Recently switched computer at work and moved over my OneNote files. However seems I have lost the ability to search within OneNote.

From what I can see Indexing Options is doing one thing right. It has the .One extension set to Index Properties and File Contents. However I would have expected "Microsoft One Note" to appear under this list.

Lack Of OneNote

Not sure how to manually add OneNote to the list. Assuming that is even the issue. I could just rebuild the index but that seems useless since it does not to have it as a listed option.

  • Did you find a solution for this? I'm in the same situation with onenote 2016.
    – GWu
    May 4, 2017 at 11:18
  • 1
    @GWu Unfortunately no. Unrelated but I have stopped using it in place of a different note solution.
    – Matt
    May 4, 2017 at 18:04

4 Answers 4


I tried updating the location and rebuilding the index, it took all day, and didn't resolve my issue. I then tried renaming the cache folder and it worked right away.

  1. Close OneNote
  2. Go to C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\16.0
  3. Rename the cache folder to something else like cache.old
  4. Open OneNote. It may take a couple minutes to rebuild the cache

Answer found at: https://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-quickly-fix-onenote-2016-search-stopped-working-issue

  • If you want to avoid rebuilding the cache (step 4) which takes a lot of time and data depending on the size of your notebooks, just open OneNote once after step 3, close it, rename cache.old back to cache and open OneNote again. That worked for me.
    – yathish
    Mar 18, 2020 at 5:52
  1. Go to "Control Panel" -> "Indexing Options"
  2. Select "Microsoft OneNote" -> "Advanced"
  3. Press "Rebuild"
  • Didn't work! But Luke's method worked!
    – Cypher
    Jul 11, 2023 at 7:44

All you need to do is to rebuild the index, a solution comes from this thread:

I was able to fix my OneNote 2013 search issues on Windows 7 x64 by doing the following:

  1. Click Windows Start
  2. Type "Indexing Options"
  3. Select "Advanced"
  4. Select "File Types" tab
  5. Scroll to OneNote extensions and ensure they are checked (one, onePkg, oneToc, and oneToc2). I'm not sure if you'll have all of these or not, but won't hurt to make sure.
  6. Select "Index Settings" tab
  7. Click "Rebuild" button - this may take a while to complete, but my OneNote search began working like new within 10-15 minutes of this.

Now, I don't make any guarantees. These are simply the steps I took and my OneNote is searching again like a champ. I hope you get the same mileage.

  • 3
    Although your answer is 100% correct, it might also become 100% useless if that link is moved, changed, merged into another one or the main site just disappears... :-( Therefore, please edit your answer, and copy the relevant steps from the link into your answer, thereby guaranteeing your answer for 100% of the lifetime of this site! ;-) You can always leave the link in at the bottom of your answer as a source for your material... Jun 6, 2017 at 10:06

Similar experience with Luke.

  1. Close OneNote.
  2. Go to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\16.0.
  3. Try to rename the cache folder to some other name like cache.old. It may not be immediately possible after closing OneNote, but should succeed a few seconds later.
  4. Open OneNote again. It will open the notebook where you previously were, and will take some time to rebuild the cache for the notebook.

Now search should work for newest changes.

  • Duplicate of Luke's post...
    – Cypher
    Jul 11, 2023 at 7:43
  • @Cypher, I mentioned that it's similar. But I added more details. Those details may be helpful sometimes.
    – robbie fan
    Jul 13, 2023 at 4:33

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