Archive for October, 2012

Syncing OneNote in Skydrive back to OneNote 2010 Desktop

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

You may have seen my recent blog posts on the hell in trying to get my notebooks back from Skydrive onto my laptop following a rebuild, and then finally finding a simple solution to the problem.

OK – so the problem is solved, and if you have the same issues, you should just re-sync it. However, I did try an alternate workaround to trying to download the workbooks in the process. Since I’ve already written it up, I thought I’d share.


The problem was:

  • You can’t directly open a Skydrive notebook from OneNote 2010 Desktop
  • You could open the Skydrive notebook in OneNote Desktop, but you had to do it via a Skydrive link, that didn’t work

So – my workaround solution was:

  • Download the OneNote 2013 Desktop preview
  • Open the Skydrive notebook in ON 2013 (that does support Opening Skydrive from within the App)
  • Export from ON 2013, and then import into ON 2010, using files

It worked great.

The problem

If you try to download your Skydrive Notebook as a file:

You’ll likely get this:

The solution

So, the first step is to install the preview of OneNote 2013 somewhere. I have VMWare on my laptop, so I fired up a Win7 VM in order to install it away from my main OS. Right now, MS are running it as a free preview.

Once installed, go to OneNote 2013 -> Open, and you’ll see you can open Skydrive documents:

Open it. Once the notebook is open, right-click a tab and export the entire notebook. Remember to:

  • Export the Current Notebook
  • Select the filetype OneNote Single File Package

Take the single file it creates, and copy that from your VM onto your normal main OS/Desktop (ie. Where you’re using OneNote 2010). I put it in a temporary folder on my desktop, not the main OneNote structure (remember this is an import, still):

Delete the old, failed, imported workbook from your OneNote Notebooks directory, if it’s still there.

Then, double-click your new package, and OneNote will ask where you want to import it to

Bingo! A fully imported, supported workbook in OneNote 2010.

You can now either leave it where it is, sync it as a new workbook (not quite sure how to sync it with the one currently on the Skydrive), or merge it into another workbook.

Categories: Uncategorized

Re-syncing to OneNote 2010 after a PC restore

October 28, 2012 2 comments


You may remember I wrote an post lamenting how OneNote 2010 refused to restore notebooks from Skydrive / The Cloud?

While the Preview of OneNote 2013 allows you to File -> Open a document from Skydrive, OneNote 2010 doesn’t. Sure, it allows you to sync or backup to Skydrive, but not to open from it. That meant that when I restored my PC and tried to re-sync my changes, I entered a world of pain.

Well, it seems that Microsoft may have now fixed this.


The Old method

The MS solution to opening your Skydrive notebook in ON 2010, was to click a link in the document on Skydrive. This would then send a link from your browser to ON, and it would download the file. The problems with this were:

  • The link didn’t work in Chrome
  • If used in IE, then the link complained that you weren’t using Desktop ON 2013
  • If you followed the suggestion of downloading the zipfile of your ON notebook, then tried opening it in 2010, you would find many ‘corrupt’ notebooks

This, despite the file formats between OneNote 2010 and 2013 supposedly being the same!


The New Method

Microsoft seemed to have patched up the “Open in OneNote” link in Skydrive, so that it does work with Chrome, and OneNote 2010 will happily open it. I discovered this whilst continuing to recover my notebooks this morning, when I tried clicking this link in the Skydrive Notebook:

I clicked it, and Chrome warned I was opening an app with the link. Then OneNote warned the same. I continued, and…. The notebook magically appeared in my desktop app!

At first, it shows as empty. Then, as the changes sync, the notes populate, and then go from grey to colour as they’re downloaded.

If you look at Right-click -> Properties, to figure out where the file is being stored… it doesn’t tell you. It tells you the Skydrive location, but not the local store. It’s not in My Documents -> OneNote workbooks. At the moment, I’m just happy to get it back.


I did try Change Location, but that didn’t help… although it lets you specify a location on your hard disc, it actually moves it from Skydrive to your local drive. True – it still keeps the copy in Skydrive – but your local copy is a new instance, and no longer synced. Nor can you get it to sync.


So – this now seems to be working – no hassles, no re-hashes… just works! Note downloading the zipfile of the notebook, instead of this ‘link-to-sync’ method, will still not work – OneNote says some of the notes in the zipfile are corrupt. However – I discovered this link method while I was attempting another roundabout method of downloading my workbook, so I’ll share that method next.

Categories: Uncategorized

OneNote hell

October 24, 2012 4 comments

OK – lesson learned.

I restored my PC from an old image, and in the process, lost my OneNote settings. “That’s fine”, I thought, “I can just re-sync back to my Skydrive cloud store”.


For a start, since I only use Skydrive for background OneNote sync, I’d forgotten the username and password. I usually store these in 1password… but realised that I couldn’t see what my ID was from the OneNote app. From OneNote shared to my wife’s laptop, to the iPhone, to the iPad, all displayed my name, but none my ID!

I guessed my ID as my usual email address, and tried resetting my password again and again online. It kept failing… I could reset it, but the new password didn’t let me log in. I’m still not sure what happened – either my ‘guessed’ ID does exist, and there’s something wrong with the system, or my guessed ID doesn’t exist, and MS Live was confused enough to let me generate a password reset for an account that didn’t exist. More on that another time.

Eventually, by accident, I discovered the rather obfuscated username/email/password that my Skydrive account was actually under.

Phew! I thought. I went into OneNote, to sync to the account.

Nothing doing. You can’t “Open a Skydrive workbook” in OneNote.

OK – let’s try the other way. I logged into Skydrive through a web browser, clicked on the workbook, and “open in OneNote” (ie. Open in Desktop).

In Chrome? Fail. OK, try IE.

In IE: “Sorry, you are not using Office 2013” [it’s not even released yet – I’m using 2010]; we cannot open this file in OneNote Desktop. WHAT?

It suggested downloading the notebook as a zipfile, and opening manually. OK – try that. OneNote uses a system of a file for a notebook, and a Table of Contents file.

It turned out the TOC files were unreadable in OneNote 2010. Also, some of the workbooks were also “in a later version / corrupt”, although most could be opened independantly. I couldn’t just open the entire workbook, or reset, though.

In the end, I’m doing this:
– Create a brand new notebook, and set up Sync on that
– Open the individual notebooks in Onenote Desktop (double-click)
– Inside OneNote, drag the section groups/sections into the new notebook
– Check everything looks OK
– Close the old workbook
– For the corrupt/incompatible workbooks, copy/paste manually the contents of the document from OneNote Web to the Desktop App (you can’t move them within the Web App)


Bloody hell, Microsoft.