Open Mic Replay and Q&A: Understanding and Troubleshooting Unread Marks in Notes/Domino - 10 January 2012



IBM hosted an Open Mic webcast with Lotus Development and Support Engineers on the topic of "Understanding and Troubleshooting Unread Marks in Notes/Domino". The Q&A transcript and recording are now posted


IBM hosted an Open Mic webcast on "Understanding and Troubleshooting Unread Marks in Notes/Domino". This document includes a list of questions and answers from the session, as well as, the recording of the call and a presentation.

There are also some questions and answers on this topic posted to the Notes/Domino forum in this forum post.

For more information about our Open Mic webcasts, visit the IBM Collaboration Solutions Support Open Mics page.

Questions and Answers:

Q: Where is the table of unread marks located?

A: The unread table is stored in the NSF database and on memory.

Q: Is there any way to get the read and unread marks back in sync between clustermates without making a new replica of the mail file?

A: The most effective way is to unstack the icons on the workspace, select the two replicas, then you have a menu option to exchange unread marks. The reason why it is difficult to do is that the tables themselves are ID tables and NoteIDs are specific to database replicas. Any time that tables have to be merged across replicas, we have to do a conversion and that is a difficult process.

Q. We want to optimize performance by disabling unread marks but notice that the Discover Folders option no longer works. Why?"

A. The Discover Folders option relies on unread marks. SPR #RGAU8CBL9Q was created as an enhancement to decouple the features.

Q: What should be done when you see a message on server console about "Unread activity log corrupt" (reactive/proactive).

A: You'd want to run FIXUP in that case and then replicate with another replica that has undamaged activity logs.

Q: Where can we find the dumpunread.exe tool?

A: Dumpunread is an internal tool. If you have a PMR, Support can direct you in its use. As far as I know, it is not available generally.

Q: Have any other BlackBerry shops encountered challenges with the processors on their Domino servers running the nBES Task associated with the Unread count ?

A: In Support we've seen a few similar PMRs. My understanding is that the most recent releases of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) may improve their performance when reconciling unread counts.

Q: How do I set default unread marks to cluster to all servers so I don't have to set it manually for each user?

A: On the template; the SetOption LotusScript method can be used to set this option.

Q: Is there a command to fix the unread marks going backward, if it was just turned on and wasn't running previously?

A: There is no command to retroactively track unread marks.

Q: When I replace a template, the unread marks appears to be reset. Why would this happen?

A: The template design doesn't impact the underlying ID table holding the unread information, so it sounds like a transient display issue. Try deleting CACHE.NDK as part of a restart, to see if that fixes it.

Q: If DEBUG_SCR_DISABLED=1 is set, will Unread marks still sync between servers?

A: Unread marks will still sync. Disabling Streaming Cluster Replication reverts the cluster replicator's algorithm to the pre-8.0 implementation.

Q: Does accessing a mail file from different machines with different copies of a Notes ID affect the Unread marks table?

A: The ID table is string-based, so "User/Acme" is recognized, regardless of the copy of the ID being used.

Q. Why wouldn't the unread mark replicate properly between mail servers despite the Replicate unread Mark is set to All Servers in database properties? How to resolve for multiple mail files instead of unstacking and sync one at a time on workspace?

A. There can be several reasons. It is possible to set REPL_SYNC_ALL_UNREAD=1 to sync them, making sure to be at 8.5.3 FP1. Also, unread mark replication synchronizes the activity log. If the activity log doesn't include operations for notes in the unread ID table, the table won't get updated.

Q: We have a mail cluster. In a case of a fail over, the user will not have a well synchronized mail database. Especially the older emails when he didn’t used the cluster replica for a couple of month. Is the age of an unread document an issue? I know you can unstack the DB icons, and manually synchronize unread as a workaround from the user side, but is there a workaround from admin/server side? Like a console command?

A. You can add the Notes.ini, REPL_SYNC_ALL_UNREAD=1; however, this is very resource intensive when replicating. Also, make sure to go to 8.5.3 FP1. as there is a known issue with that Notes.ini in prior releases.

Q: We have a number of documents I have put into folders and they come back into the inbox. We have maybe over 500 folders. Domino and Traveler Server 8.5.3 and BES 8.5.1.

A: There is a known issue with BlackBerry when there are more than 200 folders where docs are moved to folders will come back to inbox. For more information see Technote# 1409102: Documents that have been moved to personal folders are returning to the Inbox or RIM document KB19130: Filed email messages are moved back to the inbox when wireless reconciliation occurs

Q. I have a BlackBerry and an iPad, and started having serious issues when I got a new Blackberry Bold 9900. Now many emails that I've read will turn Unread, and emails put in folders will go back into Inbox. If I don't use my BlackBerry or iPad, this doesn't happen, but when I sync either device, the issue reoccurs. I do have a PMR open but as previously noted, running dumpunread crashed the server.

A. My recommendation is to make an OS copy of a database to your client and run dumpunread there. Also, you should consider temporarily disabling streaming cluster replication on your server. SPR# RMAS8HN2KV may be applicable to your environment.

Q. Do both the client and server have to be at 8.5.2 FP4 to have the unread fix addressing IDTableDifferences in SPR #RMAS8HN2KV?

A. Just the server.

Q: We use the Admin Client to create an accelerated replica from one Domino 8.5.2 server to another in a cluster, we have it set to replicate unread marks on all servers, and we find inconsistent results when the user checks their unread marks on the new replica. What do you suggest for fixing this?

A: Try adding the parameter ADMINP_EXCHANGE_ALL_UNREAD_MARKS=1 to your server NOTES.INI.

Q: What scenario would cause this error: REPLICA: Error during synchronization of unread lists for user [CN=User One/O=Acme/C=US]: You are not authorized to perform that operation

A: Try adding REPL_SYNC_ALL_UNREAD=1 to the server NOTES.INI. Also, you should probably use some of the DEBUG_UNREAD settings; specifically, DEBUG_UNREAD=4 is a good starting point.

Q: Please explain the unread process as it relates to a user rename.

A: When a user gets renamed, once the user accepts the rename, several requests will be generated in AdminP. One is a request to update the unread table for the user. It will grab the user name and create a new one for the new user name. This is a daily request that occurs at midnight, so there may be a delay between when the user logs in and when the table gets refreshed. For that reason, there may be some unexpected unread marks, but it should be resolved the next day.

Q: We have a user whose unread marks intermittently will change back to unread in batches of about 50 emails, for no apparent reason. It is only one user experiencing this. They are on Notes 8.5.3 Citrix client with Domino 8.5.2 FP3 server, also using BES 5.0.3. We tested having this person test on only one client, but they are still having the same problem. What could be causing this?

A: SPR# RMAS8HN2KV covers this issue. The quick description is that if there is a NoteID in the unread ID table which is "misaligned", it can result in many documents being marked read or unread all at once on a random basis. It depends on the way the NoteID gets hit at the time of the updates are made. We do not yet know the cause, but it is most likely caused by something going on in one of the 3rd parties, but we don't know yet. We have changed the way the ID tables are merged together so that even if there is this kind of condition that it won't present a problem like this. A fix went into Notes/Domino 8.5.3 and into 8.5.2 FP4.

Q: How do unread marks work for BlackBerry users?

A: The BlackBerry software manages displaying the unread marks to handhelds and then manages taking updates from handhelds and pushing them back into the Domino server. It uses the standard C API calls to merge changes in the unread ID table.

Q: When we upgraded our mail boxes to ODS 51, we had a number of users that had corruption in the unread chunks (from the activity log) and saw a lot of these chunks get removed. What are these about? What is actually corrupted and what is it seeing that actually gets removed?

A: The chunk that you are describing is the structure of the unread activity log itself. The activity log is organized into what is referred to as chunks, or for a given user, we do not keep the entire activity all in one big block of data. It is compartmentalized into these chunk data structures for efficiency when we are loading information about a given user, we can load only these little chunks of data piece by piece as needed. If there is some kind of corruption, it does not destroy the entire table.

Q: Using the Notes 8.5.1 client, when emails are delivered they are black and bolded. After reading it, they turn to plain text in grey, except for the user name. If you close Notes and reopen it and look at same message, then all of it appears as unbolded text. Is there a design flaw or where should we look for this?

A: When you read a document, you should see the entire line in the view go to unbolded. We have not seen a case where only part of the line remains bold faced, but it would probably be something within the column design for that inbox. Something to try: after you read the document and the name is still bold, if you drag a window over that and away, does that become unbolded, or if you hit F9 does it become unbolded? If so, then there is something skewed with what we think is unread versus what is in the UI. This may be something we have fixed since 8.5.1. If that doesn't fix it, open a PMR to have us take a look.

Q: Is there some plan to provide some unified unread mark list, not tied to IDs, so that mail-in databases or other customized databases we can track which messages are processed?

A: No plans at this time, but we can take that for consideration.

Q: We are running Traveler 8.5.3 and noticed a lot of users having trouble with unread marks on their devices. Is there any troubleshooting technotes or key indicators we can use to determine if it is on the Traveler side or Domino side?

A: We suggest using the debug_unread parameter on the Domino side to track when operations are being added into the mail file.





Unread Marks Open Mic Jan 10 2012 (edited).mp3

Unread Marks Open Mic Jan 10 2012 (edited).mp3

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