Notebooks May Be Larger Than They Appear
Our IP department likes OneNote. They keep important client data spread out among ten massive notebooks. Once these lawyers started to get updated computers with fancy solid-state drives, we started to see a problem. They were running out of disk space. The culprit? All those useful OneNote notebooks.
Working locally on a OneNote notebook opened from the cloud or a fileshare can mean you're working on three.
It's Not Live. It's…
… a cached copy. When OneNote opens a notebook from a shared drive, OneDrive or SharePoint, it copies those files to the local computer. This cache file also keeps track of changes made in the notebook to allow for it to sync back up when connected to the Internet. These instructions pile up over time and can become corrupt. If you start noticing syncing errors or performance issues, closing the notebook and deleting its cache will bring down a fresh, and smaller, copy from the source.
OneNote caches all the notebooks opened from non-local sources. Best practice means keeping only the notebooks currently in use open. If you're not going to work on it for a few days, closing a notebook will save space on the hard drive. OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 use different caches. Having the same notebook open in both applications takes up twice the space.
Then We Have the Backup… and the Backup of the Backup
By default, OneNote 2016 makes alternating backups of open notebooks once per week. The cost of redundant data security comes out of disk space. Fortunately, users can modify this behavior via File | Options | Save and Backup, lengthening the period between backups, number of backups, and if the application backs up the notebooks, at all.
How Do I Keep OneNote from Eating my Disk Space?
These tips will help keep the hungry monster at bay:
- Keep open only notebooks currently in use. Neither OneNote 2016 or OneNote for Windows 10 will update caches or make backups of closed notebooks.
- Pick OneNote 2016 or OneNote for Windows 10 and stick with it. Using both version of the application at the same time doubles some space consumption.
- If using OneNote 2016, use File | Options | Settings to…
- Reduce the number of backups
- Increase the length of time between backups
- Turn off notebook back ups
- If using OneNote for Windows 10… well. There aren’t any backup options for this version of the application. It caches the open notebooks, but the continued health of the files are left to fate.