(Mis)Adventures in Upgrading

I’ve had an incredibly frustrating few days trying to install Notes 9 on my secondary development machine. I’m sure that a clean installation/upgrade would have been fine, but I’m trying to maintain multiple versions on the machine and it just wouldn’t work like previous installations, where I would temporarily rename the latest version’s directory, let the installation process install into a different directory (while not finding anything in the previous directory to remove) and then restore the directory name of the previous version. R6, R7, and R8.5.2 clients and servers have co-existed peacefully for years, but Notes 9 does not appear to be a friendly neighbor.

Attempts #1-3 – Try What’s Worked Before

I started with what’s worked in the past — renaming my “current” version (8.5.2) directory to something that won’t be listed in registry keys so it would not be eradicated by the Notes 9 installation. Even with that, I set the installation directory to a different path (\Notes9\, because it would be silly for it to install in \Notes8\).

On my first attempt, it let me change the directory names and then started the installation process, unpacked files, ran for a few minutes, and then said it was rolling back and it went away.

On my second and third attempts, it wouldn’t even let me change the installation path away from the \Notes8\ path, but the end result was still the same. (The difference between the two attempts was that I right-clicked on the installation icon and chose “Run as Administrator” on the third one, but there was no difference.)

Attempt #4 – Shotgun Approach to the Registry

I hypothesized that, if I removed all references to Notes 8 in the windows registry, then Notes 9 might think it was doing a clean installation and it would leave the rest of my files alone. So I searched through the registry and removed just about everything that referred to Notes 8.

Bad idea.

My machine was still able to boot up, but I couldn’t so much as open a folder on the operating system without getting an error.


“System Restore is initializing…”. Music to my ears. (Thank you Windows7 for having creating a restore point earlier that morning!)

Attempt #5 — Scalpel Approach to the Registry. Success! But…

Of course, I went right back to hacking away at the registry, but with a fine-tuned approach. I only removed the entries that had to do with the Notes installation.

Success! R9 installed into it’s own directory! Client, Designer, Admin, and Server all work!

BUT…Notes 8.5.2 is not the same. It looks like R7.

I notice that it says it’s running the basic (i.e. non-eclipse) configuration.

After lots of searching the internet, I checked for properties like the Notes.ini setting UseBasicNotes=1. The parameter was not in notes.ini and even adding it (set to 0) didn’t make a difference. I also tried using the -sa parameter in the icon that launches Notes, but it had no effect.

So, I decided to try a different approach.

Attempts #6-8: Sideloading

It works for mobile devices, so I figured I’d give it a try. My plan was to perform a clean installation of 8.5.2 on my wife’s (then my son’s) laptop, then just copy the directories and icons over to my machine.

No joy.

Notes wouldn’t even start after any of those attempts.

End State

So, I’m back to where I was after attempt 5. Notes 8.5.2 FP1 client, designer, admin, and server will all run, but the clients all look like R7 because they’re stuck in basic mode.

At this point, if I want to modify and app that has to work in 8.5.2, I’ll need to use Notes 9 Designer and set the application level property to only use features that work up to that version.

I assume that will do the job, but I’m not happy about it.


I know, I know. I should be using separate VMs for each version and then I wouldn’t have this issue (and that is the way that my primary work machine is configured). It appears that’s approach I’ll have to take on my personal machine going forward as well.

But if you have any tips on how I can restore standard client mode for my 8.5.2 installation, please let me know!


One response to “(Mis)Adventures in Upgrading”

  1. Stephan H. Wissel says :

    The Notes client has quite some dependencies. All the Eclipse settings in the data directory carry the path – that’s probably why your installation is all hosed up. So you might try side loading and record also the registry keys if there’s anything missing – AND – the source of side loading *must* have the same directories as they will have on the target machine (I doubt it will work). So VM is the way to go.
    Pro Tip: In Win7++ you should follow the Microsoft idea where goes what (a.k.a. shared install) – Since Designer/Admin doesn’t offer shared install, peek at a normal client installation. Off my head it is C:\Program Files\IBM\Notes and C:\Users\{username}\IBM\Notes\Data ) – not C:\Notes C:\Notes\Data anymore.

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