Windows Mail - Messages

How to Backup and Restore Messages in Windows Mail
This will show you how to backup and restore messagas in Windows Mail.
How to Backup and Restore Messages in Windows Mail

information   Information
To Backup your messages, you will use the Export option. To Restore your messages that you have already backed up, you will use the Import option. This will save a copy of your messages to a empty folder outside of Windows Mail that you can use for a backup. Windows Mail email messages have the .eml file extension.
Note   Note
The default hidden system folder location where Windows Mail store the messages at is:

C:\users\(user-name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Local Folders

Tip   Tip
To backup everything (Accounts, Message Rules, and All Settings) in Windows Mail, then see the How to Backup and Reset Windows Mail section here: How to Fix Most Problems with Vista's "Windows Mail"

Option One
How to Export (Backup) Messages

1. Create a New Folder on your desktop to backup your Windows Mail messages into later in step 6 below.​
NOTE: This New Folder will need to remain empty.
2. Open Windows Mail.​
3. Click on File and then Export and Messages. (See screenshot below)​

4. Click on Microsoft Windows Mail and click Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you want to export messages from Windows Mail to Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Exchange, then click Microsoft Exchange instead. If Outlook is not open, select the profile that you want to receive the messages, and then click Ok. See: Microsoft Help and Support: KB196347

5. Click on Browse. (See screenshot below)​
WARNING: You will only be able to Export into a selected empty folder (step 1).​

6. Navigate to the location of your empty new folder (step 1) and highlight the new folder, then click on Select Folder. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: For example, go to C:\Users\(user name)\Documents and highlight the Messages folder.​

7. Make sure the Export To location is correct and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​

8. Select (dot) All folders and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you only want to back up a individual folder, then dot Selected folders and click on the folder you want to export.

9. Click on Finish. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: Your messages have been Exported to the selected location from step 1 and 6 above. You can save this exported folder to something like a DVD or USB key to backup or use to transfer to another computer. If you cannot copy the exported folder for some reason, then place the exported folder in a ZIP file first and try again.​

Option Two
How to Import (Restore) Messages

1. Open Windows Mail.​
2. Click on File, Import, and Messages. (See screenshot below)​

3. Click on Microsoft Windows Mail 7 and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you are importing from another format, then select the program that the messages are from instead. See:

4. Click on Browse. (See screenshot below)​

5. Navigate to the location of your backed up exported messages folder and only highlight the exported folder, then click on Select Folder. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: For example, from OPTION ONE go to C:\Users\(user name)\Documents and highlight the Messages folder.​

6. Make sure the Import From location is correct and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​

7. Select (dot) All folders and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you only want to import a individual folder, then dot Selected folders and click on the folder you want to import.

8. Click on Finish. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: Your messages have been Imported from the selected location from step 5 above.

9. Now just move the email messages from the Imported Folders to the mailbox folder you want them in. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: For example, you can Drag and Drop or highlight the email messages and click Move to Folder. The folders can only be moved one at a time.
10. When done, you can delete these Imported Folders.​
NOTE: To delete, just right click on the imported folder and click Delete. If the imported folder(s) will not delete, then see the FIRST and SECOND section instructions here:How to Fix Most Problems with Vista's "Windows Mail"

That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


When I did an import of messages saved in this manner (after a clean install of Ultimate), I noted that the messages in top level folders did not import; i.e. messages in the INBOX did not import but messages in sub-folders to INBOX did import. Drag-&-Drop time. BTW, since we no longer use a .DBX file to store messages, D&D is an easy, effective way to archive _individual_ messages or groups of messages without archiving the entire folder. I also noted that INBOX would readily rebuild its index while other folders did not. This led me to D&D to INBOX and use email rules to put the messages away.
Hi Tuellz,

Welcome to the forum.

That is strange. It should have imported them. Did you try to import just that one single folder (Inbox)?

I exported "Local Folders" in one fell swoop and imported the same. Of course, all imported folders were placed in an "Imported" folder.At any rate, I'm fully restored now. Thanks
Your welcome Tuellz,

Welcome to the forum.

Yeah, It would be nice if it would just import them straight into the folder instead of a separate "Imported Folder". I suppose they designed that way so the user could pick and choose from there if they did not want all of them.

Hey Brink, thanks for all this!

Your backup method here seems to export the mail to a new file -- however, you also point to backup which, instead, discusses backing up the C:\Users\{USER}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\ folder.

I used to back up Outlook Express by backing up the correspoding folder -- but Windows Mail now stores each email as a separate file, and I have almost 100,000 -- is there a good way to manage this?

Thanks! -Scott
Hi Scott,

It is not a good ideal to store so many messages on Windows Mail. You can lose them if something happens to corrupt Windows Mail. Which is east to do. :sarc: Plus, it can slow Windows Mail down.

I would recommend that you create a new sub-folder under Local Folders (Right click and click New Folder), and put the messages that you want to store in it. You can then Export that folder (See NOTE under step 7) for storage or as a backup. Delete the contents of that folder in Windows Mail to save space. When you want the messages back, just Import them from that exported folder in storage or backup.

I've been reading about backup/reset/restore. I'm not sure I know why I should do this. Is it a regular maintenance function one should perform, or is it for a specific problem?

Hi Bill,

This is good to do if you save alot of messagesl. It is best to store (Export) the saved messages to be saved in different location instead of leaving it in Windows Mail. If Windows Mail got corrupted you could lose all the save messages. This way you can Restore them if it that happens. The Reset is to repair Windows Mail back to the default blank state if it got corrupted. If you are like me and do not save any messages, then this is not something you need to worry about it.

Hope this helps,
Thanks, makes sense. What would be considered "alot of messages" ?

Dinner calls. I'll look for the answer later.
Also, what about "Fix Vista" links listed on this forum? Should I?

Thanks for your help.

I suppose alot is a subjective term, but I would Export any messages you want to save for good period of time to prevent from losing it. Usually anything over a 1000 or so will start to cause a delay when opening the folder they are stored in inside Windows Mail.

You will have to use your own judgement for the "Fix Vista" links. Just take a look at them and determine if you think you need to do them and that you are comfortable doing them. You should look to see if they have a way to undo the fix to be safe.

Enjoy your dinner, ;)
OK, thought I'd bring this back to life so I don't fir into "There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them" category...
New subscriber but have been reading a lot of good stuff on these forums...

I am about to give everything up with "Backup and Restore" of my message folders in Windows Mail.
I have used Outloox Express forever and have never had these issues, ever.
I moved to Vista with my new computer so hence, here I am.

What is happening is when i follow these great instructions (I mean that) and try to transfer to my laptop not everything follows. I may have 2,3 or even 4 "Imported Folders" (most empty), AND some emails within the folders are missing.
I have no problem sorting, dragging and dropping everything to its proper location but as I said, things are missing (not feeling secure here)!!!

Besides that, it is a lot of work.

I also get while "Exporting" to my external drive a message that stops about half way through that sez something like this:

Property Loss
The file xxxx has properties that cannot be copied to a new location.
[check box] Do this for all current items (231 found)

Has anyone and anyone help resolve these issues?

Hoping so...

Last edited:
Hi Johnny-C,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

I have not had any experience on this problem. but this link is an excellent resource for it. I hope that it can help you.


Thanx Shawn,
This is a great forum...
I looked at that site before and it was pretty much over my head. I will go back and look at it again...

Thanx for getting back to me.
Your welcome Johnny-C. I would just read it through a couple of times to get familiar with it. It usually looks harder than it actually is. ;)
You might also post a question on this in the Windows Mail newsgroup to. I'm sure you will get a solution there to.

Hope you can get it resolved,
I will do that Shawn...
I am re-reading it now and yes it makes more sense than I expected...
Have a good one and thanx again.
See you around.
I usually set my mail up to leave messages on the server for about month before removing them so that way if I reformat when I check my mail for the first time afterwards...I get a months worth of mail. Just easier that me :p