Fix Problem with Shortcuts to OneNote Files that Can't Be Deleted

If you are frequently using OneNote together with SkyDrive, you may end up creating some invalid shortcuts and duplicates for your notebooks. Mistakes happen all the time and that's OK. However, when such scenarios occur and you start deleting the invalid shortcuts and duplicates you created, SkyDrive may start to have issues and return a weird error message over and over again. Here's how to fix this problem.

The Problem - An Error That Shows Up Every Time SkyDrive Starts

When the desktop SkyDrive application is launched and it starts to sync your files, it displays this error message: "Shortcuts to OneNote files can't be deleted from your SkyDrive folder. Click to go to SkyDrive.com and delete this from the web."

If you click or tap on it, you are taken to the SkyDrive website but you are not given any indication on what to do next. Where does this problem come from?

The Root Cause - Invalid OneNote Shortcuts On Your SkyDrive

I have made some searches online and I found no advice that could help with this issue. Therefore, I started doing my own testing and experimentation. I looked closely at my SkyDrive account online and the SkyDrive folder on my computer and I noticed the following discrepancy: when working with the OneNote app on my smartphone and on my computer, I ended up creating shortcuts to my OneNote notebooks by mistake. Some of these shortcuts were even pointing to notebooks which no longer existed. They were stored in the same SkyDrive folder where the OneNote notebooks were stored.

This annoyed me and I was trying to delete these shortcuts from my computer. The shortcuts are URL files with the same name as the OneNote notebooks. The SkyDrive application tried to synchronize my changes and delete those shortcuts. However, because of some strange design problem, it cannot delete them and you have to do what the error says.

The Solution - Log In to SkyDrive.com and Delete the OneNote Shortcuts

The solution I found was to log in to SkyDrive.com with my Microsoft account. Then, go to the folder where the OneNote notebooks are stored. Generally this is the Documents folder or Documents -> OneNote Notebooks. There, look for files with the same name as your OneNote notebooks but which have a different icon & type (.url instead of .one).

Select these files, and then go to Manage and click or tap Delete. Confirm that you are OK with their deletion.

It may also happen that these shortcuts are for notebooks you deleted some time ago but, because of some problems with the synchronization of your notebooks on all devices, they remained in your account.

I do recommend that you restart the SkyDrive application after the steps above are performed, so that it syncs the changes you have made faster.

Conclusion

I hope you found this guide useful. If you have found other ways to solve this problem, don't hesitate to share in a comment below.