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Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

Widows Mail

2016 © Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

As of January 25, 2013, Microsoft issued the following email applications (also known as email clients):

Outlook (a component of MS-Office)

Outlook Express (a component of Windows 98 to Windows Server 2003)

Windows Mail (a component of Windows VISTA)

Windows Live Mail (a component of Windows Essentials Suite)


In our opinion, as of January 25, 2013 (date of writing of this article) Windows Mail remains the best email app that Microsoft produced for its operating systems. Many people want to use Windows Mail instead of other Microsoft email apps. Windows Mail is supplied only with Windows VISTA. However, Windows Mail is already installed on most PCs working under Windows 7, in hidden folder C:\Program Files\Windows Mail (more on this further down).

 

This article describes:

Windows Mail files: application files and email files

How to install Windows Mail on Windows operating systems other than Windows VISTA

How to backup and restore Windows Mail rules

How to backup and restore Windows Mail accounts         

How to backup and restore Windows Mail messages and folder tree

 

Before we go any further, you need to set your Operating System (OS) to view hidden folders and file extensions, as follows:

Control Panel > Folder Options > View > Show hidden files and folders

Control Panel > Folder Options > View > Hide extensions for known file types (uncheck it)

 

Folder Options window - View tab

 

Figure 1

 

Windows Mail Files: Application Files and Email Files

 

Application Files

All files that comprise the Windows Mail app itself (e.g., *.exe, *.dll, *.dat files) are located in:
C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

 

Email Files

All files that contain email messages (stored as *.eml files; e.g., 0B537AFC-00000014.eml), along with folder tree information and any other type of information that Windows Mail requires to display stored email messages and folders are contained in:
C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

NOTE: For your Windows VISTA OS, UserName will likely be different. It will probably be the user name that you entered in a Windows dialog box when you installed Windows VISTA on your PC.

 

How to Use Windows Mail on Windows Operating Systems Other than Windows Vista

 

To use Windows Mail with an OS other than Windows VISTA (say as an example, Windows 7), simply copy and paste the Windows VISTA Windows Mail folder to the C:\Program Files folder of Windows 7, so that the end result is:
C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

 

Then create a shortcut to file WinMail.exe, (located in C:\Program Files\Windows Mail) and place that shortcut wherever you will click on it in the future to start Windows Mail; say as an example, Windows’ Taskbar.

 

NOTE: In fact, for Windows 7, Windows Mail is already installed on your PC working under Windows 7, in folder
C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

 

However, to use this Windows Mail installation that is already part of your Windows 7 OS, you will need to view hidden operating systems files and enable OS permissions. If you do not want to go through this hassle (OS permissions, etc.), rename the Windows Mail folder on Windows 7, say as an example Windows Mail Old, and use the procedure described earlier to copy and paste from Windows VISTA to Windows 7.

 

 

 

How to Backup Windows Mail Rules

 

Windows Mail rules are store in a registry key.

The /E switch of REGEDIT (a DOS command) can be used to export a registry key and its sub keys.

To backup Windows Mail rules, use the following command line (an actual example is given further on):

 

REGEDIT /E D:\path\filename.reg "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Rules"

 

The above command line writes registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Rules" and its sub keys to a file named filename.reg on D:\path\ (here, word path means a path to a file named filename.reg).

 

Example of an actual command line:

REGEDIT /E F:\Data\Windows_Mail_Rules.reg "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Rules"

 

The above command line writes registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Rules as file

Windows_Mail_Rules.reg to a folder named Data and located in the root directory of drive F.

 

NOTE 1: You can put such a command line in a batch file (*.bat) and execute it on a daily schedule with Microsoft’sTask Scheduler (Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Task Scheduler). Each time the command line is executed, it replaces the previously backed up *.reg file.

NOTE 2: The quotation marks shown in the above example are required in the actual command line.

 

 

 

How to Restore Windows Mail Rules

 

To restore Windows Mail rules from a backed up registry file, simply double click on the *.reg file.

 

How to Backup and Restore Windows Mail Accounts

 

To backup Windows Mail accounts, use Windows Mail Export function for accounts:

Windows Mail > Tools > Accounts > (select the account you want to backup) Export [select where you want to export the internet account file (*.iaf)]

 

To restore Windows Mail accounts, use Windows Mail Import function for accounts:

Windows Mail > Tools > Accounts > (select the account you want to restore) Import [select from where you want to import the internet account file (*.iaf)].

 

 

 

How to Backup and Restore Windows Mail Messages and Folder Tree


How to Backup Windows Mail Messages and Folder Tree

NOTE: Do NOT use Windows Mail Export function for email messages (Windows Mail > File > Export > Messages...).

The Windows Mail Export function for email messages is flawed, because if you want to restore your email messages from such a backup, the folder structure will very likely be incomplete and/or corrupt as the Export function does not export folder tree information.

To backup Windows Mail messages and folder tree, proceed as follows:

Copy the entire Windows Mail folder where your email messages are stored, e.g.:
C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

Paste the Windows Mail folder where you want to keep your backup

NOTE: For your Windows Vista OS, UserName above will likely be different. It will probably be the user name that you entered in a Windows dialog box when you installed Windows VISTA on your PC.


How to Restore Windows Mail Messages and Folder Tree

NOTE: Do NOT use Windows Mail Import function for email messages (Windows Mail > File > Import > Messages...)

The Windows Mail Import function for email messages is flawed, because if you want to restore your email messages from a backup, the folder structure will very likely be incomplete and/or corrupt as the Import function does not import folder tree information.

NOTE: To restore Windows Mail messages and folder tree from a backup done as previously described, first make sure Windows Mail is turned OFF.

To restore Windows Mail messages and folder tree, proceed as follows:


Go to the folder where Windows Mail stores its email messages; typically:
C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

Select all files and folders under that Windows Mail folder and delete them.

Copy ALL files and folders located in the folder where you previously backed up your Windows Mail messages and folder tree information as described earlier.

Paste these files and folders in the Windows Mail folder that will hold the restored email messages; typically:
C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail


NOTE: For your Windows Vista OS, UserName above will likely be different. It will probably be the user name that you entered in a Windows dialog box when you installed Windows VISTA on your PC.

 

Now you can open up Windows Mail and all your email messages and folder tree should be displayed properly.

 

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A Note of Interest: The folder where Windows Mail stores email messages can be defined at will;
Windows Mail > Tools > Options > Advanced > Maintenance > Store folder... > Change

 

However, bear in mind that if you try to restore Windows Mail to a folder other than the Windows Mail default folder (C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail), you may receive a corrupt file notice from Windows Mail when attempting to open Windows Mail from such a location following restoration of Windows Mail’s files and folders as described in this article. Changing the location of Windows Mail storage folder is at your own risks and perils. The best thing to do is leave Windows Mail in its default folder, and backup that folder; or better still, backup the entire C:\Users folder, which latter contains other settings that you may also want to backup, such as, for instance, your browser’s bookmarks.