards I do the same as before: export HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes to D:\Notes\HKLM-Software-Lotus-Notes(6).reg and rename it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes 6. After that, I reimport the registry file for Notes R5 (D:\Notes\HKLM-Software-Lotus-Notes(5).reg) and 6 (D:\Notes\HKLM-Software-Lotus-Notes(6).reg) one after another.

    Since Notes 6, the installer itself uses the registry to store some information. Therefore I additionally rename HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes 6.

    Now I can setup and work with Notes 6 and still with Notes R5 - at least when I remember to rename the program and the data folder back to their original names.

    Next installation: Notes 7
    Before installing Notes 7, again I make "tabula rasa" by appending an x to the two program and to the to data folders and deleting the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes registry key. The registry key for the Notes 6 installer is still renamed and therefore "invisible".

    After the installation of Notes 7 into its planned destination, the export of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes into D:\Notes\HKLM-Software-Lotus-Notes(7).reg and renaming it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes 7, the renaming of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes 7, the reimport of all three reg files, the setup of Notes 7 and taking back the renamings of the former Notes folders, I can run all 3 versions of Notes.

    Next installation: Notes 8 Standard
    Besides the installation of Notes 8 takes ages, it's not different from Notes 7, so I don't repeat every details, just in short:
  • Rename folders,
  • delete registry key,
  • install Notes 8,
  • export HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes,
  • rename registry keys to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes 8 and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes 8 respectively,
  • reimport all 4 reg files,
  • setup Notes 8 and
  • rename folders back.

    Now you can run Notes R5, 6, 7 and 8 on one Windows machine!

    There is still one word missing: concurrently.

    But this is easy (and widely known): notes.exe checks when started, if another instance of Notes is running. In this case, a warning is displayed and the execution aborted. Instead of notes.exe use nlnotes.exe, which doesn't do this check. For your convenience, create a shortcut to nlnotes.exe, set the corresponding data folder as working directory, optionally set another icon and use this shortcut to start the Notes client. To start the Domino Designer or Domino Administrator, use the bookmark icon in the Notes client.

    With Notes 8 this got more complicated: notes.exe starts the Notes Standard client, but nlnotes.exe starts the Notes Basic client. If you want to use the Notes 8 Standard client, you have to start it before any other clients.

    Next issue: When you click on the bookmark icon for Domino Designer or Domino Administrator in the Notes 8 Standard client and another Notes client is running concurrently, its Designer or Administrator is started instead of version 8's.
Third-party products
Before installing a third-party product, which integrates into the Notes client, I usually delete the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes registry key and import only the one reg file for the version of Notes, I want to install the product into. After the installation, I reimport the other reg files, again.

For upgrades of an installed version of the Notes client, I do the same as for third-party products, but additionally rename the version dependent installer registry key back to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes and rename the other program and data folders. After the upgrade, I export a new reg file and take the pre-installation actions back.

All in all, this is a quite simple and stable method to get all Notes client installed and running concurrently. In fact, it is so simple that it could be easily automated by batch or WSH scripts.

By the way, I haven't installed Notes R4 again the last time I reinstalled my notebook, since we don't have any customers anymore on this version. (Yes, we have customers sitting on R5. And they have problems getting the upgrade budget, because their parent company still runs Notes/Domino R4 and is happy with it! ). But this would be easy, since Notes R4 doesn't use the Windows registry. Just take care of the notes.ini file the installer places in the Windows folder. Move it to the Notes R4 program folder.


#1 very cool! I already had something like that but did not knew how to run them all concurrently after Notes 8 made its way to my production laptop. Huge help! Gravatar Image
#2 Hi Thomas,

Thanks for this great article, a very profound explanation on the subject! Just a question: is the order of installation important, or is it just the way you did it?
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#3 I think that some third-party products (or something like DDSearch) might look at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes for the program or data folders. I use the reg files to control the contents of this registry key - the last imported reg file is "active". Gravatar Image
#4 The only real difference the installation order should make is which version is used when double-clicking an nsf file (possible, but generally rarely done), and what version is going to handle links using the notes: protocol.

Unless I missed something ...
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#5 In the end, to make sure I have a good basis for the future, I started from scratch with installing Notes 7, then 8. Works like a charm! Thanks, Thomas!
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#6 Nice job, Thomas. I have had a go at describeing the procedure to -- see { Link } whic is one of the most frequently visitied posts on that particular blog of mine -- but you have covered the various steps most comprehensively. ... Viel Dank! Gravatar Image


why can those people just not supply an installation-program where you can easily install multiple notes clients beside each other??!!

(anyway I am going to follow your guidelines cause I need the damn software installed)
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#8 Hi Patrick,

you can ignore the first error. The installer wants to unregister a dll, which it cannot see, because the folder has been renamed. When it installs the new client, it registers the dll of the new version and overwrites the registry value.

The second error I had myself installing the 8.0.1 Standard client. I haven't investigated the issue in depth, but it didn't came, when the path to the setup program didn't contain any spaces. So
C:\Notes 8.0.1\...
is bad (error) and
is good (installation without any errors).

ATTENTION: I don't mean the path, to which the Notes Client is installed into, but from.

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#9 great, my clients are running now. Vielen Dank! Emoticon Gravatar Image
#10 Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the great article. concurent running of different domino versions, is very vital in my current job. Your article helped to set it up the way it should be. Thanks again.Emoticon
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#11 Hi,

is there any chance to get the registry keys from V 5,6 &7 as a file from someone?

I did, for all the years I work with Notes/Domino, allways install Notes on a separate, clean machine (not the one I am working with) and then just copied the program files and data files to my working machine (with propperly named directories). That means I do not have ANY registry entry for Lotus Notes at all, from none of the Notes versions I used.

Getting a registry set from someone who "correctly" did the job as above, would help me to be able to use the discussed methodology from now on, because I could import the set, change it to my paths and export it again.

Othewise I would have to go the hard way and install all the stuff - what a waste of time ...

Thanks in advance
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#12 Hi,

Thank you for this great article.

Would this work on Vista?

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#13 Hi Nahal,

I haven't tested it (yet), but I assume, this will work on Vista, too.

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#14 Hi Thomas, thanks for your article - it helped a lot. Herzlichen Dank. Gravatar Image
#15 Hi all
i'm using 4 versions of Notes, from 5 to 8.5, along last 2 years without registry editors :) be more simply.
i'm install notes at virtual machine (use virtual pс 2007), copy folder at my computer (usially c:\lotus\notes5, c:\lotus\notes6 etc), manually edit notes.ini and create shortcuts.
That's all! Notes clients works as usially. I can reinstall windows, use xp x86 and x64 and work in Notes with pleasure.
ps I'm lotus developer, certified lotus specialist from 2000 year, not lamer :)
pps sorry my english :)
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#16 Hi Mikle,

thanks for your suggestion. Using VMs with WMware or Virtual PC is indeed a simple solution for this problem, but for quite some cost. In your example, you need at least 4 Windows client licences (assuming, you've installed one Notes client in the host system). And I don't know, if you need additional Windows-CALs, too.

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#17 thank u, it was very hepful.

in my case at this time, I have a R8 and R8.5, and it seems that u will need to make small changes in your process, since R8 and R8.5 have the same entry in the registry, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes\8.0

I changed the reg entry of the R85 to 8.5, so far, they are running fine separated, I really dont need to run them concurrently

and there were 2 more entries under lotus that reference the installation folder (lotus\notesR85, before 8.5 was lotus\notes) I didnt touch them.

Thank u again.

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#18 just to let u know, checking the Process Explorer, I could see that when using R8, the java being executed is from the R85 install.

also I'm getting some error messages and strange behaviours ... cheers !
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#19 Hi Thomas,
Really cool....
I'm intersted to run two or more session of Notes 7, how can I do this?
Many thanks
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#20 Thanks, I run DD and Admin clients for 7, 8 basic, and 8.5 basic plus my work 8.5 standard installation. Had some issues, but with trial error on the installation sequence got it working. Also noted that my 8.5 client must start first, however, when opening journal, contacs, etc from the open (work 8.5 std ver)I noted interference. I assume your sequence would sort that out, however, a quick fix I found was to run sysinternals.com desktops.exe utility. Gravatar Image
#21 Hi, I've done a very similar thing - though it is rare that I need to run different versions at the same time.

However as a an added tip, I like to create the following folders:

In these folders I place all my common databases so for instance my mail file goes in

Next I put a consistent set of directory link files in each installed data directory

mail.dir => D:\notes\data\mail
databases.dir => D:\notes\data\databases
projects.dir => D:\notes\data\projects

Now whichever client I run I have access to a common set of DBs and my mail file is specified in the location document relative to the data directory mail\mikemail.nsf

Saves loads of space as don't need duplicate replicas for each client.

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#22 Hi Mike,

thank you for your great tip.

You can use directory links (or even database links, i.e. text files with .nsf extension and the "real" file path of the database in the first line), but this limits your ability to open the different versions of the Notes clients concurrently. You'ld get an "database is in use" error.

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#23 Any Trick to run databases designed on R8.5 to access through R5 clients?? Gravatar Image
#24 There is no trick needed.

If you don't use design elements or features added after R5, you can simply use the database, opening it with the R5 Notes client on the 8.5 Domino server. You can even create a local replica or copy on your R5 Notes client and use it locally.

Why do you ask?
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#25 Very good Thomas,
i have following this procedure in order to installa 7.0.2 and 8.5.
but now i have one problem:
Notes 8.5 Client not starting very well and notes2.exe task is alway on 50% of the CPU. any action performed in the client the CPU for notes2.exe works on 50% and not action is performed. Very Very slowing and impossible to work.

But Domino Designer 8.5 work very good.

Also the realease 7.0.2 work very good coexistence.

Actually for me it is impossible to use the 8.5 client.

I have a notebook with Windows XP Professional SP3, T7500 Centrino 2, 2GB RAM...a good notebook.

i have report this problem also in the 8.5 LN forum:
{ Link }
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#26 Hi Dadoo dd,

I haven't experienced this behavior. What happens, when you start the 8.5 standard client via nlnotes.exe in the 8.5 programs directory?

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#27 Hi.
i need runnig two notes same version (8.5.1 standart) to two different servers. Emoticon
Maybe anybody do this?
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#28 Hi,
First of all Thanks to Thomas for this great article.
(Sorry for my bad English)
I'm running R7 and R8.5 Servers on my Local machine(PC), i'm running R7 and R8.5 clients in the same machine. I'm able to run both R7 & R8.5 Clients concurrently but i'm unable to connect their respective servers at a time. Instead i need to quit one server(R7) and run other server(R8.5), the issue here is HTTP and SMTP servers shutdown if I run other server.

Is it possible to connect to both the servers respectively while i'm running two clients.

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#29 You can't run two Domino servers on one machine, except
- when you use virtualization or
- when you use Microsoft's Loopback adapter to assign the machine different IP adresses and use notes.ini parameters to bind each server to a different IP address.

Independent of the operating system and the server software, only one process can bind itself to a given port for one specific IP address. HTTP uses port 80. When a browser sends a request to 80, only one program should be able to answer this request. Therefore you have to change either the port or have different IP addresses.
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#30 Thanks for your response.
Can I use VMWare Workstation for virtualization?
Could you please provide me detialed information on virtualization, and how to install a server on VMware and access it.
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#31 You can use VMware Workstation (to be paid for) or Server (free) or VirtualBox from Sun (free for private use) or VirtualPC from Micosoft (free?).

You can find a instruction, how to install the virtualization software in the internet. Sorry, but this is out of bounds for a blog comment (and free consultancy).
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#32 Hi Thomas
Nice Article, could you explain the followinging.
How did you solve the problem to start the correct Designer, Administrator when another Notes client is running concurrently with R8.

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#33 You have to start the Notes 8 Standard client first, and from within the client the Domino Administrator and the Domino Designer.
Afterwards you can start Notes 6 and 7 through nlnotes.exe and from within the clients the Domino Administrator and the Domino Designer.
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#34 Hi Thomas, i have read only now your on response above on 16.10.2009, after 3 months...excuse me.
if i strat the file nlnotes from 8.5 directory the client WORKS CORRECTLY. VERY GOOD !
wath is the difference from LN 8.5 start link on desktop/Start program notes.exe and start from C:\Programs\lotus\Notes8\nlnotes.exe ?

[Quote]Hi Dadoo dd,

I haven't experienced this behavior. What happens, when you start the 8.5 standard client via nlnotes.exe in the 8.5 programs directory?

Thomas Gravatar Image
Gesendet von Thomas Bahn um 16:02:35 am 16.10.2009 | - Web-Seiten -[Quote]
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#35 In Notes until version 7, notes.exe checks, if Notes is running, and if not, starts nlnotes.exe.

In Notes starting from version 8, this is a little bit different. notes.exe still checks, if Notes is already running, but then starts the Eclipse-based client. nlnotes.exe still starts the "old" C++-based client, now called Basic client (without checking).
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#36 You think there are some "problems" using the nlnotes.exe "Basic client" insted the notes.exe Eclipse client ?

at today i have no idea what why the Eclipse client does not start on my pc !
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#37 Dear Thomas, i wish to ensure about a question.

follow your this article i have both 7.0.2 and 8.5. I wish to upgrade the 8.5 to 8.5.1 ... it possibile to launch the installation pack of 8.5.1 or i need to separate the installation with the registry in order to have both 7.0.2,8.5 and 8.5.1 ?

thank you
Dadoo dd
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#38 You can upgrade your 8.5 client to 8.5.1.

I had difficulties with the upgrade, so I deinstalled 8.5 (without deleting the notes.ini, nsf and other files) and installed 8.5.1 in the same directories as 8.5 before.

But my difficulties with the upgrade could be due to other products, I've installed (Noteshound, ezSuite, Designer Search, etc.)
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#39 Hi.
i need runnig two notes same version (8.5.1 standart) to two different servers. Emoticon
Maybe anybody do this?
[advertisment removed by article author] }
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#40 Why do you need two Notes clients for two different servers?
No chance to cross certify an ID?

I don't think, it's possible to run two Standard clients concurrently. Perhaps, running the Standard client and the Basic client concurrently will satisfy your requirments?

Then you could try this: Copy your data directory and the notes.ini (in the program directory). Modifiy the copy of the notes.ini to point to the copy of the data directory. Start nlnotes.exe with the notes.ini copy as command line argument.

I haven't tested this myself, but it could work...

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#41 Thanks Thomas,
i didn't have the diskspace for different data paths (and double databases) so i used a tool called "LinkShellExtension" and created some junctions from Notes7\data\xxx to Notes6\data\ as a junction - which works fine.

Just want to let you know - maybe other users had also insuficent diskspace - specially by using big databases...

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#42 Interessante Sicht dank für die info [SPAM link removed by author] Gravatar Image
#43 Hi,

this is very good info, but I had several problems. I installed Lotus Notes v8.5 and then added the 8.5.1 FP3 patch. First install no problem, runs well on Windows 7 ... but then, I try to follow the process and noticed that in the registry I cannot find: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Lotus\Notes.

I did find HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Notes but this means I cannot do the 2nd install because it detects the previous one ... any ideas?

The reason I need to run two instances of Notes is because I got 2 IDs, in different servers and one needs a VPN connection to access the mail database.

Help please!
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#44 Windows 7 x86 aka 32 bit or Windows 7 x64 aka 64 bit?
When you install 32 bit software like Notes on a 64 bit Windows 7 machine, the registry information is written to
instead of

BUT when a 32 bit application opens the registry, it "sees" everything under
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#45 I was running R5 and R8 (32 bit) on a Win 7 64bit machine and had them both running per the above instructions. I would have to launch R5 first and all worked fine (and R8 launched Eclipse). I just installed R8.5.2 and now R8 says that Notes is already running!!! I assume it's finding the R5 already launched. Any way to get both versions running together without losing the Eclipse stuff (or mainly the designer)?

TIA - The Fonz
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#46 Hi Fonz,

I just wondered that it worked for you starting Notes 8 Standard client after Notes R5. I always had to do it the other way round.

Just try to start the Notes 8.5.2 Standard client (notes.exe), from within the client start the Designer. Then start Notes R5 using the nlnotes.exe.

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#47 Not sure why I didn't think of that. I suppose I was afraid that R5 wouldn't allow Designer to run in "Basic" mode. However, thank you. Using nlnotes for R5 does allow both of them to work.

What I did before was set the "Shortcut Links" to use the specific .exe path and specific .ini path. (ie C:\Lotus\Notes5\notes.exe "=C:\Lotus\Notes5\notes.ini") This worked until the current 8.5.2 release (maybe 8.5.1, but I skipped that one).

Thanks again - The Fonz
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#48 For your ease, create a shortcut to, set the matching data folder as working directory, optionally set one more icon and use this shortcut to start the Notes client. Gravatar Image
#49 hi,
I run the older Clients the same way, but i cann't do it with the notes8 standard client and the notes9 standard client.
Do you have any idea?
Please let me know.
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#50 Thank u very much profound explanation on the subject! Just a question: is the order of installation important Then Finish you job finally.Emoticon Emoticon Gravatar Image

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