We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you a podcast all about Citrix Workspace, moving to the cloud, and analytics & intelligence. Episode 2 coming soon!Listen Now


OneNote 2007 multiple computers thumb drive, how to configure

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-05-20
Can anyone clearly explain how to use OneNote 2007 with a thumb drive on multiple computers?  I'm finding what is happening baffling where pages are being duplicated within the same notebook.  I think this has something to do with OneNote's trying to "help" me by managing backups for me, but the result to date has been far from helpful.

BTW, it's not as simple as making the default notebook the one on the thumb drive on each computer that uses OneNote.  If it were, I wouldn't be making this post.

There also seems to be something going on where when you tell OneNote to use the thumb drive, it likes to copy the current OneNote data over to the thumb drive rather than using what is already there.
Watch Question

When you create a new notebook, you are presented with a dialog box asking where the notebook will be used. The options are to either use it on that one computer, use it on multiple computers, or multiple people will share the notebook. Selecting the third option then allows you to store the notebook on a server or on a shared folder on the local computer.

OneNote will automatically keep the notebook up to date when you connect to it from multiple computers.

Forgive me for quoting, but this is the best way to provide you with the most accurate answers:

"The New Notebook Wizard in OneNote guides you through the steps for creating a notebook that you can access from other computers. When you open the notebook from any computer, OneNote creates an offline copy on that computer. Thereafter, whenever OneNote is open on that computer and the computer is connected to the shared location, OneNote continuously synchronizes and merges the changes to the notebook from each computer. The shared location can be a Web site, a storage drive, or an individual computer."

However, that really comes into play when you create a NEW notebook. It sounds like you want to share a notebook that has already been created. If that's the case:

"If you already created a OneNote notebook on your computer and want to use it on your other computers, you need to move the notebook to a shared location from which your other computers can open it (for example, a network file share or a shared folder on this computer).

Do the following:

1. In OneNote, close the notebook that you want to share between computers. On the Notebooks navigation bar, right-click the title of the notebook, and then click Close this notebook on the shortcut menu.
2. On the File menu, click Exit to exit OneNote.
3. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
4. Navigate to the folder that contains your OneNote notebooks. By default, your notebooks are stored in the OneNote Notebooks folder in the My Documents folder on your computer's hard disk drive.
5. Right-click the notebook folder that you want to move to a shared location, and then click Cut on the shortcut menu.
6. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to a shared location that you can access from your other computers. On the Edit menu in Windows Explorer, click Paste. Note: Cutting and pasting an existing notebook folder effectively moves the folder to the new, shared location.
7. After Windows Explorer moves the notebook folder to its new location, close Windows Explorer and start OneNote.
8. On the File menu in OneNote, point to Open, and then click Notebook.
9. In the Open Notebook dialog box, browse to the shared location to which you moved your notebook in the previous steps, click the notebook folder, and then click Open"

So at this point, you can MOVE the notebook to your thumb drive, open OneNote and open the notebook on the thumb drive. Then you can close OneNote, go to another computer, plug in your thumb drive, start OneNote and open the same notebook.

This works fine for me. I use OneNote at home and at two different machines at work, and I can carry a portable notebook file with me on a thumb drive with no problems.

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


So if I understand this:
If I have a thumb drive with 'good' OneNote data and I want to use it with a computer with OneNote that has not been set up to use the thumb drive yet,
I DO NOT open OneNote and tell it to use the thumb drive as it's default data source, because it will write whatever data it has onto the thumb drive (apperently without destroying the data already there)
I DO close the OneNote file and then open the data file on the thumb drive.
It seems that if this is not done properly, one can also lose the .onetoc2 files, which means that the OneNate data already present may become invisible.  The solution is to delete the.onetoc2 files, which OneNote will then recreate, showing all pages in the notebook.

If in fact this is correct, am I all alone in not feeling particularly thankful to Microsoft for introducing some entirely unexpected behavior into an application upgrade without adequate warning to existing users?

I'm not sure I understand. I have never had to drop the TOC file to get it to rebuild anything. I create a notebook on my work machine, and set it up to store that workbook on the thumb drive. Then I can go home and plug in the drive, turn on One Note, and tell it to go open the file. The file opens, and as I am making changes, it saves those changes to the drive.

Then when I take it back to work.... it just works.


Well, I'm not sure what to say.  I saw several instances of unexpected behavior.  For a while, I was starting to worry that months worth of data was at risk.  I think I understand some of what happened now.


I think I got the answer to this on another forum.  It's to open the existing notebook on the thumb drive from OneNote, NOT to change the settings in OneNote to point to that notebook.

And then NEVER close the notebook on the thumb drive, rather just close OneNote 2007 itself.


http://blogs.msdn.com/david_rasmussen/archive/2006/06/29/650705.aspx has some good information explaining how OneNote 2007 always uses a cached version of the notebook.  Also some info on how to set it up to work with a USB drive..
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.