“OneNote 2013 (desktop) is not currently my default OneNote experience” Warning

A new popup greeted me when I opened the desktop version of  OneNote 2013 (desktop) today… check it out:


Wanting to see what would happen if I clicked “Ask me later,” I later discovered that the next time I opened the program, it was slow to load…

(There was a moment of panic when I thought I was going to be stuck with a white screen of death, but it resolved itself within seconds – I’m simply extremely impatient, and OneNote is usually lightening fast – even when I have 18 notebooks packed with pages and sections open.)

If you do select “Don’t ask me again” you can change your mind later and make OneNote 2013 (desktop) the default OneNote application by going to:

File > Options > Advanced > (scroll down) > Default OneNote Application > select tick box


And vise versa, if you do select “Make this version default” you can also change your mind later by going to:

File > Options > Advanced > (scroll down) > Default OneNote Application > unselect tick box

But here’s the $100 question – if  OneNote 2013 (desktop) is not currently my default OneNote experience, when what is?

UPDATE: The answer is the OneNote App!

So what do you want to do? Desktop or App?

If you prefer the OneNote 2013 desktop experience, so I select “make this version default” or I check the checkbox.

If you prefer the OneNote App, then select “don’t ask me again” or uncheck the checkbox.



Here’s a link to a great post explain how to Choose Which OneNote Opens with the Surface Pen – OneNote App or OneNote 2013 Default – Microsoft

26 responses to ““OneNote 2013 (desktop) is not currently my default OneNote experience” Warning

  1. I too wondered what the default was if this checkbox is not checked so I did some testing and found that the default then was the Modern (free) OneNote. That suits me better so I have left the checkbox in OneNote 2013 unchecked.

    1. Checking the box in >Advanced Default Apps>.
      Problem is one needs to know the file ext. then. Pain in the neck.

      1. Checking the box , greyed me out and gave me a secondary box telling me to go to >Settings > Default Apps.

        File ext. knowledge for One Note is then required. Anyone know that?

  2. Desktop OneNote 2013 works best on my Windows 8 desktop, although I am starting to use the new touch-driven iPad and Android versions of OneNote. Ray, I’m guessing you’re on a tablet or other device with touch screen. Is that correct?

    1. I have a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook – it can be converted from a laptop into a tablet – although with both options allow the touch screen functionality to work.

  3. I discovered this when I opened OnNote today (for the first time in a few months). The reason that I went searching is because I thought OneNote was part of the MS Office suite, and I only have MS Office 2010. Why would I have a OneNote 2013 (let along a “desktop experience” for said version).

    I still have not been able to figure out….
    1) do I have OneNote 2013, even though I only have Office 2010?
    2) Do I want to use the “Desktop Experience”? (I have a Win8.1 Yoga 13, too)
    3) What IS the 2013 “desktop experience”?

    1. Jim,
      Here’s a few answers:
      1. You can find out by opening OneNote, then clicking on the (purple) File Tab > then click on the Account button > then click on the About OneNote button. You’ll see what version you have listed at the top, along with if it’s part of your Office 2010 suite or a standalone download, etc.

      2. I say yes. I love the desktop experience. But that’s my opinion.

      3. The 2013 “desktop” experience is the full featured OneNote 2013 program that you’ve installed on your desktop machine/computer/device. It’s different than the OneNote App or OneNote Online versions – which have less features.

      Hope that helps!

  4. So do we check or uncheck if we are paying for and want to use the paid version?

  5. I can’t believe that Microsoft does not have some kind of Help Box to explain what it is talking about with this cryptic message. Not understanding what it means, I plan to leave it alone.

    1. I hear you.
      I think they expect you to go to a Microsoft site to request help, like this one of these:

      #1 – https://support2.microsoft.com/ask-community/office/onenote

      #2 – https://support.office.com/

      The Microsoft Community forums are telling people to “just click yes”, but I agree it’s not intuitive, especially for consumers and non-techs.

      (see: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_onenote-onenote_2013/win10-upgrade-changed-onenote-2013-default/c05f1b97-a790-44c6-bd95-2ab634580102?auth=1)

  6. I found the solution for my issue. Go to Settings > System > Default Apps and then scroll down and choose Set Defaults by app. Once in that screen, scroll down and find OneNote (desktop), click on it and then on the right choose “Set this program as default.” that resolved my issue.

  7. It appears you know your stuff…So,

    how do I make my email the default for OneNote?
    I am running windows 8.1, will soon move to windows 10.


  8. Hi Kelly,
    thanks for the very helpful guide!
    I would like to know if exists a registry key to reach the same objective.

    Any help will be appreciated.

  9. Hi guys,
    do you know how to stop that Pop up with registry key to implement a GP Prefernce for all users?

    Thank you


  10. I have the free version of 2016 installed with 2013.
    The 2013 box is checked to make it the default version, but the 2016 version keeps popping up (with an error message) whenever I do a screen shot.

    BTW there is no checkbox to make the 2016 version the default–Microsoft just forces it to be the default because, for whatever reason, they want us to connect to Onedrive.

    Is there any real benefit to the 2016 over the 2013 version? The 2016 version seems really locked down and anchored to Onedrive.

    I HATE logging in to things, so I’m not a fan of Onedrive or any of the cloud products.

Comments are closed.