How To Fix The OneNote Not Syncing Issues on Windows 10/11

Microsoft OneNote is a versatile tool for note-taking, information gathering, and multi-user collaboration. However, users often encounter syncing issues that can hinder the productivity benefits of OneNote.

This detailed article explains what it means when OneNote is not syncing, the causes behind these issues, and provides a step-by-step guide to resolve these issues on Windows 10/11.

We will also cover how to force sync, refresh OneNote, handle offline syncing, restart OneNote, and clear the OneNote cache.

OneNote Not Syncing

What Does OneNote Not Syncing Mean?

When OneNote is not syncing, it means that changes made in your notebooks on one device are not being updated or reflected on other devices. This can result in outdated content or the inability to access the latest notes across different platforms.

Common Causes of OneNote Not Syncing Error

Several factors can contribute to OneNote syncing issues:

  1. Network Connectivity Problems: Poor or unstable internet connections can prevent OneNote from syncing properly.
  2. Account Issues: Problems with your Microsoft account sign-in can disrupt OneNote’s ability to sync.
  3. Notebook Corruption: Errors within the notebook structure or data corruption can hinder syncing.
  4. OneNote Version: Outdated versions of OneNote or Windows may have compatibility issues or bugs affecting sync.
  5. Server Problems: Issues on Microsoft’s servers can occasionally disrupt sync services.

Step-by-Step Ways to Fix OneNote Not Syncing Error

Step 1: Check Your Internet Connection

Ensure that your device has a stable internet connection. Try refreshing your connection, switching networks, or connecting via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi to eliminate connectivity as the cause.

Step 2: Verify Microsoft Account Status

  • Make sure you are properly logged in to your Microsoft account in OneNote.
  • Log out and then log back in to refresh account credentials and permissions.

Step 3: Update OneNote and Windows

  • Ensure that both your OneNote app and your Windows operating system are up to date. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check for updates.

Step 4: Check the Notebook’s Sync Status

  • Right-click on the notebook name in OneNote and select Notebook Sync Status. Check for any specific errors and use the provided options to manually sync the notebook.

Step 5: Clear OneNote Cache

Clearing the cache can resolve issues caused by corrupted data:

  • Close OneNote.
  • Navigate to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\OneNote\16.0\cache (or 15.0 depending on your version).
  • Delete the contents of the cache folder.

Step 6: Restart OneNote

  • Close OneNote completely (check in Task Manager to ensure it is not running in the background).
  • Reopen OneNote and attempt to sync again.

Advanced Syncing Solutions

Forcing OneNote to Sync

  • To force a sync, go to the File menu in OneNote, select Info, click on View Sync Status, and then press the Sync Now button next to the problematic notebook.

Refreshing OneNote to Sync

  • You can refresh OneNote’s sync by right-clicking on the notebook and selecting Sync This Notebook, or by using the Sync Status window as mentioned above.

Setting Up Automatic Sync

  • OneNote typically syncs automatically, but you can ensure optimal settings by checking the sync options under the File > Options > Save & Backup.

Syncing OneNote Offline

  • To sync OneNote offline (i.e., prepare changes to sync when you’re back online), simply continue working in your notebooks. OneNote will store changes locally and then automatically sync them when you reconnect to the internet.

Further Insights into Optimizing OneNote Performance

After addressing the basic troubleshooting steps to resolve OneNote syncing issues, there are additional strategies you can implement to optimize OneNote’s performance and prevent future sync problems. Here’s a deeper dive into managing OneNote efficiently and ensuring a smoother experience.

Manage Notebook Size

Large notebooks can sometimes cause syncing delays or failures. Consider these steps to manage the size of your notebooks:

  • Optimize Notebooks: Split large notebooks into smaller, more manageable ones. Archive older or less frequently used content into separate notebooks.
  • Reduce Attachment Sizes: Compress images and documents before inserting them into OneNote to help reduce the overall notebook size.

Use OneNote for Windows 10

The OneNote for Windows 10 app (often just called “OneNote”) is generally more up-to-date with syncing technologies compared to the OneNote 2016 desktop version. If you’re not already using this version:

  • Download from the Microsoft Store: Ensure you have the latest version of OneNote for Windows 10, which is optimized for newer syncing protocols and integrated with Windows 10/11 features.

Regularly Check for Sync Conflicts

OneNote provides a way to view conflicts when they occur during syncing:

  • View Sync Conflicts: Navigate to the History tab in OneNote and select Notebook Recycle Bin > View Sync Conflicts. This can help you identify and resolve content that hasn’t synced properly.

Utilize OneDrive Effectively

Since OneNote syncs your data via OneDrive, ensuring that OneDrive is functioning correctly is crucial:

  • Check OneDrive Sync Status: Make sure OneDrive is running and that your account is active. Look for any paused syncing or account issues.
  • Manage OneDrive Storage: If your OneDrive is full, OneNote won’t be able to sync. Manage your storage by cleaning up unnecessary files or upgrading your storage plan.

Enhancing Network Settings

Sometimes, minor tweaks to your network settings can improve syncing performance:

  • Configure LAN Settings: Adjust your LAN settings to optimize internet performance. Access these settings through the Control Panel > Internet Options > Connections tab > LAN settings.
  • Improve Wireless Connectivity: Position your device closer to the Wi-Fi router or consider upgrading to a higher bandwidth plan if you consistently face slow internet speeds.

Advanced Data Management

For those who rely heavily on OneNote for daily tasks, implementing a data management strategy can be beneficial:

  • Data Backup: Regularly backup your OneNote files manually. Even though OneNote automatically saves your notes to OneDrive, having a separate backup can be a lifesaver in case of data corruption.
  • Periodic Reviews: Periodically review and clean up your notebooks. This not only helps with syncing but also keeps your data organized and accessible.

Monitoring OneNote Updates

Stay informed about the latest updates and fixes:

  • Follow OneNote Updates: Microsoft frequently releases updates to improve functionality and fix bugs. Keep your application updated by following the official OneNote blog or community forums for announcements and update notes.


Sync issues with OneNote on Windows 10/11 can be frustrating but are generally resolvable through a systematic troubleshooting approach.

By ensuring your software is up to date, checking connectivity, managing your account settings, and maintaining the app with periodic cache clearance and restarts, you can usually restore normal sync functionality.

This guide should help you keep your OneNote in sync across all your devices, ensuring that your notes are always updated and accessible wherever you go.

FAQ: Troubleshooting OneNote Syncing Issues on Windows 10/11

Q1: What does it mean when OneNote is not syncing?

A1: When OneNote is not syncing, it means that changes made in your notebooks on one device are not being updated or reflected on other devices. This can prevent you from accessing the latest notes and information across different platforms.

Q2: What are common causes of OneNote not syncing on Windows?

A2: Common causes include unstable or insufficient internet connectivity, incorrect Microsoft account configurations, outdated versions of OneNote or Windows, corrupted notebook data, and interference from antivirus software or firewall settings.

Q3: How can I fix the ‘OneNote not syncing’ error on Windows 10/11?

A3: To fix OneNote syncing issues:

  1. Ensure your device has a stable internet connection.
  2. Log out and then back into your Microsoft account within OneNote.
  3. Update OneNote and Windows to the latest versions.
  4. Check for and resolve any conflicts within your notebooks.
  5. Clear the OneNote cache and restart the application.

Q4: How do I force OneNote to sync on my Windows device?

A4: To force OneNote to sync:

  1. Open OneNote.
  2. Click on the ‘File’ menu, then select ‘Info’.
  3. Click on ‘View Sync Status’.
  4. Next to the notebook experiencing issues, click on ‘Sync Now’.

Q5: How can I refresh OneNote to ensure it syncs properly?

A5: Refresh OneNote by manually syncing your notebooks as described above. Additionally, restarting OneNote can also help refresh the app’s sync functions.

Q6: How is automatic syncing set up in OneNote?

A6: OneNote automatically syncs your notes regularly. Ensure you are logged in with a Microsoft account and have a stable internet connection. You can check or change sync settings by going to ‘File’ > ‘Options’ > ‘Save & Backup’ and adjusting the ‘Sync notebooks automatically’ option.

Q7: How can I sync OneNote when offline?

A7: Continue working in your notebooks while offline; OneNote will store changes locally. Once you reconnect to the internet, OneNote will automatically sync the changes.

Q8: How do I restart OneNote?

A8: To restart OneNote, simply close the app completely and then reopen it. On Windows, ensure OneNote is not running in the background by checking the Task Manager.

Q9: How do I clear the OneNote cache to resolve syncing issues?

A9: To clear the OneNote cache:

  1. Close OneNote.
  2. Navigate to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\OneNote\16.0\cache (the version number may vary).
  3. Delete all the files within this folder.

Q10: Where can I find the OneNote extension location on Windows?

A10: Typically, OneNote extensions or add-ins are not stored in a specific “extensions” folder like web browsers. However, add-in files and related data are usually integrated within the app’s installation directory or the user’s profile directories in Windows.

By addressing these FAQs and following the outlined troubleshooting steps, you can effectively resolve most syncing issues in OneNote on Windows 10/11, ensuring your note-taking and collaborative efforts are seamless across all your devices.