Sticky Notes is a Microsoft Windows 10 utility that lets you jot down anything on your mind when creativity or need strikes. More specifically, the tool permitted writing things you need to memorize down since the release of Windows 7. Though the aforementioned base functionality remained unchanged, the feature itself went through numerous upgrades over time. Gone are the days when you could accidentally close a note and irreversibly lose its contents. To prove that, we’ll demonstrate how to recover Sticky Notes in Windows 10.
1. Utilize built-in Sticky Notes data retention
Microsoft unsurprisingly predicted notes can close suddenly or the app itself may crash. However, once you re-launch Sticky Notes, you’ll only see the latest note you’ve edited. To see the list of all notes, do this:
- Click the three-dot (…) icon in the top right corner.
- Find the Notes list option.
- Scroll to find previous notes. Once you find the one you want, you can:
- Drag the note to the home screen.
- Double-click the note to open it.
- Click the three-dot icon of that particular note, then select the Open note option.
2. Recover Sticky Notes from the Outlook Trash folder on Windows 10
Let us ask you this. Are you using Windows 10 while logged in to your Microsoft account as opposed to using a local one? If that’s the case, you’re lucky because, for quite a while, they made it so that Sticky Notes automatically sync with your account. Just like your Outlook e-mails, you can do the following:
- Open the Outlook Live page.
- Click the Sign in button in the upper right corner and log in with your Microsoft account.
- In the sidebar on the left-hand side, click on Deleted.
- Find the entry on the list, put a checkmark into the empty circle, and click on Restore in the top menu. Keep in mind Outlook Trash folder stores contents for 30 days.
- Note entry or entries you erased will now reappear in the Sticky Notes app.
3. Employ the Windows 10 File History feature to recover Sticky Notes
Whenever we talk about lost files or application data, we mention File History, a built-in efficient backup feature of Windows 10. As always, we have to preface the method below by saying you must have enabled the feature before notes were lost. In the best-case scenario, you set it to automatic, so it picked up multiple versions. If you followed some other related guides, that’s likely the case. Here’s how to proceed:
- Open the Start menu and search for “settings”.
- Open Settings, then head to Update & Security.
- Find the Backup option, then select More options.
- Click the Restore files from a current backup at the bottom.
- Note. You can also go through the regular File History feature, then use its user interface to navigate folders slowly. Following the first three steps lets you copy-paste the file path.
- Now, depending on the Windows 10 version, go to the following location:
- Windows 10 Version 1607 and after: Head to
C:\Users\[your-username]\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftStickyNotes_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalStateand select a file titled “plum.sqlite”
- Windows 10 Version 1511 or earlier, go to
C:\Users\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Sticky Notesand find a file titled “StickyNotes.snt”
- Windows 10 Version 1607 and after: Head to
- Click the green Recover button at the bottom of File History, then open Sticky Notes to check the results.
There’s a high chance the AppData folder is hidden. Since the aforementioned two files aren’t, you may get there directly. However, if you go through folders manually, you need to:
- Open the Start menu.
- Search for “hidden files” and select Show hidden files.
- Click on Show settings on the highlighted entry under “File Explorer”
- Click the empty circle in front of Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
Check for deleted Sticky Notes via Previous Versions (Alternative)
Many users are uncomfortable using this feature or weren’t even aware it existed. Plus, it’s inconvenient because you can’t see the date. Thus, we felt we should point out a more beginner-friendly option. After making sure hidden files are shown, do the following:
- Open File Explorer.
- Head over to the locations we pointed out, depending on the version of Windows.
- Right-click on “StickyNotes.snt” or “plum.sqlite”
- Select Properties.
- Switch to the Previous Versions tab.
- Click any of the available file versions, depending on the date or time, then Open → OK.
4. Enable Sticky Notes syncing across Windows 10 accounts
Now, we’ll be honest, both steps are prevention techniques that may be enabled from the get-go, so it’s undoubtedly worth a try. If that isn’t the case, they’ll serve as a backup method should you lose Sticky Notes in the future. Here’s the process:
- If you are using a local account, log out and sign in to a Microsoft account.
- Open Sticky Notes and give it a little time to see if any notes appear from the cloud backup.
- If they do not, click the cogwheel icon in the top right corner.
- Once the “Settings” screen opens, click the Sync now button. If there are no notes stored in your Microsoft account, the app will upload those stored on your computer.
- To prevent the accidental removal of notes in the future, make sure the Confirm before deleting option is toggled on.
5. Use third-party data recovery software to get notes back
If you’ve read other related guides, you know this is the last resort option. Thankfully, we have a list of well-equipped, leading data restoration software for Windows that can handle the pressure. We have no ties to EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, but it lets you recover 2 GB of data for free and has superb efficiency and great filtering. Thus, we’ll use it for a quick demonstration:
- Download, install and launch EaseUS Data Recovery Software.
- Select your system disk, usually C:/ under “PC Recovery”.
- Click on Scan and wait for it to finish.
- Use the categories on the left, “by file type” or “by original directory”, try to find old .sqlite or .snt lite files.
- Once you do, select them and click Recover.
- Save them to the desktop, then open Task Manager.
- Stop the Sticky Notes process.
- Head to the file destinations we mentioned in method 3.
- Replace the existing files with the ones you restored. We suggest making a copy or renaming the original ones to, for example, “StickyNotes-new.snt” or “plum-new.sqlite”
- Launch Sticky Notes.
While .sqlite is hard to explore without SQL software, a .snt file can be opened in Notepad. Sadly, the contents look like gibberish, but you can use the Ctrl + F search feature to find a part of a note, such as ‘buy milk’. That way, you can restore individual notes without replacing all current ones.