Upgrading Domino 32 bit to 64 bit

After all the talk of how to decide on what version (32 vs 64 bit) of Domino you want to choose on Windows, I want to blog briefly on some good strategies to migrate a server from 32 to 64 bit.

My Assumptions for this article:

As discussed previously, 64 bit Domino requires a 64 bit OS and for this hypothetical case I am assuming that I am staying with the same OS type and only switching the version (32 -> 64 bit) so I do not have to take any change in disk format into account that is likely if you move from let’s say Windows to AIX.I am also assuming that I am not going to do any major upgrade of the Domino version – that would be a major change and require allot of planning and testing beyond what I want to go into in this short blog post.

Scenario 1: Switch the server

This one is easy – it is basically the same as if you are going to switch out the hardware (in-place upgrade). I would install the new server on a new piece of hardware, bring the old server down, move the data directory to the new server, rename the server, switch IP addresses (or IP reservations, whichever one it is your network does) and then bring the new server up with the original data.

The point in this switch/upgrade is that you have new hardware that you can install at your leisure, burn in and prepare. The only time-sensitive part is when you bring all the servers down, move the data and re-configure the new hardware. Hopefully the data is on a SANS and all you have to do is detach and re-attach the drives. I greatly prefer that to having to copy data from the old server to the server as that can add untold hours to a deployment schedule.

Scenario 2: In-place upgrade

This scenario basically only happens if you have no other piece of hardware that you could use and the in-place is the last straw of yours to try and get past some unspeakable evil from which you need to escape. Therefore I believe a disclaimer is in order:

Do not attempt this at home, don’t do it at the office either and if you are working for a client. Heck, if you value your sanity and don’t want to die from a heart attack don’t do this one at all! Only attempt this option if there is ABSOLUTELY no other way out.

The reason I say this is simple: garbage in = garbage out. Also, it is allot of changes on one physical machine so there is allot of opportunity to fail – two major changes on one physical machine and no good way to back out of the process if it does not work the way you are hoping for . Also, you are unlikely to be able to test this beforehand if something so you really can’t prepare for any eventuality. So again … avoid this one!

Now, if I absolutely had to do this – this is how I would do it: (rough draft)


  1. Have plenty of time available. If you think it will take 6 hours, triple the amount and add 10 hours for good measure. If it take long you will be tired and need rest. also, the server is unlikely to be new so is unlikely to be a fast process even if it goes well
  2. Make sure there is a GOOD, VALID backup and that the tapes are not old and that you can actually restore the server if you need to.
  3. If in any way possible, do a P2V into VMWare and test all of this first … it is insane and crazy, so testing is a must if there is any opportunity for it
  4. Keep a snapshot of that VMWare image around in case all hell breaks loose and it is the only thing you can offer your users to work with.
  5. Have enough free space on the Domino server for temp files, etc. Also make sure that the data partitions have at least 20% free space to accommodate size increases due to design changes

“ACTION!!!” – The upgrade itself

  • Shut down Domino and run a manual compact against all files
  • Run another back-up – just in case
  • Upgrade the OS … pray to whatever Gods you believe in and hope for the best
  • Run Domino, check if it runs and is accessible
  • Take another back-up
  • Pray, sleep, meditate and then … sacrifice a bucket of KFC chicken (like in the movie “Major League”). Also, prepare a bottle of Bourbon, crack it open and sacrifice one glass some alongside the chicken (it can only help)
  • Uninstall Domino – you cannot install 64 bit over 32 … it is a disaster waiting to happen. Save the notes.ini first, you might need it
  • Clean up the install directory, registry AND any temp folders etc. Reboot the server once
  • Install Domino 64 bit – prepare for another sacrificial chicken bucket .. this time extra crispy would be advisable
  • Attach/move/copy the data in and meditate, chant the mighty “OOOHHHMM” if that makes you feel better
  • Start Domino and prepare your sacrifice
  • ……… (waiting for all hell to break loose)

Let’s not go into details what to do if any one of these steps fail … there are too many to details to deal with. I am hoping that the numerous references to sacrifices (non-human) and heavy drink show you that this is more arcane magic than cool, logic guided technology. Again, I would not do this one unless there is absolutely no other way to deal with the issue.

Shameless Plug:

There are many more detailed steps and planning necessary for an upgrade. Hiring somebody who has done it previously would be advisable …. You can hire me or one of my many gifted consulting colleagues to do this scary stuff for you. We already have the gray hair (if we have hair) and our digestive tracts are tough and can take the stress.

5 thoughts on “Upgrading Domino 32 bit to 64 bit

  1. Pingback: 2010: My blog stats in review « Notesbusters
    • Thanks for the comment, I welcome differing opinions and like to hear from people who disagree even if I think they are wrong – as I think you are. Also, I hope for your sake that you might grow a bit as a person and show some more class in terms of language you use, how you express your opinion and maybe even learn to sign with your own (real) name – or are the initals to your name really ‘WTF’?

      I never said you can’t upgrade in place, only that I would advise against it. If you read the technote you quoted you will see that the 64 bit installer actually de-installs the 32 bit version first – that has been the case since x64 Domino was released though I admit I failed to note that in my original article. If you are going to do an un-install and then install over it my premise of ‘garbage in = garbage out’ still stands. Upgrading in place a server that has been around for any significant period of time is not something you will find allot of experienced Domino admins advising to do – unless there are some very important reasons.
      If you are goign to re-use the existing HW (or virtual box) doing a n uninstall and then cleaning up any remnents of the data and old settings is always a good idea beecause it will make sure you are not pulling in old, unnecessary settings and configurations.
      Any additional opinion/comments?


  2. Well to be precise, the IBM document, does not discuss upgrading the O/S and Domino on the same hardware, which as you summarise is a ‘high risk’ strategy.

    So if your 32-bit Domino server is already on a 64-bit windows box then you are probably going to be OK. However, I would always want the path to be my choosing. An in place upgrade of this nature might leave a 64-bit Domino server installed to D:\Program Files (x86)\Lotus\Domino and that’s just nasty.

    So I am very much in favour of the new h/w approach. In fact I’m considering doing a VMWare P2V of the current server and then migrating back to the ‘reformatted/rebuilt’ physical infrastructure.


  3. Back in the day I had to upgrade a physical server running Notes 3 on OS/2 – the requirement was to switch this box over to Win NT4.0 and upgrade the Notes server to Domino 4.6.1.
    Once you blow away the drive partitions, the external backup device to which the data had been copied became as important to me as the nuclear football probably is to the President of the USA.


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