Lotus Notes has a feature of saving the documents to an encrypted database automatically. This enables the recovery of the items in the event of a system crash or a power outage. Once, the user finishes working on the document, after saving or discarding the document is removed from the database.

The work that is done after hours is lost due to the machine freezing all of a sudden or some other expected turn in events.

In the Autosave enabled Notes document, a timer event is set by the user to a local database. Therefore, in the event of a computer crash, the feature can recover lost lotus notes files.

The Autosave Design Features

The application design for Notes itself must have Autosave enabled with some design features like:

  • Autosave needs to be secure, so that no user information has the unencrypted status
  • Turning off and on the Autosave, as a part of the Administrator policy
  • Autosave has to be fast and able to avoid any extra server activity
  • If the Notes client fails due to some reason, recovery of the saved documents is must
  • The Autosave of documents must work at specified intervals, as stated by the user

Autosave Enabled on Client

Installation of Notes 7.0 does not have the Autosave option enabled by default. The reasons may be the user does not have enough knowledge on the Autosave but also the Autosave option is a time consuming activity on a slower machine. The User Preference Dialog is used for the activation of the Autosave.

The enable/disable is done through a checkbox and a field is used for the entry of the time interval. The interval is in the range of 1 min to 999 minutes.

There are three variables in the Notes.ini files of the client. The user preference settings correspond with these three variables. These variables are:


The AUTO_SAVE_ENABLE variable has 1 for Autosave enabled and 0 for disabled.

AUTO_SAVE_INTERVAL is for the setting of the Autosave interval.

AUTO_SAVE_USER is for the resolution of the naming conflicts.

Autosave Enabled on Form

A quiet save on an Autosave, can throw some emails or produce some errors as events, due to incomplete files. Therefore, events are not fired, while Autosaving of documents are used. If the form is dependent on these events, then the form refuses to work. To safeguard, a new Form Properties option is used to find whether the Autsosave option can be used.

The documents that are made from the forms can have the Allow Autosave option for Autosaving the document. This ensures that the Autosaved document can be recovered and this is only way. We can fail to load the document after the recovery option. The execution of the Save and Post Save events cannot occur, along with the Autosave option. $DontAutosave can be used for disabling Autosave for documents. If this is removed, then the document can again be Autosaved.

Normal Autosave Operations

There is a timer, which is started, when the document is opened. The disk activity is not there while a review of the document is done, but the timer starts, only while modifying the documents.

A quiet save is done by Autosave, without any events being fired. The additional fields in the Austosave database in the local disk, will lead to the recovery of the document, incase of any failure. One of these fields is the $AutoSaveDatabase which is for the database name in which the document resides. Another field is $AutoSaveNotesId and this denotes the Notes Id of the document.

Recovery of Autosave Document

The user preferences are set for saving the draft of a document at regular intervals. The local encrypted database actually contains the draft document, in the current form. The management of the document is done through the Notes Menu.

When the Notes client fails, then the after the client is restarted and the authentication is over, there is a method to check whether there are any documents in the Autosave database. A prompt is issued to the user, whether a recovery is wanted or not.

This process happens through the Unsaved Work dialog. If the user prompts with a Yes, then there is another dialog box, the Recover Unsaved Documents window stating the various recovery options.

Recover Unsaved Documents

This Recover Unsaved Documents window shows information like title of the document, pathname or filename of the original database, server name on which the database resides and autosaving time of the document.

We will not be able to recover the document, if we are unable to access the replica of the original database. In such a case, the recovery has to be tried, at a later date. If there are any modifications to the document, since the last Autosave, then the option of overwriting or keeping the new document is given to the user. Autosave does not save the document, after the recovery is completed. The document is opened in notes and the options for saving or discarding the changes appear.

Autosave Policy Document

The setting of the Autosave Option can be done by the administrator through an Autosave policy document, when the feature is enabled or disabled or same regular intervals are required between Autosaves.