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OneNote hell

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.

  1. Valentin
    October 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Ahah, crazy ! I got exactly the same issue today (4 days after you) … But I don’t want to recreate everything!

    • damo
      October 28, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Yeah, I’ve not figured this out yet.

  1. October 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm
  2. October 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm

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