Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SnTW - $Inbox, Don't mess with it

This is NOT a problem with 8.5.3, just about one mistake I made while upgrading, but it is about the $inbox folder itself.

While trying to edit my mail template, I ended up piecing wrong versions of code into it from an older version. In other words, I copied the $inbox to the new 8.5.3 template. Well, there's just one thing you see, I thought it was the template I pasted it to. It was my actual mail file. But I deleted teh original ($inbox) so the "new" one could go there.

Big mistake.

NEVER delete the ($inbox) folder from a mail file. You know why? Because none of the mails in your inbox will now have a home. That is correct, you have basically made orphans of your inbox mail. Of interest to you may be that any NEW mails appear fine, but the rest of the box is empty. Your mails are there, check the All Documents view, but they can no longer find their "home".

So how do you correct this?

It helps to have backups or in my case multiple replicated copies(server, desktop, netbook, etc..). Grab one before your bad changes got replicated. Now make a copy of the db, not a replica copy, just in case. Once done, copy and paste your inbox mail to the "bad" mail file. all will be good again. Clean up your FTI or delete them and rebuild all indices afterwards.

Replacing design will not fix it, nor will much else, in my case.
Afterward I found this IBM Technotes that can help:
1104973 How to rebuild a Notes mail inbox

My way included copying the good mail file all around would also work obviously. But you see the problem? If you didn't know it killed your inbox, it would replicate everywhere and you would be stuck to go hunt for your backups.

Once again replication saves the day. But no idea why that Technote didn't come up when I Googled for it.


  1. Been a long time, but I've been there too in the past.
    One thing learned was that it is OK to remove the $Inbox...IF you've done your prep work.
    By that I mean create a dummy folder to hold everything from Inbox first. Now you can delete the design element and add/modify as needed. Of course the final step is moving all items back from the dummy folder to your shiny, new Inbox.

  2. I haven't tested this yet but the All Documents view shows the folder for a given email document (based on @WhichFolders function). I wonder if that information remains when a folder is removed. If so, you could use that to identify the contents of the old "inbox" and drag-and-drop then back in the new one.

  3. Anonymous, thus my post, new admins may not understand this concept.

    Shean, In theory yes, BUT what if you had 100 or 1,000 messages in your inbox? not going to work well. BUT if it's your only copy and the technote code referenced above can't fix it, yes you could drag and drop it. I cut and paste chunks of email this way from all docs to inbox.

  4. How to rebuild a Notes mail inbox
    The Technote 1104973
    Has some code that will put everything back into the inbox from the ALL Documents folder. I used it on a clients mail file 2,300 odd documents and it worked like a charm

  5. The method: go to the good copy, do a CRTL+A in the inbox and then - Move to folder tmpInbox
    works very well. Replicate. The inbox will be empty bu you can drag them back from the tmpinbox easily.

    But deleting ($Inbox) from time to time and replacing the design seems like a pretty efficient way to cleanup :-)

    My Bet: most inboxes (short of the GTD practioneers) contain stuff that doesn't need to be there

  6. Thanks for the review of the technote, I have no doubt it works well, but I found it afterward.