How to Recover Deleted Sticky Notes on Windows

Ways To Recover Deleted Sticky Notes On Windows

You may accidentally delete notes saved in the Sticky Notes app on your Windows PC or even decide you don’t need them anymore. If you change your mind later and want to bring them back, there are a few methods you can try to achieve this. We detail the methods to recover your deleted Sticky Notes below.

Good to know: if you’re an Obsidian user, learn how to make your notes more interesting.

How to Recover Deleted Sticky Notes

Before diving into the primary ways to recover Sticky Notes on Windows, check your Notes list first. Exiting the Sticky Notes app doesn’t delete your notes, as the app just gets minimized for a cleaner workspace. To re-access your notes, reopen Sticky Notes, right-click on the app’s icon in the taskbar, and select the “Note list” option. If you want to keep notes even when you’re away from your PC, start dictating your notes.

1. From Outlook

Your Microsoft account on your Windows PC is synchronized with Outlook. If you accidentally delete notes you had in the Sticky Notes app, you can retrieve them using the Outlook web app, making everything accessible from this cloud environment.

  1. Sign in to your Outlook account on the web browser.
Microsoft account sing in.
  1. Click “Notes” from the menu on the left to see your current notes.
Clicking on "Notes" in Outlook to view Sticky Notes.
  1. To see your deleted notes, click the “Deleted Items” option.
Clicking on "Deleted Items" in Outlook to view deleted Sticky Notes.

Tip: increase your productivity by setting up a block schedule in Outlook Calendar.

2. With a File Recovery Tool

An excellent method to recover deleted notes or files you had in the Sticky Notes folder is using third-party data recovery software. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are using Disk Drill.

  1. Download Disk Drill and install it on your PC.
  1. Launch the program and proceed to select the drive where your operating system is installed and your notes stored. (In this case, it’s the C:\ drive.)
  2. Click the “Search for lost data” button.
Clicking for "Search for lost data" on your drive of choice.
  1. Once Disk Drill’s scan is complete, click the “Review found items” button.
Clicking on "Review found items" button after scan is complete.
  1. To speed up finding your Sticky Notes files, type “Plum.sqlite” (for Windows 11 and later versions of 10) or “StickyNotes.snt” (Windows 7, 8, and earlier versions of 10) in the search bar at the top and press Enter.
Finding "plum.sqlite" file in Disk Drill scan results.
  1. Once you find the file, press the “Recover” button.
  2. Select where you want to save the recovered Sticky Notes files and click “Next” to finish the process.
Selecting the location for your saved Sticky Notes in Disk Drill.
  1. Move the recovered note files to their original location. Open File Explorer, then based on your Windows version, enter one of the addresses below in the address bar and hit Enter.
  2. On Windows 7, 8, and 10 (version 1511 or earlier), Sticky Notes files are located at:
%AppData%\Microsoft\Sticky Notes\
  1. On Windows 10 (version 1607 or later) and Windows 11, type the following address and hit Enter:
Original "plum.sqlite" file shown in StickyNotes folder in File Explorer.
  1. Copy the recovered file into this folder and allow it to overwrite the existing file.
  2. Open the Sticky Notes app to see your notes.

FYI: looking for alternatives when it comes to note-taking apps on your Windows PC? We outline the best free options for you.

3. From SNT/SQLITE File

Another common and effective method to recover deleted Sticky Notes on Windows is to find the app’s .SNT or .SQLITE file. Follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and select “Run.”
Clicking on "Run" from the WinX menu.
  1. Based on your version of Windows, copy-paste the address to the Sticky Notes folder (as indicated in the previous section) in the Run window.
Running command in Run window.
  1. Find the “plum.sqlite” file or “StickyNotes.snt” file and double-click it.
"plum.sqlite" file view in File Explorer.
  1. To open the file, select a text editor, like Word or Notepad.
Selecting Word to open the .SQLITE file.
  1. The editor will ask if you want to decode this file. Select “OK” to continue.
Allow Word to decode .SQLITE file.
  1. Press the CTRL + F keys to find the content of your deleted notes. You’ll need to remember at least a couple of words from the note to find it quickly.
Sticky Notes Going Through Content Of Sticky Note In Word

Tip: is your File Explorer acting up? We detail fixes for the most common errors that can arise.

4. Using File History

For this method to work, enabling the File History option before deleting any notes is a requirement. Not only does it help you keep data safe, but it allows you to choose the version of the file you want to restore.

Note: to enable File History, open Control Panel and navigate to “System -> Security -> File History” and click the “Turn on” button.

  1. Right-click the Start menu and select “Run.”
Clicking on "Run" from the WinX dialog.
  1. Type the following address and press Enter:
Running command in Run window.
  1. Right-click on the “plum.sqlite” file or StickyNotes.snt, then click “Show more options.”
Clicking on "Show more options" in file context menu.
  1. Choose “Restore previous versions,” select one of the versions, and hit “OK.”
Clicking on "Restore previous version" option in extended context menu.
  1. Open the Sticky Notes app to access your notes.

5. Using DB Browser for SQLite

If you cannot access your notes in the app, but the Sticky Notes files are available at their location (check section #2 for the direct address), you can retrieve them by using DB Browser for SQLite.

  1. Download DB Browser for SQLite. Select the suitable version for your operating system.
  1. After installation, open the DB Browser and click “Open Database” at the top.
Clicking on the "Open Database" button in DB Browser for SQLite.
  1. Go to the Sticky Notes app directory (as shown above) and select the “plum.sqlite” file (or “StickyNotes.snt”) to open it.
Opening SQLITE file from File Explorer.
  1. Back in DB Browser, click on the “Browse Data” option.
Clicking on "Browser Data" button in DB Browser.
  1. After expanding the drop-down table, select the “Note” table.
Selecting "Note" option from drop-down menu in DB Browser.
  1. You can view all your Sticky Notes (current and deleted). Note that DB Browser for SQLite won’t let you search the notes for keywords. Instead, you must click on them one by one and review their content until you find what you are looking for.
Checking Sticky Notes in DB Browser for SQLite.

Tip: not sure whether you should upgrade to Windows 11? Check out our list of reasons to take the plunge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I back up Sticky Notes?

Your notes in the Sticky Notes app are automatically backed up to Outlook. (You need to be logged in with your Microsoft account for that to happen.) You can export your data from your Outlook inbox by going to “Settings -> View all Outlook settings -> General -> Privacy & data” and selecting “Export.”

How do you permanently delete files so that they can't be recovered?

When you delete files from the Recycle Bin, recovery software can still restore them. If you want to delete files permanently, you will have to use a file shredder software.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.

Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

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