Upgrading Notes client to V12 on Terminal Server

I worked with my friend and lady geek, Marianna Tomasatti, at a customer to perform an upgrade of the Notes client to V12.0.2 FP1 on Terminal Server Windows 2019 Datacenter (multi-user installation) because the Notes clients had some issues.

Since the previous version was V9, in the user’s home directory W: there was a folder named IBM, and the path to the client data directory was W:\IBM\Notes\Data.

V12 creates a directory named W:\HCL\Notes\Data when installing for the first time so what we expected was that launching the Notes client, the setup wizard started.

To our surprise, the client started normally and not in setup mode! We double checked and found that the notes.ini in the old W:\IBM\Notes\Data was used and the directory W:\HCL\Notes\Data was not created.

We could simply not understand why this behavior… so I put forward the wild idea “maybe the client tries to find a notes.ini in any directory and if it finds it, it uses that one”. Being like-minded, Marianna did not laugh at me, because she is a very experienced Notes administrator and has seen many strange things in her career so even the wildest of the ideas could have some possibility to work.

With the help of the customer Terminal Server administrator, we checked what files the client was trying to open and we found out that it tries, in order


And if it finds the notes.ini file in there, uses it.

This makes sense, since the naming of the default directories of Notes/Domino have changed over time from Lotus to IBM and now to HCL, but we did not know that the client tried to find the notes.ini in those directories!

The solution was then to rename W:\IBM to W:\IBM_username because the client would not check a directory with that name.

In fact, after the rename, we launched the Notes client again and the setup wizard started.

The new HCL Software Download Portal

Personally I do not know a single person in the Domino community that is happy with the actual Flexnet download site to get the kits of the various HCL products. There are many issues, and I won’t go into details here, but is enough to say that many people have complained. The good news is that HCL is listening and acting.

HCL made a quiet introduction of the new Software Download Portal allowing initially access only to the participants of the Domino V14 beta program. The feedback was good, so they now added all the Domino and related product versions, and the access is open to anyone that has the credentials for the Flexnet old site.
The splash screen still shows the warning that the site is open only for the V14 beta, but is not true anymore

Once logged in you will see this screen

And if you select “HCL Domino” you will see that all the various products are there for you to download, obviously according to the entitlement you have.

For example if you select Domino, you have the options to download V11.0.1 or V12 and the relative Fixpacks and Interim Fixes

Download is very fast and on the various product pages there are links to the documentation and system requirements.

This is definitely a big improvement that will make our life much easier when we need to find and get a install kit.

Kudos to HCL for listening to the community and resolving a problem that made us unhappy.