The 3 biggest "pain points" we are investigating

OneNote 2007 has been out for over a year, we've shipped our first service pack for it and have had overall very positive comments sent our way from many people who have used OneNote. Thanks!

It's not all sunshine, though, as a few shadows have been reported. Based on postings on various websites (like our newsgroup, or even this blog), bug reports, product support feedback and internal usage, we've identified three areas which are problems for OneNote users.

In no particular order, they are:

1. Sometimes addins such as the powertoys we've released stop working. The symptom is usually a toolbar icon "goes gray" when clicked. I've seen this once, and by the time I got everything installed on my home computer to debug the thing, it started working. We know the problem exists but have not been able to force it to happen so isolating it has been quite difficult. The best we can do so far is the to recommend this workaround:

  1. Exit Onenote and wait 15 minutes (or restart the computer, or, if you want, use Task Manager to kill dllhost.exe)
  2. Uninstall the addin
  3. Go to control panel and open Programs (or Add/Remove programs). Open the Office 2007 install and check to ensure .NET programmability is installed under OneNote
  4. clip_image001
  5. Re-run setup for the addin. On Vista, ensure you are an admin, or run under administrator rights.
  6. Try again.

The good news is this generally works. The bad news is it is not 100% guaranteed, and you may have to repeat the process a few times.

2. The OneNote printer gets removed. Dan Escapa wrote a good summary and posted a workaround here:

3. The OneNote tray icon (technically, the OneNote screen clipper and launcher process, onenotem.exe) disappears. This at least has an easy workaround which has worked 100% of the time: in tools \ options \ other, toggle the setting to show the icon OFF, save the setting, then toggle it back ON. We are still trying to track down why the process ends and gets turned off.

From a test point of view, the 3rd item is the most frustrating to troubleshoot. No one usually notices the onenotem process is gone until trying to use the WINDOWS+S key to capture a screen clipping. By then, the cause of the problem has already passed and we are left with precious little information to isolate the reason for the behavior.

The test team is working on these problems and I hope to have some good news as we continue investigating.

Questions, concerns, comments and criticism always welcome,


Comments (19)

  1. Jordan says:

    Hey John,

    Along with #1, and a problem I don’t have a solution to, is that sometimes the buttons for Outlook tasks become grayed out and no longer work. I run OneNote on three different computers and it’s only happening to me on one of them, but it’s one that lacks an "uninstall/reinstall" fix.

    Keep up the good work with OneNote and this blog! I love seeing new posts here 🙂

  2. Pete says:

    If it helps, for me it seems that the tray icon always goes away after I connect to my machine via remote desktop.

  3. John (a different John!) says:

    Hi. I’ve found the taskbar icon remains (after some initial difficulty with it) and is helped by customizing the behaviour of the icon (don’t allow it to be hidden if inactive).

    I have found what I think is  a legitimate bug to the program. You might think it negligible, but it is definitely annoying for me. Using word 2007, you can define how the program pastes in terms of formatting. The only way I can see how this is possible in ONenote is when pasting, clicking on the clipboard icon and selecting source formatting or destination formatting (ie Onenote). When selecting either of these first two options, the menu remains visible, which is good because you can now select the fourth item, which is define as default pasting behaviour. The problem is that if you select the THIRD item, that is to paste just the plain text, the menu disappears, making it impossible as far as I can tell to make this kind of pasting default. Have you had the same experience?


  4. JohnGuin says:

    I just tried this on my Vista machine and the setting persisted after selecting "Plain Text."  After I clicked the paste options button a second time, I was able to set this to be the default option.

    Here’s what I did step by step:

    clicked Start | Run

    tyeped "test" in the dialog

    select all | CTRL+X to copy

    went to a OneNote page in Unfiled Notes

    typed "BOLD TEXT" on the page

    applied bold formatting and changed the font to bookman antique

    clicked in the middle of BOLD TEXT

    CTRL+V to paste

    selected Plain Text from the paste options dialog

    clicked the dialog again, set plain text to be the default

    I was using a vista machine, OneNote 2007, everything English.

    Can you see any differences in our machines?


  5. Phil says:

    A variant on #3 is that I am having a clash between Onenote and Gmail.  Whenever Gmail is loaded in a tab in either Firefox (3) or IE7 (but not Chrome), I get an opaque grey screen when I try to use the Screen Clipper.  The process is still there.  If I close the tab with Gmail, the problem disappears.  So at the moment my workaround is if I want to do a screen clipping I have to close Gmail (a pain because I normaly have that open all the time).  If I want to screen clip something in Gmail, I have to open it in Chrome.

  6. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Phil,

    I could not reproduce the problem on my Vista machine.  I used Firefox 3 and IE7.  Are you using XP, or 64 bit Vista?  Do you have any addins working with gmail or any google apps?  If one of the google apps is trying to use the Windows+S key, there may be some conflicts.


  7. Phil says:

    Hi John,

    I should have said I’m using XP.

    I’ve experimented a bit more and found that if I run IE7 -extoff there is no problem.  Likewise if I run FF in safe mode.  Which is curious because I am convinced that I tried it in safe mode a couple of days ago and the problem was still there.  So I’m guessing its a problem with an add-on that is invoked when Gmail loads and which is removed when Gmail shuts down.

  8. Every so often I’ll get a question from someone who has a need to find pages that have embedded files

  9. Karen Lee says:

    Hi there.

    I was wondering if you might be able to help me out with a issue that me (and most of my other classmates in the vet school program at KSU) have been having.

    When I am using my pen on my Fujitsu tablet in OneNote, if I scroll down, then back up to where I’ve written, the program moves my writing down… Which can become a problem if I’ve written a paragraph because then all the words get jumbled. Because of this, I mostly type my notes. I was just wondering if this is something that OneNote programmers are working on? or if there is some solution to this problem?

    Originally, I thought it might be a problem with the tablet and not necessarily the program…. Last year we were using Toshiba tablets and the same thing kept happening. We had a whole load of other problems with that particular tablet and so our school got us new tablets, which we are currently using for our program (Fujitsu). It has a lot less problems, but the whole moving my writing thing is still present. I was wondering if you happened to know anything about that? Because other than that, OneNote is really super wonderful and we love it! Thanks for any help. 🙂

  10. John says:

    Which version of OneNote do you have, and which version of Windows?  Does everyone have the same exact setup?

    If you want, you can go to and get the community clip screen capture tool and send me a "movie" of the behavior.  If you need to email it, the link is in the upper right of this page.

    Sorry for the problems.

  11. Karen says:

    (12.0.6415.1000) SP2 MSO (12.0.6425.1000) is what it says when I go to "About Microsoft OneNote". We are using Windows Vista and it doesn’t happen to everyone, but a lot of us. As a result I’ve mostly resorted to typing instead of using my tablet pen. It doesn’t happen all the time, but the next time it does I will try and capture it?

  12. JohnGuin says:

    Can you send me an email via the link at the top right?  I want to get some further details from you about this.

  13. Seth Jacobs says:

    We have about 600 students using Toshiba Proteges (about evenly divided among m400-m750s) and OneNote 2007 running under Vista.  For most students OneNote runs fine, but a small subset are having problems with the content on the pages "jumping around".  Typically they download a power point presentation, print it to onenote, and then walk into class and use pen input to annotate the power point information.  The problem is associated with those students that do ALOT of pen input.  Sometimes when they’re using the pen the length of the file will expand with large blank areas, so that vertically the file will be 10Xs as long.  Other times prior pen input will change locations, such as jumping over to the right, so now the student must scroll left & right to see all of the content.

    Checks show the RAM and the HD are OK.  Because the toshiba’s monitors are conductive, I’ve had the students change pens.  The students weren’t wearing jewelry, so that’s not a source of electrical/conductive interference.  

    Our only suggestion has been for the students to reduce the amount of pen input.  They haven’t been very happy with that suggestion, but it does seem to reduce the frequency of the problem.

  14. Don says:

    When trying to do screen clipping on OneNote 2007 (on XP 32bit) my screen turns white (can’t see anything). The screen clipping cursor is visible and it allows me to select a window. The output from this screen clipping is totally black (worthless).

    I have only been able to get screen clipping to work once, just after a boot and no programs open, but it didn’t show the selection window (I’m ok with that as long as it works). It definitely doesn’t look the same as on my laptop.

    Office diagnostics didn’t find any issues. I’ve tried several graphics card drivers (NVidia Quadro FX 1400) with no improvement.

    A solution to this would be greatly appreciated.

  15. JohnGuin says:

    Hmm.  Not really sure where to start other than the video card drivers (since it works on your laptop).  Can you click Start | Run  | Msinfo32 and send me the file it makes?  You can use the email link at the top right to send it to me.  Also, please look through the file first to see if there is any infomation in there you don’t want to share.  It’s mostly hardware related, but may have some path names or other such info you want to keep private.

    Sorry for the problems.

  16. JohnGuin says:

    We are looking at "ink shifting" in depth now.  thanks for the report.  I’ll pass it along to the ink team and we’ll see if we can isolate the problem.

    Sorry for this behavior of OneNote,


  17. Phil Ridout says:


    I had this problem.  Eventually traced it to Norton INternet Security (which blocks screen captures for https: )  I’ve now uninstalled Norton and that problem (and others) has gone away.

  18. JohnGuin says:

    Wow – great job!  I would have taken forever to track that one down (if I ever would have found it).

    thanks – I’ll be sure to pass this on!

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