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HCL Notes is a product that allows users to create and manage emails. It uses database functionality for storing and managing information. Notes files are typically saved as .nsf files. End-users are frequently looking for ways to back up their IBM Notes data and with good reason.

If your server crashes or you lose your Notes data for some other reason, you’ll need a way to restore it. In this post, we’ll show you how to back up your IBM Notes NSF files. We’ll also recommend a third-party tool that can help you protect your data better.

Why Backup HCL Notes (NSF) File?

When it comes to backing up your data, there is no such thing as being too cautious. Your HCL Notes (NSF) files contain a wealth of information that you rely on every day, so it’s crucial to have a robust backup strategy in place to protect them.

There are many reasons why you should regularly backup your NSF files. Here are just a few:

  • To prevent data loss: If something happens to your original NSF files, having backups will ensure you can still access your data.
  • To preserve data integrity: Over time, data can become corrupted or lost due to software glitches, hardware failures, or other unexpected events. Backing up your NSF files on a regular basis helps to ensure that you have a clean copy of your data in case something goes wrong.
  • For disaster recovery: In the event of a major disaster, having backups of your NSF files can help you get your business back up and running quickly.
  • To save time and money: Restoring lost or corrupted data can be a time-consuming and expensive process. By backing up your NSF files regularly, you can avoid the hassle and expense of having to recreate lost data.

Backing up your NSF files is an essential part of any good data management strategy. By taking the time to create regular backups, you can protect your data from loss, corruption, and other unforeseen events.

How Can We Backup HCL Notes (NSF) File?

We are going to list some methods which can help you to back up the NSF files on your hard drive. These are the different solutions for the backup:
Native Solutions includes the following methods:

  1. Archiving HCL Notes emails
  2. Saving Notes emails to EML/HTML/PDF formats
  3. Exporting Notes emails to CSV file
  4. Backing up Notes NSF file to PST with Kernel for Lotus Notes to Outlook

Now, let us start discussing the solutions in detail.

  1. Archiving HCL Notes Emails

    There can be many other reasons why you might want to archive your HCL Notes emails. Maybe you’re running out of space on your email server, or you need to free up some space on your local hard drive. Whatever the reason, archiving is a great way to keep your emails safe and sound.

    The process of archiving emails is actually quite simple. All you need to do is export your emails from HCL Notes into an IBM Notes NSF file. This file can then be stored anywhere you like – on an external hard drive, in the cloud, etc. – and can be imported back into HCL Notes at any time. Here is how:

    1. Start the HCL Notes application. On the menu bar, click on the Actions tab and select Archive > Create Criteria.
    2. In the Create Archive Criteria window, enter a name for the Archive folder under the Descriptive name of these archive criteria option, select the checkbox Enable this criteria, and click the Selection Criteria option tab.
    3. Enter a name for Archive folder

    4. Select the NSF files with their folders and click OK.Select NSF File
    5. You can modify the default location of the archive file under Copy documents into my archive application here, then clean up the application. Go to the Schedule tab on the Archive Settings page and decide the days and time for archiving.Copy documents into my archive application
    6. The last step is to move to the Actions tab on the menu bar and select the Archive > Archive Now option. The archiving will get started.
  2. Saving Notes Emails to EML/HTML/PDF Format

    This method can be used to save selected emails from the Notes NSF file to your system drives. It can be saved into three other file formats- EML, HTML, or PDF. Here is the process-

    1. Start the HCL Notes application and move all the emails for the backup to a separate folder.
    2. Now, drag and drop the emails from the application to a system folder. The emails will get saved with .eml files. Collect them in a separate folder as backup.
    3. If you want to save these EML files in HTML format, go to your Outlook application and open these EML files there. Then, select these files and move to File > Save as and select the option HTML to save it in HTML format.

    It is easy to save these HTML files to PDF format after opening them with the Word application. Open Word document and go to the File > Save As option. Now, select the .pdf format to save the HTML files.

    Hence, Notes messages can be saved in all three formats – EML, HTML, and PDF.

  3. Exporting Notes Emails to CSV File
    Launch the Notes email client and open all the NSF files which you want to backup. Go to File > Export option. Provide a saving location for the NSF file, and under Save as type option, select the Comma Separated Value option, and click Export. It will save the NSF files data in CSV file format at the specified location. Later, you can import the CSV file with NSF data into Outlook using its Import/Export feature.
  4. Backing Up Notes NSF File to PST with Third Party Software
    This is the most secure and reliable method to back up HCL Notes NSF files. Kernel for Lotus Notes to Outlook exports NSF files data directly to Outlook PST file. It allows adding and saving both local and Domino Server files to PST format. Advanced filter options integrated into this software helps for selective backup of NSF data. Apart from the backup of Notes data to Outlook file, the tool migrates Lotus Notes data to Exchange Server destination as well. Let us check out the local NSF files backup process by this application. Visit the tool website and install the application on your system. Then perform the following steps.
  1. Launch the application and click on Add Local NSF file(s).Add Local NSF file(s)
  2. Select the desired number of NSF files for migration from your system folder and add them for migration.Select NSF files
  3. To view the preview of NSF file content, select any added NSF file, and click the Preview option.preview of NSF file content
  4. The NSF file mailbox will be displayed along with all its mailbox folders. Click any folder item to view its content preview, and then click the Back option.Click on back option
  5. To start the backup process, click Migrate.start the backup process
  6. Select Outlook PST as the saving option and click OK.Select Outlook PST as saving option
  7. Map and add the destination path for the PST files on your system and click OK.add the destination path
  8. Add filters like Split PST, Date Range, Categories, Folder Filters, etc., and click OK.Apply filters
  9. Select the desired saving mode, message mark read/unread options, and click OK.Select the desired saving mode
  10. The backup process will start and get complete soon. Click on the highlighted link to directly access the folder where your backup PST files are saved.backup process
Which Method is Better for NSF Backup?

Now, it is our responsibility to make you aware of the shortcomings of the native solutions to let you decide the best solution. The archiving feature saves the NSF data into a file with the same extension, which can be used in the Notes client only and needs conversion further. For this, we have some free methods to convert NSF files to PST files, but these solutions are unreliable. Also, exporting NSF emails to PDF, EML, HTML, and CSV formats is a long procedure. Also, this method is difficult when there are many emails for backup. So, choose the best solution as per your requirements:

  • It migrates multiple NSF files in several batches.
  • It can migrate emails based on date range and various other categories.
  • It maintains the read and unread status of each message.
  • A special preview mode provides a clear detail of NSF file item before conversion.
  • It saves NSF files in PST as well as several other formats.
  • It creates a migration log.
  • It can migrate data from IBM SmartCloud™ Notes® as well.
  • The PST file is accessible with every version of MS Outlook.


IBM Notes is a widely used email client and personal information manager. While it is known for its reliability, users should always take precautions to protect their data. This includes backing up their NSF files on a regular basis. In this post, we have outlined the easiest methods for doing so- all of which are easy and straightforward.

If you are looking for an alternate way to secure your IBM Notes NSF files, our tool is the perfect solution. Moreover, the software comes with a free trial version that allows users to convert the first 10 items from each folder of the selected NSF file. So don’t wait any longer – download our free trial version today.

Experts Reviews

“These days email migration has turned out to be a common requirement as many businesses are changing their email clients to avail modern features – for example, from Notes to MS Outlook. This can be accomplished only through a professional email migration tool. That is why email migration tools like this one have become popular.”

William Diaz

Srikaanth P A

“We migrated from IBM Notes to MS Outlook the last January. We used the Kernel application to migrate old, and archived Notes emails to Outlook. Once the emails were in the PST format, we were able to add them to the Outlook archive.”

Holly Frantz

Holly Frantz
Senior Director of Information Services

Kernel for Lotus Notes to Outlook
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