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OneNote Not Working: Fix Common OneNote Problems in Windows 10

OneNote is Microsoft’s cloud note-taking app. It can work and store notes locally but since it’s a Microsoft product, it comes with the added advantage of OneDrive and Microsoft 365 integration that connect when you sign into OneNote with your Microsoft account.

OneNote is simple for the most part and does not compare to Evernote however, it is more advanced than the Notes app you find on macOS. It has just the right amount of features to make it useful but not too many as to make it too complicated to figure out.

common OneNote problems

How to Fix OneNote Not Working

OneNote isn’t a complex app but it runs into its fair share of problems. Most users report they’re unable to get their notes to sync which means the app is useful for them when using it from different systems. If you’re having trouble getting OneNote to sync, or to work correctly, try the fixes below.

OneNote Problems (Windows 10)

1. Reset OneNote

This fix applies. to the UWP version of OneNote. If it isn’t syncing notes, the app isn’t launching, or it freezes frequently, you should reset the app. You won’t lose any notes or data.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut. 
  2. Go to Apps.
  3. Select the Apps & features tab.
  4. Scroll down and select OneNote.
  5. Click Advanced.
  6. Scroll down and click Reset.

2. Force sync OneNote

If OneNote isn’t syncing, regardless if it’s the UWP version or the desktop version, you can force it to sync by adding a new page to OneNote. It may not sync text but the new page will force the sync to start.

  1. Open OneNote.
  2. In the Sections column, click Add Section.
  3. In the Pages column, click Add Page.
  4. Close OneNote and open it again.

3. Sign out and sign in again

The OneNote for Windows 10 app needs a Microsoft Account to sync your notes across devices. If you’ve recently changed the password to the account, or updated other account information, it may be blocking the app from syncing. Sign out and sign in again.

  1. Open OneNote.
  2. Click your name at the top right.
  3. In the window that open, click Sign Out under your account.

4. Install Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 updates

The OneNote desktop app is a part of Microsoft 365 while the OneNote for Windows 10 is built specifically for the OS. Between these two versions, it is possible that pending updates for either Microsoft 365 or Windows 10 are preventing OneNote from syncing.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Update & Security.
  3. Select Windows Update.
  4. Click Check for Updates.
  5. Install any updates that are available.

5. Uninstall and reinstall OneNote

If OneNote isn’t syncing, you can always uninstall and reinstall the app. The process will be different depending on the version of the app you’re using.

For OneNote for Windows 10 (the UWP  version), follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Apps.
  3. Select the Apps & Features tab.
  4. Scroll down and select OneNote.
  5. Click Uninstall.
  6. Install the app from the Microsoft Store.

For the desktop version of OneNote, follow these steps.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Select Microsoft 365 and click the Uninstall button at the top.
  4. Download the Microsoft 365 installer and install all apps, including OneNote again.

6. Delete Setting.dat

This fix applies to OneNote for Windows 10. Try deleting the Settings.dat file for OneNote.

  1. Open File Explorer and paste this in the location bar: %localappdata% and tap Enter.
  2. Go to this folder: \Packages\Microsoft.Office.OneNote_8wekyb3d8bbwe\Settings.
  3. Delete the Settings.dat file.
  4. Close and reopen OneNote.

7. Delete OneNote cache

This fix applies to the desktop version of OneNote.

  1. Open OneNote.
  2. Go to File>Options.
  3. Select the Save and Backup tab.
  4. Copy the path under Cache file location.
  5. Close OneNote.
  6. Open File Explorer.
  7. Navigate to the cache file path you copied.
  8. Delete the files there.
  9. Open OneNote.

OneNote Problems Can Be Fixed (Conclusion)

OneNote normally runs into syncing issues but they don’t last long. Creating a new page, or uploading a large image to a note can often trigger it to start syncing again.

Make sure there isn’t anything wrong 

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