How to load the Domino Designer or Administrator if IT does not want you to

by Volker Weber

With the R5 release Lotus split the Domino Designer and Domino Administrator from the Notes Client. There were now three program icons, seperate designer.exe and admin.exe files in the program directory and two extra icons for the Designer and the Administrator client in the bookmarks bar. "Enterprise" administrators finally had a way to take away Notes' rapid application development from the regular users.

It was all smoke and mirrors. There was no separate Designer or Adminstrator clients. Power users found out that those clients shared the same code with the Notes client. When Notes was showing the hourglass, so did Designer or Administrator.

People soon found out that you only need to copy designer.exe and admin.exe from a separate computer into the Notes program directory to gain access to design and admin features. Later it was discovered that you actually don't even need to have the "real" exe files. You could just as well use a text editor to create two files in the directory and name them designer.exe and admin.exe. When restarting the Notes client the extra bookmarks for Designer and Administrator showed up.

As Manfred describes you don't even need to do make any changes to the program directory. You simply add


to the subject field of an empty mail message and hit Shift-F9. Notes will immediately load the Designer client. For the Administrator you enter


This works for all versions of Notes 5.x and 6.x on Microsoft Windows. If you try this on the Mac then Notes will tell you ERROR: The Domino Designer is not available


As long as we're hacking, does it work on a Mac, even though there theoretically isn't a Designer? (You used to be able to start up an OS/2 4.6x Notes client even though they stopped supporting it at 4.5x)

Ben Langhinrichs, 2005-01-02

No, it doesn't. That is why I wrote "on Microsoft Windows". I just added a clarification.

Volker Weber, 2005-01-02

If you’re doing any form of web development (i.e. you want to use nhttp.exe and so on), then you also need dmsecadm.dll in your Notes directory.

Ben Poole, 2005-01-02

Launching the designer client in this way does work (with limitations, as Ben posted), but for the admin client you need some more files as far as I know, at least 'domadmin.ntf' if u have an end-user - installation only.

Michael Woehrer, 2005-01-03

Yep, domadmin.ntf and events4.ntf are the files I needed to successfully launch the admin.exe.

This "feature" is quite interesting 'cause the company I am at right now will shortly be pulling the designer clients from across the board in order to control Notes dev (and limit the "Cowboys Coders" I guess).

BTW, I was able to find the above '.ntfs' on the server. I believe it was 'events4' that didn't allow me access. So I just copied it local and all was good.

Keep up the good work, Dangermouse!

Drew Barker, 2005-01-05

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