IBM Support

Error: 'You cannot use the Administration program while the Domino server is running'

Technote (FAQ)


The Lotus Notes program files are installed locally on a user's workstation, while the data files are stored on a file server. When the user attempts to launch Notes, however, one of the following errors appear:

    "You cannot use the Administration program while the Domino Server is running. Either shut down the Domino Server (but keep the file server running) or choose the icon labeled 'Lotus Notes' instead."


    "Notes cannot use the administration program while running a Domino server. Close the server (but leave the file server open) or select the Lotus Notes Icon."

This error message is misleading as the user is attempting to start the Notes client and not the Administration program. Why does this error occur?


Possible causes for this error are listed below:

  • The "Directory=" line in the notes.ini file on the user's workstation points to an incorrect Notes data directory on the server. To work around the issue, correct the Directory= path in the notes.ini and restart Notes.
  • The file server is holding locks on one or more of the files stored in the Notes data directory (e.g., the bookmark.nsf, names.nsf, or cache.dsk.) This might occur if the Notes client crashes and the user attempts to relaunch Notes. Since the files are kept open by the file server, Notes cannot access them during startup and thus the error displays. Typically, this issue is resolved when the file server is rebooted.
  • The user does not have appropriate rights to the Notes program directory, including the Data directory, on their workstation. Notes requires write access to the program directory and its subdirectories. For example, the user was logged into Windows XP as a restricted user, and the Notes data directory was local to the machine. To resolve the issue on this machine, the security settings on the Lotus\Notes folder were set to give Full Control to the Users group. If Full Control is not desired, Modify and Write permissions can be given under the Security Settings as follows:

    1. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the c:\Program Files directory.
    2. Right-click on the "Lotus" directory and select Properties.
    3. Click on the Security tab.
    4. Under the Name section, click on the account that is named Users (machine name\Users).
    5. In the permissions section, under the Allow column, put a checkmark in the Modify box. The Allow box for the Write section should also automatically check itself.
    6. Click OK.
  • The user does not have appropriate rights to the Temp directory on the workstation. To resolve the issue, make sure the user has administrator rights to the temporary directory
  • In one case where a multi-user version of Notes is installed, the above error was caused by a corrupt "Default User" Windows profile on the machine. Existing profiles on the machine worked as expected, but any new profile created resulted in the same problem. (The "Default User" profile is used as a template when a new profile is created.) To fix this issue for any new operating system profile, copy the "Default User" profile from a good machine to the problem machine. To fix this issue for a specific user, create a new operating system profile on another machine and copy that profile to the problem machine.

Related information

A simplified Chinese translation is available

Document information

More support for: IBM Notes

Software version: 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 8.0, 8.5

Operating system(s): Windows

Reference #: 1108555

Modified date: 2007-08-29