Is Notes Running or Starting Up Very Slowly? This Might Be the Solution


Sometimes users are blaming Notes for problems that isn’t really Notes’ fault. Here’s how I fixed a ten minute startup time, for both my client and the Designer.

When I started in my new job back in December, I got a new ThinkPad which is very powerful. But I was surprised how slowly Notes started in the morning. It could sometimes take 10 minutes for Notes to start up. I was very puzzled, because on my private laptop it only took 10 seconds to start Notes.

Then I discovered that the Designer took forever to load all the Java libraries whenever I wanted to do some development on a Notes application. So it could take ten minutes before I could do any development as well. We are now talking 20 wasted minutes. This didn’t happen on my private laptop either.

Then one day a huge Windows update was rolled out from Microsoft, and then the same thing started happening on my private laptop as well. That’s when I realized it had to be something other than Notes, which it usually is when users complain about Notes. And one beautiful day I finally found out what it was.

To be fair, it was Christoph Adler from Panagenda who helped me with this. I turned out that the built-in virus protection in Windows Defender was the culprit. Every time you start Notes, especially if you have a lot of local replicas of your applications, it does quick read and writes to a lot of files in the Notes data directory. This triggers Windows Defender, which then slows down the startup of Notes.

My solution was to exclude the Notes folder and all subfolders from being scanned by Defender. I also told it to leave it’s processor stealing chubby fingers from several of my Notes processes as well.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to the Windows menu and start typing virus until you see Virus & threat protection appear:
    Virus & threat protection
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection. This window will open:
    Defender virus window
  3. Find Virus & threat protection settings:
    Virus protect settings
  4. Click on Manage settings. This screen will appear:
    Virus protection settings window
  5. Scroll down until you find the section called Exclusions:
  6. Click on Add or remove exclusions. This window will appear:
    Add or remove exclusions
  7. Click on + Add an exclusion:
    Add an exclusion
  8. Choose Folder
  9. An explorer window will open up. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\IBM and click on Notes:
    Choose Notes
    Note: If your Notes installation is in another folder, choose that folder instead!
  10. Click on the button Select Folder in the bottom of the Explorer window
  11. You will now be asked to verify if you really want to make this change. Click Yes
  12. The folder is now added to the list:
    Notes folder added
  13. Click on Add an exclusion again. This time choose File type:
    File type
  14. In the window that opens up, type in nsf:
  15. Click on Add
  16. You will now be asked to verify if you really want to make this change. Click Yes
  17. nsf is now added to the exclusion list
  18. Repeat steps 13-17 for the file types ndk and ntf as well. The list should now look like this:
    List of exclusions
  19. Click on Add an exclusion again. This time choose Process:
  20. In the window that opens up, type in nlnotes.exe:
  21. Click on Add
  22. You will now be asked to verify if you really want to make this change. Click Yes
  23. nlnotes.exe is now added to the exclusion list
  24. Repeat steps 19-23 for the processes notes.exe, notes2.exe, nsd.exe, nslvice.exe and ntaskldr.exe as well. The list should now look like this:
    Full list
  25. That’s it. Notes should hopefully no longer be running slowly.

This worked for me and I hope this is of use to you. I also fixed it for my boss this way. There’s not a big risk in doing this, as there is very little chance that this is where virus threats will come.

15 thoughts on “Is Notes Running or Starting Up Very Slowly? This Might Be the Solution”

  1. Great hint, many thanks!!!
    Just one thing: what is “nslvice.exe”? Can’t find it on my machine, never heard of it in 25 years of Domino Dev. A typo maybe?

    1. nslvice.exe is a Windows service that runs on a lot of Windows machines. It can interfere with Notes, and especially Domino servers, and if you add virus scanning, it will slow the client down. If it’s not on your computer, you can just skip adding it. I just do it automatically now.

  2. One other thing: what would really be interesting is the question why defender (or any other antivirus agent) should be acting so badly on Notes 10 but not on previous versions? Until I updated from 9.0.1 FP 9 to 10.0.1 nearly 2 months ago Notes was not really blazingly fast but would still have *much* lower startup times without settings exclusions in defender…

    1. For me this problem started in Notes 9.0.1 FP9. After the first Windows update that took place after installing 9.0.1 FP9, that’s when this started for me. I don’t think it really is the Notes version, it was an upgrade of Defender that started this.

  3. Hi Hogne,

    together with MarvelClient Upgrade (Full, not Free) you can also use the following:

    InstallText=Configuring Windows Defender
    InstallExec=powershell -inputformat none -outputformat none -NonInteractive -Command “Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath ‘%MCU_NotesProgramDirectoryNew%'”
    InstallText=Configuring Windows Defender
    InstallExec=powershell -inputformat none -outputformat none -NonInteractive -Command “Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath ‘%MCU_NotesProgramDirectoryNew%’, ‘%MCU_NotesDataDirectoryNew%'”


    1. Thanks for that tip! I will include that in our installation package. We use the full Marvel client.

  4. My administrator would do very bad things to me, if I would only propose to exclude exe files and the Notes program directory from virus scanning.

    Perhaps you should add “C:\Program Files (x86)\IBM\Notes\framework” and “C:\Program Files (x86)\IBM\Notes\Data\workspace” instead. These are the two directories with MANY small files and jars, which are probably responsible for the slowness you experienced.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      usually, end users do not have write permissions in the program directory, so excluding it could well be ok for them.
      I assume you have administrative rights, so you are right that one should be more than careful there – hence Hogne described process, rather than folder exclusions.

      I am unsure why nsf/ntf/ndk need to be excluded given that they should be covered implicitly through the process definition.

      Either way, the right combination of exclusions around the extensions nsf/ntf/ndk/xml(!)/properties and above processes help for sure.

      1. Yeah, I might have done a bit of overkill on what I included. I just needed to be sure and cover all my bases, I guess. 🙂

    2. He he, Thomas As Florian points out, most end users don’t have write permissions to those folders. But you’re right, your solution will most likely work just as well. You can include or exclude any folders you like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.