As I’ve mentioned several time on the Surface Smiths Podcast, If you have a Surface and use OneNote desktop regularly should be aware, if you upgrade to Windows 10, you will lose the ability to launch the Desktop OneNote with the button on the top of the stylus. For some reason you can only launch the Modern version of OneNote that comes with Windows 10. This version is very basic (not even as good as the Windows 8.1 version with the impressive context sensitive radial menus). You can try setting default app Settings>System>Default apps but that doesn’t work. Neither does the Surface App. In fact, the sometimes useful but also laughable Surface App was updated in August with a new interface. It no longer has the option to set the version of OneNote that launches with the pen top button.
Figure 1 – Example of just one of the laughable settings in the Surface App
So what’s missing in the Modern version of OneNote? Lots of things but most importantly for Surface users that rely on the stylus, the ability to convert ink to text or ink to math.
So what’s a OneNote power user to do? There have been many complaints about this in the various forums that Surface users frequent but Microsoft has yet to issue an official statement or fix that I am aware of. Fortunately buried in the comments of one of Paul Thurrot’s posts about how to choose the right version on OneNote for you, One clever reader named Mark Wibaux provided a hack that walks you through setting the desktop version of OneNote as the default for the pen button.
Here is a summary of his instructions:
Uninstall Universal OneNote by starting an elevated PowerShell session and running the following command:
Get-AppxPackage *OneNote* | Remove-AppxPackage
- Launch regedit and go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\onenote-cmd
- Create a new Key “Shell”
- Under shell create a new key “Open”
- Under open create a new key “Command”
- Under command edit the (Default) REG_SZ entry and enter path to the OneNote desktop executable. The easiest way I found was to open up the “OneNoteDesktop\Shell\Open\Command” registry key that was right below the onenote-cmd key and copy the string from there (without the /hyperlink “%1” ending) to the entry.
Since this is not something that all users can or should do by themselves, I’ve worked with Sean Kearney to create a short command file to automate the process. Here’s a step-by-step on how to run the script:
- Download FixOnNote.Zip
- Extract the contents to a folder on your system
- Navigate to the folder and verify that it contains the file FixOneNote.CMD
- Right click on the FixOneNote.CMD and select Run as administrator
Figure 1 – Run the command file
The command file be read with any text reader such as notepad. I recommend you inspect it before you run it. As always the standard disclaimers apply. Run at your own risk. No guarantees warranties etc.
Enjoy your resurrected OneNote experience. I know I do.