Last updated on January 16th, 2024 at 04:10 pm

NSF files are the database files of IBM Notes which store mailboxes including contacts, emails, tasks, drafts, calendars, journals, etc. Lotus Notes is one of the smartest email clients. This helps the users to save their files and it works with the collaboration of Lotus Domino Server.

Understanding Lotus Notes error

There is a situation when you perform basic functions like opening, managing, editing, modifying, etc but you can’t execute it in your system and an error message is displayed on the screen. The message can be the following:-  “You are not authorized to access the Database Lotus Notes”. It means that the administrator has not been given the right to access the data of that particular NSF file.

Authentication rights will be provided by admin according to the role of the person in an organization. If you still do not get permission from your owner and try to access that NSF file, then a message will be shown on your display- “You are not authorized to access the database Lotus Notes”.

Access Control List

Now, you can resolve this issue with different methods. There is a feature in the Lotus Notes file, that is Access Control List (ACL) which works as a security in this error. NSF Data files are present in local securities and encryption, & ACL manages and controls them. Everyone wants to keep their Lotus Notes NSF file data safely including different items. In this case, ACL helps us to save our all data from unauthorized access, usage, and data piracy.

But if this issue still persists then it is an error and you need to fix it as soon as possible. In this segment, we will discuss the causes and solutions to resolve this error without any hassle.

The root cause for “You are not authorized to access the database Lotus Notes”

The above errors can occur while opening a document, so we will capture various aspects in this segment that one needs to deal with to fix the issue systematically.

  1. Chances are there that the user account that is trying to log in to the system does not exist in the Domino server.
  2. This is also possible that a specific user account is present in another Domino Server due to migration.
  3. The common reason for this authorization error is the fact that one does not have proper permission to admin account to open the mail file. One more reason that is quite probable is, if the admin account has taken the permission to open the mailbox but only for a few NSF files due to some issue in permission settings.

You can only replace the security of this error in the presence of an administrator or an authorized person but when it is urgent to access a file users can use multiple methods to solve this problem. To open this NSF database file, certain permissions are applicable.

Resolution for Lotus notes error message-  “You are not authorized to access the database”

This kind of unexpected error message can make anyone frustrated. Also, the frequency of this is high. Even if you can say most of this error occurs then one needs to open an NSF file in the absence of an administrator. So, in that case, some errors will be shown on your display like you are not authorized to perform that operation, Not authorized to access Lotus Notes Database, You are not authorized to that database, etc. To get rid of the problem and to overcome with that let us see the solutions to resolve this error.

Steps to troubleshoot

  1. There must be an account in the directory of the Domino server, to fix the problems
  2. If you see that the user has a domino server, but it does not exist in the admin account. Then follow these steps to resolve it:
  • Check out the location of the user account, then you have to generate/initiate a new admin account on the same Domino Server.
  • You have to enable all the permissions explicitly (manually) from the new admin account, by providing manager access to the files in the mailbox.
  • At last, with the help of a new admin account of IBM Lotus Notes, start migrating the mailbox items.
  1. You have to make sure that you have granted to the admin account with correct permissions.
  •  It should be confirmed that the admin account has the potential and permission to open the mail file.
  •  If you directly open the mail file directory and after checking that, if the error still occurs on your screen in that case, grant the manager level access to the mail file by admin account. For quick access to the NSF file, validate all the permissions to fix this Lotus Notes error of authorization.


Following the entire process can be a little tough for a person who is not aware of the technical process. Even changing the permission can make the entire database inaccessible, if any small mistake happens in the procedure.

Ultimate solution

You can use a diligent NSF file recovery Tool to fix the error without putting much effort. When you urgently need to open the NSF database file and the admin is not present due to any reason. At that time you can try this third-party tool presented by eSoftTools. This can help to complete the task most simply. It will not affect encryption and password protection which applies to the database.

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So, the reason why all business enterprises use Lotus Notes for mailing and other official work is because it is a safe and secure way. But sometimes the messages indicating exceptions and errors can act as a hurdle to access information. One such error is “You are not authorized to access the database”. Anyone can reliably resolve this issue with manual methods. And you can save your precious time by using third-party tools to resolve your problem permanently. I hope this article will help you. 

Also read: How to resolve entry not in found in index Lotus Notes error

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