OneNote and the MS Ecosystem - am I out of options?

First off, long-time viewer and recent supporter of L1techs - love the content - but new to the forums. So… “Hi!” :slight_smile:

I’ve been searching online for the answer but I can’t find it. Or more accurately I’ve been searching for the answer I would like, and can’t find it. I figured we have a few Windows-y / Admin-y types here so it couldn’t hurt to ask.

I was about to push buy on a Surface Pro X. I’m aware of the general limitations but my use case is purely as a note-taking / information-consuming device so I thought I was okay with that. However, just in time I learned that with the OneNote version it uses, you must store your notebooks on MS’s OneDrive, where they tell you. That’s an absolute hard ‘no’ for me. But I find it amazing they would do this. Are there any ways to switch out “OneDrive” for some other networked location, e.g. my home server. MS is supposed to be the corporate-friendly software company and I can’t believe all companies are fine with this so presumably there must be some sort of way of reconfiguring Windows to not use OneDrive?

I can’t find anything though so either I don’t know the right terminology or it really doesn’t exist.

Thanks for any replies.

The version of OneNote running on the Surface X would be the version from from the MS Store, right?

Correct. Unlike traditional Windows versions and the non-ARM Surface Pro, you don’t get a choice of which to use. Only store apps are allowed on the Surface Pro X.

I have considered getting a non-ARM Surface Pro instead which can run OneNote 2016 (the last non-store version). But if MS force you to use OneDrive with the Store version I’m worried they’ll also remove the original version support at some point.

Usually you can change the location of OneDrive from your documents folder to elsewhere. However I don’t know if that’s the same on the arm device and I think OneNote is connected to onedrive directly these days.

As far as I’m aware the answer is no. Microsoft’s office and apps are moving to be more integrated across you account these days so you can just pick up and go.

I believe that you can change what is essentially where you mount OneDrive, e.g. to move it from the Documents folder. But what I want to do is change what is Mounted so that it isn’t Microsoft’s servers. I * think* you can do what you say on the ARM devices but it’s still going to leave me with the inability to store my OneNote files somewhere other than MS’s proprietary cloud.

Surely companies are not happy about that, though? This is why I feel the answers I’ve found (“You can’t do that”) can’t possibly be the end of the story. If MS want business users, how can they force companies to store their files only on MS’s proprietary cloud? At least in so far as OneNote and anything else that they begin to take this approach with. Are they really not making provision for companies that want to use ARM-based Windows but don’t want to store their data with MS? I feel I must be missing something.

Companies don’t run consumer windows they run enterprise and their own Microsoft cloud stack.

There’s about three options essentially.

Consumer windows. Your account is an outlook account or equivalent, your stuff is stored on the standard cloud.

Business accounts, own domain, some business control options, stuff is stored on the standard cloud (except maybe a higher SLA)

Enterprise accounts, own domain, own AD, your stuff is stored either in your own on-premise setup or on your separate enterprise Microsoft cloud domain.

My onenote for example can save stuff to my personal account or to my old uni account with i believe is stored in the cloud but under the unis control.

My old work it was stored on the enterprise cloud as well.

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That happened to me with evernote. They pulled Linux support or something. I don’t know exactly what happened because it’s been a while. But I remember being dissapointed and not using a note-taking app for a while until I moved to OneNote.

Thanks. So the minimum level of licence I need to be able to avoid storing my data in MS’s cloud is Enterprise.

I imagine all this is a lot of expense and complexity? I think that means purchasing a volume licence to get Enterprise which could be hundreds of pounds per year just to be able to save my notebooks to my own server. Enterprise isn’t just a version like Home / Professional / S, is it?

Well this is frustrating. I was all set up to buy the Surface Pro X and now looks like it simply can’t do this basic thing for no good reason. (Apologies for mini-rant).

How does Evernote compare to OneNote? It looks like my question might mutate into best alternatives. :frowning:

Pro I believe but you still need the enterprise backend, office 365 etc.

You might check if the standalone office 2019 has an arm build, if it does you can use that on this machine instead of office 365.

I have Office 2019 and W10 Pro on my computer at work, it appears the 2019 version of OneNote requires either a personal MS account or a Work/School account. Which makes me think it’ll either be tied to OneDrive or whatever your Work/School has. So no bueno for OP in this case.

Office 2016 version of OneNote doesn’t seem to need to be tied to anything for it to function.

Needs to be an arm version though for the surface x

It looks like OneNote 2016 was the last version that allowed this.

Okay. So looks like Microsoft is down one sale of the Surface Pro X for the sake of their trying to force control of my data. I’ll consider the non-X version but given what was said about 2019 version I’ve no hope that the non-X version wont have this loophole closed soon, either.

Thanks for all replies. Going to mark Eden’s earlier post as a solution. Even though it’s not what I hoped to hear.

Well the stuff I got out of evernote was:

  • a folder-like structure for notes in the left side
  • Dropping files / pictures / handwritten notes (basically vector graphics) into the note
  • at least minimal support for formatting (bold, italic et cetera)
  • ability to share notes / notebooks with other people

If I remember correctly the lacking linux client was what did it for me in 2011. They had one but cancelled it due to lack of users or something. And their service started to cost money back then and the first increment was more expensive than I wanted it to be or something.

It costs around 7 €/$ per month or something. But it isn’t self hosted so probably not what you are looking for.

There is an episode of the selfhosted podcast that touches note taking / wikis or something. Link to the podcast.

I don’t know if there is a note taking app that is open source that does hand-written notes (I guess that is what you want because you have a surface). I’d guess you’ll have to go open source if it has to run on Windows / ARM and want to self host the storage for it.

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So it looks like there’s a free version of Evernote which is tied to their cloud and also lacks a lot of features. Then there are two monthly payment tiers above it which appear to be magnanimous enough to let you save your data on your own device. But I’m not going to pay £5 per month for the privilege of being able to export my own data.

Yeah, I’ll have a look for alternatives. I guess MS and Evernote both feel that owning their user’s data is of more value than providing a selling point over their competitor.

I’ve used every Office version since Office 2007, Office 2016 is probably the last one with most features and where MS doesn’t try to shove always online down your throat.

Office 2019 is basically dead in the water already, and Office 365 requires an account.

This forum could use a Correct rating of some kind. Because I agree with everything you just said but I can’t “like” it. :frowning: :frowning: