Upgrade from Windows Mail to Windows Live Mail

Microsoft is quietly migrating all their basic applications to Windows live. Windows Mail users, who might be experiencing a slow mail client experience, can now upgrade for free to Windows Live Mail. Windows 7 will not support Windows mail, so if you plan to upgrade to Windows 7, then it’s a good idea to upgrade from Windows Mail to Windows Live Mail now. We’ll walk you through the upgrade process.

First click here to download Windows Mail. The Windows Live web site can be found here. After you run the Live Setup you will be presented with several Windows Live programs to choose from. We are looking to install Mail, which is Windows Live Mail, but you can also install any other programs you’d like at the same time, and why not they’re all free.
WARNING: Once Windows Live Mail imports the messages from Windows Mail do not start Windows Mail again. If you do start Windows Mail it will import import the messages back to itself, which might corrupt the whole mail store folder. Windows Mail cannot be uninstalled, but keep an icon around, because when upgrading to Windows 7 you may need to start Windows Mail and delete the accounts, or the Windows 7 upgrade could fail.

After Windows Live Mail is installed start the program by either using the link on the Quick Launch toolbar, or click the Windows Start button -> All Programs -> Windows Live -> Windows Live Mail.

When Windows Live Mail starts it will automatically being Importing Accounts from Windows Mail. Everything is imported including email, message rules, account settings, everything. The downside is that Windows Live Mail doesn’t use your current mail store folder, which is cause for some disappointment if you use a custom location to store your mail. Windows Live Mail relocates everything to:
C:UsersyouraccountAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows Live Mail

Unfortunately you will now have two directories with the same email in both, one old that can be deleted, and the new Windows Live Mail store folder. If you do try to change the mail store folder location back to the old location you will see the message:

The directory you selected is not empty. Please select an empty directory for your new store location.

You can delete the old mail folder, and create a new folder in the location you prefer. This time when you choose the now empty folder Windows Live Mail will allow the change, and immediately begin to copy, not move, all the mail to the new folder. As you can imagine the copy process can take a while if you have a lot of mail. This once again leaves two copies of mail on your hard drive, so you’ll need to delete the old Windows Live Mail folder you won’t be using once copying has completed.

Microsoft felt entitled to load the new program with their News Feeds, and a few other items, that you may or may not want to keep. In the next article on Windows Live Mail we’ll explore ways to customize, configure, and tweak Windows Live Mail.

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