How to Decrypt NSF File in Lotus Notes? – A Complete Guide

Ritu Roy | email migration fix How to's Software Technology | 4 minutes read | Last updated on July 11th, 2023,
decrypt nsf file

You can need to decrypt these NSF files if you’re a network or mail administrator. If an NSF file belonged to an employee who has since left the company, you must have access to its contents in particular. Additionally, if you want to move data from Notes to Outlook, you might need to decrypt it. Continue reading to see how to decrypt an NSF file in Lotus Notes using several methods.

Your data is protected by built-in security in every email client, and Lotus Notes is no different. Even though Outlook’s security features are less robust, they can nonetheless provide a minimum level of security. Encryption is one such functionality. In essence, encryption is used for all NSF files that are uploaded for archiving to local NSF archives. To make sure that only the Content Collector who is in charge of archiving may access the files posted to the archive, this is done. No one will be able to open the NSF files that other users have posted.

You might need to decrypt these NSF files if you’re a network or mail administrator. If the NSF file belonged to a worker who has left the company, you must have access to its contents. Additionally, if you want to move data from Notes to Outlook, you may need to decrypt it.

Continue reading to see how to decrypt an NSF file in Lotus Notes using several methods.

Utilize the API features.

The API functions for encrypted files can be used if you have programming experience in C and C++. To determine whether an NSF file is encrypted, use the API function NSFDbIsLocallyEncrypted in the C programming language. The file is not, however, decrypted by this function.

LNNotesSession is a function in the C++ programming language that functions similarly.CreateDatabaseCopy. Three database parameters (DBOptions) are required by this method, including one for explicitly decrypting the contents of an NSF file.

The name of that parameter is DBOptions.


The drawback of this function is that it generates a new NSF file whose contents can be read. Even while it would seem like a simple solution, the extra files might consume a lot of storage space. Additionally, it takes time to perform this API function for each NSF file individually.

Decryption manually

Decrypting each NSF file by manually is the second choice. To accomplish this, you must deactivate encryption while opening each NSF file while using its ID. The precise stages are:

  • To open an encrypted NSF file, the user’s login ID and password are necessary.
  • Once you have this information, use it to access the NSF file that has been encrypted.
  • Deselect the “Strong encryption” checkbox in the program properties by navigating there.
  • Moreover, choose “Compact database” from the menu.
  • Last but not least, shut down Lotus Notes as well as the program properties and the file.
  • The NSF file can now be read by opening it in Notes.

Although manual decryption may appear to be a simple other options, it is nearly impossible to implement if you work in a company that has a large number of encrypted NSF files.

Additionally, if the user’s ID contains a shared or named encryption key, this option won’t function. The only solution is to build an agent or API software that opens every file in the database and makes calls to NSFNoteUpdate and NSFNoteDecrypt on each one.

As you can see, this method of decrypting files is not the most effective one. It takes a lot of time, to start. Even if you choose the agent or API option, it can consume a lot of system resources, which could hinder your application’s ability to operate effectively.

Third-Party Tools for NSF File Content Extraction

Using third-party NSF to PST converter programs, like CubexSoft NSF Converter, is the simplest choice given the complexity of the abovementioned techniques. Data can be reliably extracted from an encrypted or even partially corrupted NSF file using the software. The CubexSoft program has the benefit of allowing you to make the necessary selections through a GUI while all the complicated processing is being done in the background.

Some solutions can even show you what data has been extracted from an NSF file so you can decide whether you want to move it to another format, such as PST, MSG, EML, PDF, or even HTML files that open in Outlook. Additionally, you can utilize these tools to move data from Lotus Notes to a Microsoft 365 account or an existing Outlook account.

So, when comparing the various methods for decrypting NSF files, utilizing CubexSoft NSF File Converter is unquestionably the simplest and most efficient method. Such tools even allow you to decrypt numerous files at once.

Final Words

In conclusion, NSF files that are stored in shared folders for archiving are decrypted by Lotus Notes. Other users cannot view other users’ NSF files because to this built-in security feature. Decrypting these files, nevertheless, can be a laborious operation for a network administrator. The C and C++ computer language’s API function calls are one choice, although their decryption capabilities are frequently constrained. Altering each file’s properties individually is an additional choice. Large batches of NSF files can’t be handled in this way since it takes too long. Given these restrictions, the most straightforward choice is to utilize a third-party application like CubexSoft NSF to PST Converter, which can securely extract the contents of an encrypted NSF. You can also transfer this content to other formats.