How to Sync Sticky Notes Across Users and Computers in 7 Steps

One of our readers wanted to use Sticky Notes across multiple user accounts and computers and have them in sync. By default, Sticky Notes is not able to pull this off. It saves your notes on a per user account basis. However, with a little bit of hacking, you can have your notes synced between multiple users and computers. This guide will show how it can be done.

Step 1. Close Sticky Notes

If you keep Sticky Notes open, the whole procedure will fail. Make sure it is closed on all the user accounts where you want to execute with this procedure.

Step 2. Enable Windows Explorer to Show Hidden Files and Folders

Sticky Notes saves its data into a folder that is didden and not displayed by Windows Explorer. In order to find it, you need to enable "Show hidden files, folders and drives" in Windows Explorer. A tutorial showing how to enable this option and others, can be found here: How to Improve Windows Explorer Using Folder Options.

Step 3. Backup Your Sticky Notes

The procedure is prone to errors and problems if you don’t pay attention. That’s why it is best to make a backup of your existing Sticky Notes. Open Windows Explorer and browse to "C:\Users\YourUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Sticky Notes" and copy the file StickyNotes.snt to a USB drive or to another folder. All your notes are saved in that one file.

Make sure to replace "YourUSERNAME" with your user accounts’ name.

Step 4. Download and Run Steam Mover as Administrator

Steam Mover is an application that was created by Paul Traynier to move your Steam games from the "C:" drive to another partition and folder. However, it can also be used successfully for our purpose.

The application uses NTFS junction points - a more complex Windows feature used by Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, that allows the creation of symbolic links between directories found at different locations. Creating such symbolic links involves using the Command Prompt and understanding lots of complicated terminology and commands.

Steam Mover is awesome because it eliminates all the complexity and anyone can work with it, without much trouble.

When you run Steam Mover, make sure to right click on it and select "Run as administrator".

Steam Mover - Sticky Notes Sync

Step 5. Use Steam Mover to Create the Symbolic Link

On the left side of the Steam Mover window, where it says "Steam Apps Common Folder", you need to select the folder were currently Sticky Notes saves its data. Browse to "C:\Users\YourUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft"

Make sure you replace YourUSERNAME with your user’s name. Do not also select the Sticky Notes subfolder. Just its parent - Microsoft. You will see shortly why.

Steam Mover - Sticky Notes Sync

On the right, where it says "Alternative Folder", you need to select the folder where you want your notes to be stored in the future. Again select only the parent of the folder where your notes will be stored.

For example, I want to save my notes in "E:\SkyDrive\Sticky Notes" so that my notes get synchronized also with Microsoft’s SkyDrive. I selected only "E:\SkyDrive\"

Once these selections are made, Steam Mover displays the subfolders found on the folder you selected on the left. Find the Sticky Notes subfolder and select it with the mouse. Then, on the bottom of the Steam Mover window, you will see an icon showing right. Click on it.

Steam Mover - Sticky Notes Sync

Then, on the right, you will see the new path where Sticky Notes will be saved. If you have no Sticky Notes subfolder in the parent folder selected on the right, the tool will create it automatically. If the subfolder is there, Steam Mover will notify you of its existence.

Steam Mover - Sticky Notes Sync

Step 6. Log Off and Repeat the Procedure on All Computers And/Or User Accounts

The Sticky Notes are now moved only for your user account. If you want to make the same move for more user accounts, so that they work with the same set of Sticky Notes, log off from your user account and log in to others, one by one and repeat the procedure.

The same goes for all the computers between which you want to sync your Sticky Notes. Log in to those computers and repeat the procedure.

Step 7. Copy the Backed Up Sticky Notes to the New Location

Once you have set up all user accounts and/or computers, you will find that your Sticky Notes are empty/missing. Take the backup file you created at step 2 and copy it to the new folder where the Sticky Notes are stored.

Sticky Notes Sync

Once the backup file is copied, you can resume using Sticky Notes. From now on they will be in sync between the user accounts and computers where the whole procedure was executed.

Troubleshooting: Not Able to Launch Sticky Notes. Issue with Accessing the File.

Chances are that, once you are done with the procedure, when you want to run Sticky Notes on some user account or computer, you receive the message displayed below.

Sticky Notes Sync

Don’t panic. This is only a problem of permissions. The user account you are using doesn’t have permissions to the new folder where you are storing your notes. Read this tutorial: Take Ownership and Change Permissions of Files and Folders. It will teach you how to give permissions for your user account to that folder.

Removing the Symbolic Link

At some point you might want to revert back and leave Sticky Notes to save its data in its original folder. To remove the symbolic link you created, run Steam Mover as shown in steps 4 and 5. Then, select the symbolic link you created and press the Left button, on the bottom of the window. Steam Mover will revert the symbolic link.

Steam Mover - Sticky Notes Sync

Repeat this on all the user accounts and computers where you want to revert back to the original setup.

Important Things to Consider!

There’s one big problem with the workaround above. If multiple user accounts and/or computers work with Sticky Notes at the same time, the data is stored and synchronized only for the last that closed Sticky Notes. It is very important that the notes are used once at a time. Working in parallel from multiple places on the same notes will ruin everything and you will lose data.

There is also a big benefit to this procedure. You can use the new folder to sync your notes in the cloud. Using SkyDrive, Windows Live Mesh or Dropbox, you can select the new Sticky Notes folder and have it backed up and synced regularly. This way, you won’t lose your notes again.

About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.