Scrapping with Standard Notes

This was probably my fault. Let it serve as a cautionary tale for those who like to back up personalized settings (AppData and its siblings, cousins and distant relations.)

Usually, when I reinstall Windows, I restore Appdata before I install the software that uses it. 90% of the time, the reinstalled software carries on as if it had never been violently ripped from its non-contiguous hard drive sectors.

Standard Notes appears to be that one out of ten programs that don't play that shit.

I managed to get everything back and running so, on the surface, I thought everything was fine. However, this reincarnated zombie developed a weird tick: whenever I overwrote the default note title with my carefully thought-out headline, Standard Notes would kick my title out  and restore its default. Imagine having a discussion with a five year-old child about bed-time:

Me: Time for bed.

SN: I don't want to.

Me: Time for bed.


I did what any good parent would; I consulted a psychologist. I was told to basically abandon the child and throw away his clothes and toothbrush, but keep all of his comic books! Then go get him back and let him rebuild his comic collection.

So, that's what I did. I deleted the backup folder. I trashed the database. Then I moved my offline copy of all my notes to another folder. Finally, I put the kid on a Greyhound bus, umm, I uninstalled the application. 

When I reinstalled Standard Notes, I was afraid it would be blank. However, the good psychologist did not lead me astray; the kid came back, and immediately downloaded all of his comics, even the ones I had given him from Evernote. Such a sweetie.

A little while later, I tested his behavior:

Me: Time for bed.

SN: {Didn't say a word, just went upstairs.}

Yes!! I was happy. I went about my business over the next three days, which didn't leave much time for writing. When I came back to Standard Notes, my heart sank. during the time that the program was zombified, it didn't save my notes! I didn't catch it because, after fighting with him about the titles and pushing the posts out to the blog, I just assumed each one was safely stashed away.

After reinstalling, the blog posts from the beginning of February were not showing up, even though they're still online. I'm still waiting for the psychologist to tell me that I'm not crazy, even though they don't use that word anymore. 

I may not be happy with Evernote, but it never pulled that stunt on me, even after three reinstalls. So, here is a parting tip: after a reinstall, Windows puts your previous install in a folder called Windows.old. Keep that around. Depending on how many programs you have to reinstall and how heavily modified they were from their out-of-box state, it may be easier to rebuild AppData and just crawl through Windows.old for the odd license file, configuration file or special file for each application.

This won't happen anymore: I bought Macrium Reflect and set up daily image backups to my external drive. (Windows Backup is too hard to get to, buried as it is 20,000 leagues Under the Settings Dialog.)

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