This Tree-Based Personal Information Manager Looks Superb


If you're a regular reader of my column you'll know that I'm continually on the lookout for the ultimate PIM tool, to help me manage my knowledgebase of stuff.  I've used, and abandoned, lots of different products in the past, and have reviewed many of them here.  

For some reason, I appear to have overlooked a product called TreeDB Notes, which is a great shame as it looks really very good indeed. 

As you'll see from the screen shot below, the interface is pretty easy to understand.  A contents tree down the left hand side, and the actual content on the right.  Content can be text, graphics, tables, and just about anything else you want.

TreeDB Notes comes in both a free and Pro version.  The free one, shown below, has just about all the features you'll need.  It's a 9 MB download from and is malware-free according to Web of Trust and VirusTotal.  I tested it on Windows 8.0, but it should run on everything from XP onwards.




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I have used TreeDB since around 2000 as a PAID user. It's a great program, however there are several major drawbacks, so I have finally ended up migrating to Evernote.

1. Is exclusively HDD resident - (no Internet cloud capabilities).

2. It's global search is excruciatingly SLOW. I have requested the developer fix this issue for years with no results. TreeDB's global search speed does not hold a candle to Evernote's search speed.

3. TreeDB has become corrupted on me on (3) occasions whereby I have lost my entire database... even multiple backups were not helpful... and the developer was not able to deliver a fix and put the ball back in my court. UNACCEPTABLE.

4. The developer disable the TreeDB forum because there were so many negative comments that were left UNRESOLVED.

If the developer had been responsive to these issues... TreeDB would be hard to beat... however with these issue still UNRESOLVED after years... for business purposes I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that TreeDB is not a reliable and stable business-class application... feature-rich it surely is... but unstable and unreliable.

I hope this proves helpful to some.

Item 3. above - I have had the same experience. I lost a *LOT* of work and the developer was not helpful or responsive. This was in a business environment (I have a business licence).

Item 4. above - I can confirm, because was one of the contributors to that forum!

I still use TreeDB but I call it from within a batch file that saves a timestamped version of the database each time, so I can always go back to a working version.

It's a great shame, because there is still nothing quite as good as TreeDB. Evernote isn't portable (and the new version 5 is practically unusable for me). Treepad has less functionality.

I suppose it depends on what one is using the program for.

Regarding your problem with the search ability -
With the type of data I store, and the organized approach I use (which TreeDB makes easy), I have never had to do a search. I can just select the appropriate TreeDB files, and can navigate to what I am looking for.
A similar example (illustrating how users can differ) is the Window Start Menu. I use XP's classic style, and create high level (hard left) categories. I never have to get the Start menu to 'search' for me, as I can navigate to any desired program or shortcut. I detest the later versions of Windows who make organzing the Start Menu difficult, and offer their 'lucky dip' Search Start Menu instead. If I were to totally lose my memory, I could still find any program that I wanted, by navigating the structures I had created.

Regarding the problem with corruption, I have not experienced that yet.
Do you do complete images of your hard drive regularly ? (Everyone should.)
If I did have a corruption, I could always go back to an image made a few days earlier.

PS For others reading this, if you use the free Seagate DiscWizard You can browse a previous image to copy out a file. Thus you do not have to 'roll back' your whole OS to an earlier date, just to get one file. I use the bootable CD for all such operations (imaging), but if you do install the Seagate DiscWizard into one of your PCs, then that PC can browse any of your earlier images.

I agree on the paying part. If it is something I need and it does the job and is reasonably priced, I have no problem paying for it. And this seems to fill the bill all the way around. In fact I'm sure the learning curve will test if I can overcome my "blonde-ness" handicap and get with the program. :-) But that is just what I want. So thank you for this!

I've downloaded this to evaluate it as it looks useful. The naming and licensing is misleading though. The 'free' version only appears to be free for 30 days evaluation, then you must buy a licence to continue using it. From the helpfile:

"This is not free software. Subject to the terms below, you are hereby licensed by SoftArtStudio, to use this software for evaluation purposes without charge for a period of 30 days."

So *none* of the versions are actually free for continued use and thus I judge the nomenclature disingenuously misleading.

I won't throw my toys out of the pram though and will give it a fair trial. I've got no problem paying for software but do value honesty in the marketplace.

Comparison between the free and paid (with trial) versions here. The freeware version is also listed at Softpedia. MC - Site Manager.

I had another look and you're right - I'd downloaded the Pro version by mistake.

My only excuse is that I've been using PCs for so long that senility is setting %^(

Happens to all of us. If I tried to claim total innocence a bolt of lightening would soon strike me down. :D Many web pages in fact are purposely designed to trick users into installing either the wrong (as in paid product version) or even something totally different to what they thought they were getting. Worse still are sites like cnet ( that use a wrapped installer. The AdblockPlus browser extension helps to avoid some of these redirections. I've tried to explain some of the other possibilities, and how to avoid them here. MC - Site Manager.

That's a very useful and considered article - thanks for the link.

I use Winpatrol, Malwarebytes, Cautious Good Sense and several other utilities to validate downloads but threats change so it's very useful to have a regular heads-up on new methods being developed to trip the unwary.

Thank you for finding it and thank you bllr for giving some valuable input from a long time user. I asked for one a little while ago and this seems to be a great option. I am looking forward to trying it out. One Note and Evernote especially fulfill other needs for me but like you, I still needed one like this. Okay...thanks all and I am off to try it out. :-)

I have tried many programs, and I finally settled on TreeDBNotes

I was an Analyst in IT for 20 years (Banks and Telecommunications).
Never had a failed project.
If you gave me unlimited resources, I could not design a better program than TreeDBNotes
It is brilliant.
In addition to the variety of ways one can organize your data, I have separate files for finance, Software, Hardware, etc.
I use the Win XP. Start menu (in Classic mode) and have high level (in the hard left menu that rises when you press the Start button) categories. In there I have a 'sub menu' pointing to each of my files (eg Software.treeDB). Thus I can quickly open any of my .treeDB files

Looks great. I nearly rejected it thinking it was not portable, but this link tells you how to create a portable copy: . The notes don't tell you that you also need to manually copy over the folders in \AppData\Roaming\TreeDBNotes 4.

I'm in the "me too" crowd here. I've been using the free version for years and it works great, is regularly updated and very functional. If I actually needed the features you get when you upgrade to the full version I'd have done so a long time ago, but the free one is everything I need. And the free version is VERY close to the full version - it's not crippled in any way, just not as many features. I think the author has a comparison page on the site...

Does anyone know how the free and paid versions of this editor compare with the free and paid versions of Treepad (‎)?

I have been using Treepad Business version (paid) for many years and have been happy with it.

I used the free version of TreePad for a while but eventually got frustrated that so much useful, basic functionality (like underlined, auto-detected hyperlinks!) was disabled unless you paid for it.

If you have treepad business and are happy with it, stay with it as it is a great program. I tried them both and TreeDB fits my needs well and it was free, although I did register to be able to use some of the extra modules

I've been using the paid version of this application for about three or four years. I used to use KeyNote until it could no longer be developed. But TreeDBNotes is very nice, and the authour still spends time on it. It has a lot of nice features. I use it like a big electric notebook and store all my notes and research in it - pictures, richtext and links, too. It has a password-keeper and a task-keeper, but I only use the notes. The only thing it doesn't do that KeyNote used to do is to load external rtf/txt files into the tree.

Hello. Looks really great, but my firewall said: Name: (Cloud Id: 8920615) MalUAgent.MIP (Trojan)

May be a false positive, but I didn´t downloaded it.



This is a common error. MC - Site Manager.


Does free version save images and color text (html)?

I think, it doesn't support Unicode well. I used to write in Urdu (Arabic script based) and I did faced problems when last time I used it.

I'm using KeyNote NF and that makes me a fan of this Tree based notes applications.

Looks good there are a few others, it would be nice for someone to review such as iKnow and google noteit

I've been a registered user of TreeDBNotes since 2005 or earlier and couldn't be without it. It's perfect for someone who needs (or wants) to do a lot of writing, particularly if, like me, you write to figure out what you're thinking - before you then turn to the writing proper. Even with the advent of softwares such as OneNote, EverNote and so on (which I use for more ephemeral purposes) TDBN is an absolute stalwart for me. Note also a responsive developer and a quite active forum. It's so long ago that I've used the free version, I can't remember what it does/doesn't relative to the paid version but it will provide at least the basic tree function. Strong recommendation from a long-time user.

ADD: should mention too, it works on all versions of Windows right up to 8.1