OneNote 2007 SP1 – Can’t Create notebooks On Some Servers


Sorry. We broke your OneNote.

In mid December Office 2007 SP1 was released on Microsoft Update. It contains lots of good improvements and a few for OneNote. However, it turns out we also broke something with one of the fixes. You can’t create notebooks on a Windows file share that is also running WebDAV. This is what we call a "regression" (when in fixing something you break something else). We feel very bad about this and we’re working hard to address it.

Please leave a comment below if you have hit this problem. We’d like to get a sense of how common this is and any affected configurations beyond the ones we know. Prevalence affects how urgently we can get a fix through the pipe. And please mention anything you know about your server (what the server OS is, whether it’s also running SharePoint or some other web server etc.).

Here are the details and a work around.

Issue: can’t create notebooks on Windows file share running WebDAV

  • If you try to create a new notebook on a Windows file share server that also runs WebDAV then you will fail to create the notebook.
  • For example if you try to create a notebook called notebookname at \\fileservername\filesharename you’ll get an error message like: "OneNote cannot create a new notebook at: http://fileservername/sharename/notebookname"

Workaround:

To work around this follow these steps.

  1. Go to the folder where you want the notebook in Windows Explorer (e.g. go to \\fileservername\filesharename )
  2. Create a new folder with the name you want the notebook to have (e.g. notebookname )
  3. Right click that folder and choose "Open as Notebook in OneNote"
  4. The folder will open up as a blank notebook in OneNote. Then click on the message in the middle of the screen to create the first section and you’re good to go.
  5. Alternatively: instead of step 3 above you can start OneNote then go to "File"->"Open" -> "Notebook" and then select the folder you created in step 2.

Background:

  • For the curious, the bug is related to how we check the folder path and decide under the covers which client side file redirector will handle the remote file access when working against web servers. When you’re actually trying to access the plain Windows file share on the server with a UNC path, and the server is also running a WebDAV server then this logic has a flaw in it that causes it to try the WebDAV redirector (UNC paths can be valid WebDAV paths…).
  • This won’t affect many people in larger companies where Windows file servers and Web servers or SharePoint servers are usually kept distinct for clear role separation.
  • It is more likely to affect small business scenarios where a server may play multiple roles and is potentially acting as a web server as well as a file share. Examples might be Windows Small Business Server depending on how it’s configured.

Comments (16)

  1. I wanted to point people to another post of David’s regarding a regression OneNote 2007 SP1 contained

  2. Guy Adams says:

    I have experienced this issue when using a secure WebDAV server.

    You can contact me contact AT gnasupport DOT co DOT uk

    Using Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional (SP2), OneNote 2007 SP1 and Windows Server 2003 Standard R2 (SP2) running IIS 6.0 with WebDAV.

    Many thanks

    Guy

  3. Scot says:

    I have experienced this issue, except I am not sure if the file server on the network where I want to put the shared notebook is running WebDAV or not.  All I know is I get the same error you mention.

    I am wanting to put my shared notebook on a file share.

    I tried the workaround it is sort of works…

    There is a notice at the top of my first section that says:

    "OneNote needs a password to sync some of your notebooks. Click here t see the list of sections and notebooks that require passwords."

    If I try to send a link, the link starts with http://servername/path_to_shared_notebooknotebook_folder  instead of just putting \servernamepath_to_shared_notebooknotebook_folder

    Is there a way to tell OneNote that, "Hey, this is just a file share, I don’t need a browser URL?"

  4. Derek says:

    I ran into this today, and the workaround seems to work fine.  The server we are using is definitely running WebDAV as we have TFS and SVN there.

  5. Derek says:

    Oh, the server is also running Apache and IIS, and it’s W2k3.

  6. TPW says:

    We have hit one. W2k3 SP2, also running IIS

  7. DavidRasmussen says:

    Just an update on this for everyone. Thanks everyone for providing details on your configuration. We now have a fix internally for this problem that we believe addresses all these cases. We’re going through test processes and release processes to get this publicly available. This process takes a while (a couple of months for non-security fixes…).

    Scot, thanks for the details on what happens when sending a link. That looks like a manifestation of this bug. You can manually rewrite the link address as you have done above and then it should work. That would be a work around for now, but we’ll make sure that is fixed as part of this too.

  8. BetaBet says:

    Hello- I am very interested in the outcome of this issue. I have a ReadyNAS box which supports webDAV through an add-on component. I verifed the "cannot create" error message. However, it seems there is an additional issue of synchronization.  Reference

    http://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/archive/2007/02/20/follow-up-to-webdav-support-with-onenote-2007.aspx

    which states:

    "For clients running Windows XP

    =====================

    Unfortunately in XP, OneNote notebooks on plain WebDAV servers won’t be

    supported. The reason being XP issues unauthenticated OPTIONS, PROPFIND, and

    MOVE WebDAV requests even when the client is authenticated. Because these

    requests fail on secured DAV servers, OneNote fails to sync.

    If you insist, there is an UNSUPPORTED work around to enable this scenario.

    To do this, enable unauthenticated OPTIONS and PROPFIND requests on your DAV

    server. Please do not, I repeat, DO NOT, allow unauthenticated MOVE requests

    for security reasons. This allows XP OneNote clients to host notebooks on a

    plain DAV server, but won’t be able to rename or move sections.

    To do this on Apache, edit httpd.conf to allow unauthenticated access for

    PROPFIND and OPTIONS requests to the notebook.

    For example, it may look like this:

    <LimitExcept OPTIONS PROPFIND>

    AuthType Digest

    AuthName DAV

    AuthUserFile conf/digest.passwd

    require valid-user

    </LimitExcept>

    For Clients Running Vista

    ================

    In Vista, accessing WebDAV with basic authentication over non-SSL servers is

    flat out not allowed. That’s because we don’t ever want to send your

    login/password in plain text through the wire.

    For all other WebDAV servers, OneNote notebooks on WebDAV servers should be

    supported in Vista. However, we’ve hit some issues that prevent this from

    working and we’re working with the Windows WebDAV team to fix that up. Stay

    tuned for an update on this soon…

    Hope this helps,

    David Tse[MS]"

    This suggests that even if the create problem is fixed, OneNote and webDAV will not play nicely. I tried a sync process with the ReadyNAS and it ran for a very long time eventually aborting with a stack overflow error code. This happened repeatedly with a Windows XP Pro workstation connecting to the ReadyNAS locally. Hope this info is of some help-I am hoping that both ambiguity of what works and what doesn’t and fixed to the concrete stuff will happen as we have a real need for XP, ReadyNAS, and OneNote shared notebooks to function.

  9. enagel says:

    David,

    Yep I ran into it too and it was driving me crazy before I found your post.  I have a SOHO set-up and I’ve got everrything on one server here, so I guess I’m one of those guys likely to get hit with the problem.  Your workaround worked great… whew!

    Thanks so much for putting this up.

  10. bdmorgan72 says:

    I’m experiencing this problem.  I have full control of the directory in which I want to create the new notebook.  Tried the workaround, which allows me to open the notebook, but will not sync and create the actual section files within the notebook.  I’ve tried copying notebooks from other sources (i.e. my C: drive), but same problem when I try to open those notebooks in the shared directory location.  In fact, if I’ve copied one of these notebooks and the corresponding sections to the new shared locations, I’m not able to see the sections in the notebook at all.

    I also get the dialog box at the top of the notebook:  "OneNote needs a password to sync some of your notebooks. Click here to see the list of sections and notebooks that require passwords."

    Of course, there’s no password prompt, and syncing won’t work.

    I’m not sure what is running on the server, as I’m not the network admin.  I was under the impression that it was simply a file server, and didn’t offer any web services, but I can’t say that for sure.  This problem will keep me from implementing a shared documentation project for my employer using onenote until this is resolved.  Drat.  Guess we’ll just have to stick with the hundreds of word documents scattered all across the network in the meantime.  Uggghh.

  11. SBobcat says:

    I have experienced the problem, thought the work-around seems to work.

  12. Axel Doms says:

    I recently ran into a very similar onenote problem but not quite identical.

    OS : Windows XP SP2 (Dutch)

    Office : 2007 Enterprise SP2 (Dutch)

    Issue :

    Creating a new notebook over a UNC paths work fine, but that same path mapped as a network drive does not work. Instead of taking the mapped drive Onenote again tries to put http:// in front of it, treating it as webdav.

    This issue does not occur before installing SP2, so I am running without it.

    The patch that fixed the SP1 issue (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950130) does not work on this one (says that it is not applicable)

  13. Tom Burke says:

    I have the same problem, but I have verified that we are NOT running WebDAV on the server.  I am running Server 2008 R2 64bit as a file server only, and we have Windows 7 64bit clients.  We have about a hundred Notebooks, one for each of our projects, and we are unable to open any of them.  We get the error "onenote needs a password to sycnch some of your notebooks, click here to see a list of notevbooks and sections".  As people have noted above, there is no way to enter a password in Onenote.  

    We can have all of our employees go through the full UNC path, but we have a very deep tree to our projects directory, so I know that there is going to be a lot of problems.  Is anyone else getting this problem and they don't have WebDAV running?  This is a big problem for us, if Notes is going to be broken for several months, this will need to move on to another program.  The fix above may work for new notebooks, but we need access to our existing notebooks.

  14. Tim Taylor says:

    @Tom Burke

    We've got the exact same issue.  If anyone has a fix for it, that would be wonderful.  I realize this post is old, but we have been hard pressed to find any info on this particular issue.

  15. DenverCoug says:

    bdmorgan,

    Did you find a solution as I'm getting the exact issue you encountered described in your post.  Anyone else have a solution?

  16. DenverCoug says:

    Here is how I resolved the issue.

    1. Create folder on SharePoint.  Example: "Meeting Notes"

    2. Open OneNote and select to Open a Workbook.  Select the Folder you create in SharePoint

    3. Create a new tab for your OneNote Workbook.  Example: "Status Meetings"

    4. Right-click on the tab and select "Save As".  Save it in the Folder you created in Step 1.

    5. Close OneNote

    6. Go go your SharePoint site folder.  Launch the Workbook file (not the files created for your tabs)

    7. Enter some test content into one of your tabs and sync…. This got my sync'ing to work and I was able to continue create the rest of my tabs without issue.