My current OneNote dogfood configuration


I got an email asking for more details about how I have OneNote "set up" for my daily work here at MS.  Fair enough - here's what I am currently using.


For my primary dogfood machine, I use my infamous Lenovo tablet.  I just installed the Windows 7 Beta on it, but had been rotating through Vista and Windows XP on it over the last few months.  I have the screen set to 1024x768 with 96 DPI, and sometimes change that to 120.  The "Aero" interface is enabled.  At any given point, I have 6-10 notebooks open, and none of the notebooks are local.  They are all on servers scattered about the company.  As of today, I have 4 notebooks open from SharePoint servers and 2 open via UNC.  And they are all shared (although one of them is my "personal" notebook which is only shared with myself).  I use the newest builds of Office on this machine - between the OS and Office, I guess this would be a "cutting edge" dogfood machine.  Other than the occasional hardware glitch (the memory on the Lenovo is now going bad) and the occasional bug I encounter and report, this is a relatively stable system and I'm pretty happy with it.


I have a secondary test machine, a desktop, that I keep Office 2007 on and install the latest Service Pack.  I use it for verifying interoperability between the two OneNote clients.  If I have any large amounts of typing to do, I use it as well simply because it has a full size keyboard to use.  I hadn't realized until today how little I use it, though.  While I have 6 notebooks open on my tablet, I only have two open on that computer.  It has Vista, 1 GB of RAM and I have the screen set to 1600x1200 at 120 dots per inch.  It has an LCD monitor on which I have adjusted the gamma to make the colors more distinguishable to my eyes.  I do not have the "Aero" interface enabled on this machine (the integrated video does not support it.  This machine is left over from 2002, for goodness sake).


Most of my testing machines have been moved to HyperV images.  I don't have much to add to all the documentation everywhere about using virtual machines, except that I was surprised at how quickly I filled the original hard drive I had (120 GB, now upgraded to 1 TB) and how little CPU speed is needed.  I have images set up for Windows 2003, XP, 2008, Vista and the Windows 7 Beta.  I'll be adding a few more as needed over the coming months, I'm sure.  I do have a set of physical machines for testing, though, since I need the USB support for notebook storage and connecting some of the pen and paper OneNote products out there.


This is all changing, of course.  Later today, I may need to start using 2 more shared notebooks and next week may need to go back to Vista on my tablet.  A lesson learned long ago is to put all my data on a separate partition from Windows so I can easily fdisk and reinstall the operating system without losing any data.


Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,




Comments (5)

  1. Hey John,  Love the blog, and ON 2007 is the greatest thing to hit schools since tater tots.

    We have a 1:1 tablet program and one of our teachers has a notebook on a sharepoint site with readonly rights for the kids.  Unfortunately it has been very buggy recently, so I thought I’d run it by you.

    Basically sections will disappear from a student.  Clicking sync now doesn’t do it.  Close ON.  Turn off wireless.  Connect wire to the network.  Open ON.  Sync now.  It comes back.  A couple days later it disappears again.

    So specifics:  

    Notebook is big~92MB.  

    HD’s partioned to c: and d: with My Docs on d:

    Many students experience it, but certainly not all.

    I know it is hard to tell from this, but any tips or ideas?  Would moving it to a shared network folder (vs sharepoint) help?  Where is the data for a "shared" networked NB get stored (on XP tablet)?

    Thanks for everything you and your team do.

  2. John says:

    Hello Sam,

    Do you have SP1 for Office 2007 installed?  I can’t say for sure if this would help, but I do recommend the install.  

    let me check and see what logging there is that may help isolate the problem.  

    Moving to a regular folder share would help eliminate sharepoint as a culprit.  If it’s easy to do, I’d give it a try.  The "Data" would be stored on the server which holds the notebook, and in a cached copy on each user’s computer that syncs the notebook.


  3. sbreck says:

    You really store your notebooks on SharePoint?  I tried it for well over three years but I’ve been so happy since I gave up and moved everything to file shares.  Haven’t seen the dreaded "This section contains changes that cannot be synced.." error since then and I used to see it every day.

    What’s your secret?

  4. JohnGuin says:

    No secret I can think of.  I hit errors with network connectivity now and then (the wireless in our building has been flaky this week – probably something to do with the drilling and sawing noises I currently am hearing).  When that happens, I have everything cached and keep working.  My changes get replicated when the network is back.

    I have one notebook left on a UNC share.  I keep it there for testing purposes: everything else is on Sharepoint.  (Or a NAS server.  Or Windows Home Server.  I rotate notebooks to get better coverage of different configurations).

    But, I know we’ve had some errors with Sharepoint that other people hit.  Keep your eyes open for SP2.

    Thanks for using OneNote,


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