A poweruser tip to moving OneNote files around to free hard drive space

Dan is a buddy of mine here at MS and he was facing the problem of his hard drive (c: drive) getting full.  He needed to move some files to another drive to free up some space and came up with this nifty little process to move them around.

Here’s the tip in his words (and “you” below refers to your user name):


Running out of space on your system drive, realize that you’ve got a bunch of large OneNote Notebooks and lots of great backups, but don’t want to ditch any of them?  Just move all the OneNote files to another drive and use a symbolic link to reference them.

1. Shutdown OneNote

2. Start | Run | cmd

a. C:\Users\you> mkdir D:\OneNote

b. C:\Users\you> robocopy %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneNote D:\OneNote /e

c. C:\Users\you> rmdir %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneNote /s

d. C:\Users\you> mklink /d %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneNote D:\OneNote

e. C:\Users\you> exit

3. Start OneNote

After each step in #2, make sure that it succeeded.  And feel free to replace any of them with the more friendly version using explorer UI (for instance, making directories, copying content, deleting content, etc.).  The mklink step however needs to be done on the command line – I don’t think there’s a way to do it using explorer.

These instructions work on Vista or higher.


I think this is pretty slick and I need to give it a try (full disclaimer – I have not had a chance to do this myself yet).  I have used robocopy for a while now and never realized it was built into Windows – I assumed it came with Visual Studio or one of the other apps I typically install.

Anyway, if you are scraping for hard drive space on a particular drive and understand what the mklink command does, this may be just the thing you need!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

Comments (2)

  1. Stan says:

    Thanks! I have a laptop with 64gb SSD that I use for university taking all my notes on OneNote and also recording audio. My SSD got out of space really quick because of OneNote taking lots of space. This solved my issue.

  2. Heidi Draffin says:

    I followed your steps and ended up with an empty subfolder named "e" within folder "OneNote" while my test notebook went to D:Users/Heidi/MyDocuments/OneNote Notebooks.  I had previously directed the "My…." folder from C to D, but I'm not clear how the test file ended up there, or how I ended up with file named "e" wasn't that a switch?  

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