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Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

 

How to migrate your Windows Mail data (emails, contacts, etc.) from Windows VISTA to Windows 7 —
while keeping Windows Mail as your favourite email application

2017 © Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

Microsoft produced four email applications for its Windows operating systems: Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail.

 

Windows Mail is no doubt the best email application developed by Microsoft. If you use more than a few email accounts (e.g., 10 or more), you will soon find that the left side panel of Windows Live Mail — usually supplied with Windows 7 — is highly user unfriendly. Also, if your emails total in the gigabytes, migrating to an email application that stores all emails in a single file — such as Microsoft Outlook does — can slow you down considerably; e.g., when the email application searches emails for onscreen display when you scroll over emails to see their content.

 

To circumvent these shortcomings, if you are migrating from Windows VISTA to Windows 7, you can migrate your emails and contacts, including the Windows Mail application itself, from Windows VISTA to Windows 7. This article will show you how. As easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

Bird’s-eye view of the process:

1— Copying VISTA folders and registry keys related to Windows Mail

2— Renaming Windows Live Mail folders and some related registry keys on the Windows 7 computer

3— Pasting VISTA folders and registry keys to the Windows 7 computer

 

 

Things you need to know for an easy transfer:

§         You will need a backup copy — an archive — of Windows Mail’s data (your email messages, contacts, etc.) and the actual Windows Mail application itself (the Windows Mail program files). Instructions on how to do that further on.

§         BEFORE you create that archive, be very certain to set the Folder Options on the VISTA computer to:
1—
Show hidden files and folders
2— uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
Otherwise, Windows may not copy some important files that are normally hidden and required for Windows Mail to operate properly.

 

Folder Options

Figure 1 — Control Panel > Folder Options > View

 

 

First, you need a bird’s-eye view of Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail. Windows 7 is nothing more than Windows VISTA with service pack 3 repackaged as Windows 7, with a few minor modifications in looks and operability.

 

Bird’s-eye view of Windows Mail folders’ structure vs. Windows Live Mail folders’ structure

Windows Mail

Windows Live Mail

Location (storage) of email messages:

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

Location (storage) of the address book contacts:

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

Location of Windows Mail application files (e.g., exe files, etc.) for 32 bit systems:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail

 

Location of Windows Mail application files (e.g., exe files, etc.) for 64 bit systems:

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

Location (storage) of email messages:

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

 

Location (storage) of the address book contacts:

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

Location of Windows Live Mail application files (e.g., exe files, etc.) for 32 bit systems:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail

 

Location of Windows Live Mail application files (e.g., exe files, etc.) for 64 bit systems:

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

 

 

NOTES:   On your computer, UserName is usually your name or whatever name you gave to your user account when you installed Windows.

 

               As you can see from the above table, the folder structures related to Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail are identical for Windows VISTA and Windows 7. For all practical purposes, the only difference is the name of one folder (Windows Mail vs. Windows Live Mail).

 

               The same principle of similarity applies to the registries on Windows VISTA and Windows 7.

 

               On a 64-bit system, some files in C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail — a folder for 32 bit applications — may be used by the 64-bit system. So do not skip that folder.

 

 

 

 

 

1 — Copying VISTA folders and registry keys related to Windows Mail

 

 

On the hard disk or USB key that you will use as an archive (as a backup copy) for Windows Mail’s data (emails, contacts, etc.), program files and registry keys, create the following folder: WMailBackup

 

Step 1-1: Copy the following folders — shown in red —, paste them in the WMailBackup folder, and rename them as shown in the table below.

 

Windows VISTA Computer

Windows VISTA folders related to Windows Mail

WMailBackup

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail

 

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

Windows Mail

 

Contacts

 

Windows Mail_x86

 

Windows Mail_64-bit

 

 

Step 1-2: Navigate to and export the following registry keys — shown in red — to the WMailBackup folder; and name them as shown in the table below.

 

To copy registry keys, open Windows registry on your VISTA computer: Start (menu) > Run... > type “regedit” without the quotation marks.

 

To copy a particular key, simply right-click on it and use Export. 

 

Windows VISTA Computer

Some Windows VISTA registry key related to Windows Mail

WMailBackup

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto

 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Mail

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT-mailto.reg

 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER-Software-Microsoft-Windows_Mail.reg

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE-SOFTWARE-Microsoft-Windows_Mail.reg

 

NOTES:   The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto key may or may not be on your VISTA computer. If it isn't there, download this one (Save links as...):

                HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT-mailto.reg

 

               You can see the contents of a registry key without importing it to the registry. Simply open it with Notepad; right-click on it or use Start (menu) > Programs > Accessories > Notepad

 

 

 

 

2 — Renaming Windows Live Mail folders and some related registry keys on the Windows 7 computer

 

 

Step 2-1: On the windows 7 computer, rename the following original Windows 7 folders as shown in the table below.

 

Windows 7 Computer

Windows 7 Original Folders

Windows 7 Original Folders Renamed

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

 

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail

 

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail_old

 

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts_old

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail_old

 

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail_old

 

 

Step 2-2: On the windows 7 computer, rename the following original Windows 7 registry keys as shown in the table below

 

Windows 7 Computer

Windows 7 Original Registry Keys

Windows 7 Original Registry Keys Renamed

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto

 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Mail

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto_old

 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail_old

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Mail_old

 

To rename these registry keys, open the registry on your Windows 7 computer: Start (menu) > Run... > type “regedit” without the quotation marks. Navigate to they keys, right-click on them and use Rename

 

NOTE:     Microsoft issued several versions of Windows 7. Some versions were supplied with Windows Live Mail; other versions were supplied without Windows Live Mail. So depending on your version of windows 7, these registry keys may or may not be in the Windows 7 registry.

 

 

 

 

3 — Pasting VISTA folders and registry keys to the Windows 7 computer

 

 

Step 3-1: Copy the Windows VISTA folders from your archived WMailBackup folder; paste and rename them as shown on the windows 7 computer.

 

Windows 7 Computer

Pasted Folders from WMailBackup

Pasted Folders Renamed

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail_x86

 

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail_64-bit

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail

 

C:\Users\UserName\Contacts

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Mail

 

C:\Program Files\Windows Mail

 

 

Step 3-2: Write the VISTA registry keys to the Windows 7 registry

 

To write the three VISTA registry keys that you previously exported to the WMailBackup folder, double click on each one of them and follow the onscreen instructions; these keys are:

 

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT-mailto.reg

 

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER-Software-Microsoft-Windows_Mail.reg

 

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE-SOFTWARE-Microsoft-Windows_Mail.reg

 

NOTE:     If you put folder WMailBackup on an external device — e.g., a USB key — paste folder WMailBackup to the hard disk of the Windows 7 computer. Otherwise, executing the registry keys from a USB device may not work properly.

 

 

Step 3-3: On the Windows 7 computer, go to folder C:\Program Files\Windows Mail; right-click on file WinMail.exe to create a shortcut. Place that shortcut where you can easily access it — e.g., the task bar.

 

Reboot your PC.

 

That’s it, your done!

 

Click on the Windows Mail shortcut and your Windows Mail application should come up with all your emails (including lengthy folder names and complex structures) and contacts organized as you had them prior to transferring them to the Windows 7 computer.

 

A note of caution: While in folder C:\Program Files\Windows Mail, or in any other folder, do not out of curiosity execute any file other than WinMail.exe. Otherwise, you may end up with disastrous results, such as loosing you email data.

 

 

_____________________________

The information presented in this article is for 64-bit systems. A method akin to the method described in this article works for 32-bit systems. You cannot use this method to migrate emails from 32-bit systems to 64-bit systems, and vice-versa.


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