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How to Backup and Restore Sticky Notes Data in Windows 10

Microsoft Sticky Notes is the simple way to quickly save something for later, so you can stay in the flow. With Sticky Notes, you can create notes, type, ink, or add a picture, and stick them to the desktop.

With Windows 10 v1607, the classic desktop version of Sticky Notes is discontinued and it is transformed into a modern or UWP app with Cortana integration and other features. The Sticky Notes content is now saved to a database file named plum.sqlite.

If you want to recover your Sticky Notes data from a broken Windows 10 installation in order to transfer it to another computer, this article tells you how to do that.

Backup Sticky Notes Data in Windows 10

  1. Close Sticky Notes if it’s running.
  2. Open the following folder. The easiest way is to copy the following path, paste in Explorer address bar, and press ENTER.
    Sticky Notes data files in Windows 10 v2004/v20H2

    You’ll see these files in that folder:
  3. Backup all the files (most importantly, the database files namely, plum.sqlite, plum.sqlite-shm, and plum.sqlite-wal) to a folder. In Windows 10 versions earlier than 1809, you may see only plum.sqlite.
  4. After logging in to a new user profile, or to another Windows 10 computer, transfer the above files to the LocalState folder in your new profile. Before that, make sure that the Sticky Notes is not already running.

(The above method was last reviewed in November 2020, and verified to work on v2004 and v20H2. However, I couldn’t transfer the Sticky Notes data from a v2004 system to a v20H2 system. Whereas, the restoration was successful from a v20H2 computer → v2004 computer.)

Backup Sticky Notes (Older versions) Data

The classic desktop Sticky Notes program present in Windows 10 v1511 and earlier, and in previous Operating Systems, stores the information in a file named StickyNotes.snt in the following folder:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Sticky Notes

Convert legacy Sticky Notes file StickyNotes.snt to the new format

There is a hidden feature in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update which allows transfer or conversion of legacy or classic Sticky Notes .snt file to the new format. The Sticky Notes modern app (UWP) stores the data in a database file named plum.sqlite.

Important note: The following data file conversion method doesn’t work if you have newer builds, especially v1809. If you have a legacy data file of .snt type, you’ll need to use another Windows 10 computer running Anniversary Update v1607 and follow the procedure below.

Alternately, you can get the Anniversary Update ISO image, install the Windows 10 build in a virtual environment (e.g., Oracle VM VirtualBox), and convert the legacy data file .snt to .sqlite format. Then you can transfer the files plum.sqlite (and plum.sqlite-shm, plum.sqlite-wal — if these files are present in the LocalState folder) to the LocalState folder on your target Windows 10 computer.

To convert the legacy .snt file to the new format, use these steps:

  1. Close all instances of the modern Sticky Notes, and then open this folder:
  2. Create a new folder named Legacy
  3. Under the Legacy folder, copy your existing StickyNotes.snt
  4. Rename StickyNotes.snt to ThresholdNotes.snt
  5. Start the Sticky Notes app. It reads the legacy .snt file and transfers the content to plum.sqlite database automatically.

Thanks to Donovon Lange, Engineering Manager – Sticky Notes [Microsoft] for this neat trick!

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