How to Decrypt NSF File in Lotus Notes?
Summary: As a network or mail administrator, you may have to decrypt these NSF files. In particular, you need access to the data of the NSF file if it belongs to an employee who has left the organization. Also, you may have to decrypt when you want to migrate data from Notes to Outlook. Read on as we show you the different ways to decrypt an NSF file in Lotus Notes.
Every email client has built-in security to protect your data, and Lotus Notes is no exception. Though the security mechanisms are not extensive as Outlook, still, it can give a basic layer of protection. One such feature is encryption. Essentially, all NSF files that are uploaded to their local NSF archives for archiving are encrypted. This is done to ensure that only Content Collector that’s responsible for archiving can access the files uploaded to the archive. This way, no one can open the NSF files uploaded by other users.
As a network or mail administrator, you may have to decrypt these NSF files. In particular, you need access the contents of the NSF file if it belongs to an employee who has left the organization. Also, you may have to decrypt when you want to migrate data from Notes to Outlook.
Read on as we show you the different ways to decrypt an NSF file in Lotus Notes.
Use the API functions
If you’re familiar with C and C++ programming, you can use the API functions for encrypted files. In C programming language, use the API function called NSFDbIsLocallyEncrypted to check if an NSF file is encrypted. However, this function doesn’t decrypt the file.
Similarly, in C++ programming language, there is a function called LNNotesSession.CreateDatabaseCopy. This function takes three database parameters (DBOptions), including a parameter to specifically decrypt the contents of an NSF file.
That parameter is called DBOptions.
However, the catch is that this function creates a new NSF file, where the contents are in a form that you can read. While this may seem like an easy option, the additional files can take up a ton of space. At the same time, it’s time-consuming as well to individually call this API function for every NSF file.
The second option is to manually decrypt every NSF file. For this, you will have to open each NSF file with its ID and deselect encryption. The exact steps are:
- The user’s login ID and password are required to open an encrypted NSF file.
- Once you get this information, use these credentials to open the encrypted NSF file
- Navigate to application properties and deselect the option called “Strong encryption.”
- Also, select the option called “Compact database.”
- Finally, close the application properties, the file, and even Lotus Notes.
- Now, open the NSF file in Notes and you can read its contents.
Though manual decryption may seem like an easy option, it’s almost impossible to implement if you’re working in an organization with hundreds of thousands of encrypted NSF files.
Also, this option will not work if there’s a shared or named encryption key that exists within the user’s ID. The only option is to create an agent or an API program that will open all the documents in the database, and call both the NSFNoteDecrypt and NSFNoteUpdate call on each.
As you can see, this is not the most efficient way to decrypt files. For one, it is extremely time-consuming. Even if you use the agent or API option, it can take up a lot of system resources, which can impact the efficient functioning of your systems.
Third-party Tools for Extracting the Contents of an NSF File
Given the complexities in the above methods, the easiest option is to use third-party NSF to PST converter tools, such as Stellar Converter for NSF. The software can safely extract data from an encrypted or even a partially corrupted NSF file. A good part about the Stellar tool is that all the complex processing happens in the background, while you, as a user, can make the required selections through a GUI.
Some tools even display the extracted contents from an NSF file, so you can decide if you want to move specific data to other formats like PST, MSG, EML, PDF, and even HTML files that open on Outlook. As a bonus, you can also use these tools to migrate data from Lotus Notes to Microsoft 365 account or Existing Outlook account.
Thus, when you compare the available options for decrypting NSF files, using Stellar Converter for NSF is undoubtedly the easiest and quickest option. With such tools, you can even decrypt multiple files in one go.
To conclude, Lotus Notes decrypts the NSF files that are placed in the shared folders for archiving. This is a natural security mechanism that prevents other users from accessing the NSF files belonging to other users. However, as a network administrator, decrypting these files can be an arduous task. One option is to use the API function calls in C and C++ programming, but they are often limited in how much they are decrypted. Another option is to manually open each file and change its settings. This is too time-consuming and impractical for large batches of NSF files. Given these constraints, the easiest option is to use a third-party tool like Stellar Converter for NSF that can safely extract the contents of an encrypted NSF file and display them for you. Additionally, you can even move this content to other formats.