...a welcome update to a classic Microsoft Windows program but it lacks backup or sync ability.
The new Windows 11 Notepad app update is a welcome addition to Microsoft's original Notepad that's effectively been unchanged in every version of Windows since the early 1990s (before Windows 95 and even Windows 3.1!). During these decades prior if you didn't save your notes and your computer restarted or shut down you were out of luck, kid!
This update has many features and arguably the two biggest are that Notepad now auto-saves your notes so you can reboot or shut down without saving and you can have multiple "Tabs" of notes. Unfortunately, at this point your notes do not sync to Microsoft's cloud so what happens if your computer crashes, you get a new one, or you get infected with ransomware? Read on dear friend...
We should mention right off the top that if your files have been deleted, your computer hard drive crashed, you've been infected with ransomware, or some other significant digital malady, and you don't have backups, you're going to need far more help to recover them (if it's even possible). This article won't get into data recovery techniques or software but if you have access to the original or backed up folders and files, you should be able to easily recover your Notes and Tabs by following our directions below.
Also, our recovery procedure will overwrite any new Notes that you have made, so be sure to save those new notes to another place first so you can find them later!
Final note: we are not Microsoft Engineers and have no insight into how this updated Notepad app has been programmed or will change in the future but we have used this technique in the field successfully as of Dec 2023 on Windows 11 Pro release 23H2. Your milage may vary.
In order to recover / restore your Windows 11 Notepad notes and tabs, you need access to your Windows profile folder (older techs like me know them as "user profile directory"). Typically this means you're getting the Notepad data from a backup or a hard drive extracted from the computer.
First off, know that the Notepad files are hidden in a special folder and most people will need to turn on the option to view the folder and what is in them:
A) Open Windows Explorer
B) Click the three dotted menu beside the View button
C) Click "Options"
D) Click the "View" Tab
E) Click "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"
If still unsure, see video below:
On the computer you are restoring the Notepad notes to: Navigate to the folder
Notes on the folder names:
1) yourusername is not likely "edward" as in my example (but it's may be a rather high percentage for the English-speaking crowd 🤔)
2) Your folder "Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_randomcharacters" will be different than mine, which is "Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_8wekyb3d8bbwe"
In the "LocalState" folder, you will find two more folders: "TabState" and "WindowState"
Next, be sure Notepad is closed on your computer that will be getting your recovered Notes, then delete the "TabState" and "WindowState" folders.
Finally, load up your backup or the original files on a hard drive and folders and use Windows Explorer to navigate to the folders where the notes files are stored.
Kkeep in mind that on the old computer backup or hard drive the "username" may be different and will certainly have a differently named "Microsoft.WindowsNotepad_randomcharacters" folder.
You will simply copy/paste these two folders from the backup to your current computer folder.
Open Notepad a breathe a sigh of relief as your notes and tabs reappear....and then get back to work! 😏
PS - Consider reverting your Explorer View settings back to "Don't show hidden files, folders, and drives" as most users don't need to see hidden system folders on a daily.
Microsoft's Windows Blog post about it: Redesigned Notepad for Windows 11 begins rolling out to Windows Insiders | Windows Insider Blog
Additional information about it and the new Snipping Tool (also an updated App with neat features!): New Updates for Snipping Tool and Notepad for Windows Insiders | Windows Insider Blog