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How to enable Windows Mail app in Windows 7

By Poppa Bear ยท 41 replies
Nov 5, 2009
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  1. Windows Mail is a program file of Windows 7 but is inoperable. This post shows how to:

    1. Make the Win7 Windows Mail program operate by importing Vista Windows Mail program files to Win7.

    2. Edit the registry so email .eml type files from Windows Mail can be read after being saved to the desktop or a storage folder.

    Warning: This tutorial is quite old and:
    • Several of the links have become obsolete, so it is necessary to become member of the forum to use the files attached to this post.
    • Some Windows 7 updates either stop WinMail working or they won't install.
    • Being a hybrid app it won't perform all the operations of WinMail in Vista.

    Please note:
    • This procedure should work even with another email client installed. However, in some environments Windows Live Mail has caused conflicts, and had to be uninstalled.
    • If you're using a 64 bit version of Win7: It will be necessary to import the 64bit Vista Windows Mail file "msoe.dll". And it must be pasted into the Windows Mail folder in the normal 64bit Program Files. Do NOT paste it into the 32bit Program Files(x86).

      Footnote 3 - at bottom of page: Shows a picture of the location of Program Files & Program Files(x86)
    How to Import Windows Mail files from Vista to Win7:

    1. Download and run: "WinMailEdit" from attachments.​

    Warning: It is critical to do this before carrying out step (3).​

    2. Remove WinMail.exe attributes to show the hidden file "WinMail" in the Windows Mail folder.​

    • Open: Start Menu ==> All Programs ==> Accessories ==> Run.
    • Type in the following command, exactly as shown, in the Run box, or better still, copy/paste it, and then click "OK":

      attrib -s -h "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Mail\WinMail.exe"
    Note: In some environements this run command will not work, and it will be necessary to manually make hidden files visible. See "Footnote 1" below.​

    3. Open the "Windows Mail" folder in Program files, and take full control of the file "msoe.dll".​
    • Download and run "Add Take Ownership" from attachments. It includes a 2nd file, "Remove Take Ownership", if needed.
    • In Windows Mail folder ==> Right click: "msoe.dll" file ==> In drop down menu click: Take Ownership.

      4. Download and save the appropriate Vista Windows Mail "msoe.dll" file from the attachments:
      32bit msoe.dll file
      64bit msoe.dll file
    • Paste this file into the Windows Mail Folder in Win7 Program files, replacing the existing Win7 "msoe.dll"

      *Note: If it will not allow the paste, take full control of the Win7 "msoe.dll" manually as per "Footnote 2" below, and then paste.
    • Right click: WinMail.exe ==> Send to desktop as a shortcut.

      *Note: If email .eml files still cannot be opened on the desktop, it may be necessary to manually edit the registry as per "Footnote 3".

      5. To enable Windows Calendar in Windows Mail.
    • Import Windows Calendar as per the following post here.
    • Download and run "WinCalEdit.reg" from the attachments below.


    1. Manually show hidden files and folders.​
    Open any folder ==> Top Task ==> Click: Tools ==> Folder Option ==> View.​
    - Dot: Show hidden folders, files and drives.​
    - Untick: Hide empty drives... Hide extensions... Hide protected operating systems ==> Apply ==> OK.​
    Note: After finishing the above procedure, restore View options to default.​
    2. Manually take full control of files.​

    • Right click the file "msoe.dll" ==> Properties ==> Security Tab ==> Advanced ==> Owner Tab ==> Edit ==> Highlight User Name ==> Apply ==> OK ==> OK
    • Under "Security Tab" click: Edit ==> Under "Group or user names", the first entry is highlighted. Under "Permissions for System", tick: "Full Control" ==> Apply ==> Do the same for every entry ==> OK ==> Close.

      Note: If the option to edit the entries under "Group or user names" is grayed out, take the following steps:
    • Under "Security" tab click: "Advanced" ==> "Change Permissions" ==> Untick: "Include inheritable permissions from this objects parents" ==> Click: "Add" in the pop-up window ==> Apply ==> OK. Then return to the security tab and edit to grant full control as shown above.

      3. Manually edit the following registry key if it is installed.
    • Start Menu ==> All Programs ==> Accessories ==> Run ==> Type: regedit ==> OK
    • Go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER ==> Software ==> Classes ==> eml_auto_file ==> shell ==> open ==> command
    • Double click: Default in right pane ==> Value Data ==> Completely replace by copying and pasting the following:

      "C:\Program Files\Windows Mail\winmail.exe" /eml:%1

      4. Picture showing location of Program Files & Program Files(x86).

    General Notes

    • In some environments the regedit file "Add Take Ownership" may cause some programs to stop running properly. In this case, after finishing the above steps, run the regedit file: "Take Ownership Remove.reg".
    • To set Windows Mail as default: If it is needed to do this, go to: Start ==> All Programs ==> Default Programs. Then highlight Windows Mail & set as default. If there is no option to do this, click here to download the regedit file "Windows Mail Reg" which may fix the problem; or refer to the following post here.
    • To associate .eml email files with Windows Mail: If it is needed to do this, go to: Start ==> All Programs ==> Default Programs ==> Associate a file type or or protocol with a program. Then Highlight the .eml entry and go to the top right and click: Change Program/Search/Select: Windows Mail.

    Attached Files:

    Nigon and krcox like this.
  2. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 8,247   +1,268

    Hi Poppa,

    I moved your thread to the software forum because it's more related to an application than a core OS functionality, although Windows Mail was a Vista built in program that is no longer the case in 7, as you obviously know.

    I can't help you much since I never used Windows Mail. I would assume the program has some kind of export/backup mechanism though a few quick searches revealed the program is quite limited in this regard. No wonder why they got rid of it as a bundled OS app.

    Perhaps the best automated method for you is going to be to export to Outlook (link below). If you don't have an Office licence you could use a trial version or borrow a CD, export your info and uninstall later. The full Outlook gives you many more options to export and manage your email. Then you can decide more freely where to move your data or maybe even keep Outlook:


    Personally I like the combination of Outlook and Gmail for automatic storage in the cloud.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,886   +1,530

    Mozilla Thunderbird will open any .EML file :)

    Outlook Express should too.

    Did you attempt to drag-n-drop the file onto the ICON of your email program?
  4. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    1. Thanks for your reply Julio.

    Re your statement:

    It's your call of course, but I have to disagree with this statement because Windows Mail is included in the Program Files of Win7 as part of the package. Furthermore, the actual "Windows Mail" file within the Windows Mail program can only be viewed by un-ticking: "Hide protected operating files" & showing "Hidden files". So it is an integral protected hidden operating file. The problem is it doesn't work.

    And I have related it specifically with Win7 because that's the only application to which it applies. It does not apply to any other general applications or programs. And the problem has been raised over and over again in forums specifically on Win7.

    After speaking to Microsoft they informed me it was originally going to be put into all Win7 versions. However, because of problems with the European market, it couldn't be included for them. They debated whether to only put it in the Western market, but ended up compromising with what we've got now.

    You also stated:

    Thanks for you suggestion, but because I do extensive work with emails I prefer a single-stand alone program from which I can do everything on the desktop or from a storage file. Things such as editing the main message of a saved email; or including embedded objects; or re-naming and forwarding as the amended email, etc. And my experience is that Win Mail is by far the best stand-alone program to do this. And that's why so many people are making a fuss about it's absence as a working program.

    1. Thanks for the input jobeard.

    When I first made this post I was asking if anyone could help with the problem of opening .eml files on Win7 Desktop. Since then I have found a way of doing this, and have amended my post accordingly, as per this extract from my amended post:

    Re your question:

    Quoting from my own post:

    Re the other points you raise:

    I don't know if Outlook Express can be run on Win7? But even if it could it seems to be step back into the past. Thunderbird does not have the same capabilities as Windows Mail as a stand alone program ; such as variable font size, embedded images, editing and forwarding emails on the desktop when stored in bulk, (Thunderbird only forwards them with the original email as an attachment), etc, etc. As I said in my post none are in the same class as Windows Mail.

    In any case this is really now irrelevant since I found the work-around. The main purpose of this amended post is to let others know the solution.

    A link to another simpler method which involves downloading the simple registry edit file "Take ownership", can be found at this post here.

    Cheers Poppa Bear
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,886   +1,530

    well done -- thanks for the feedback to assist others :)
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 13,810

    Excellent info Poppa Bear, I think its more of a Guide myself ;)
    Already over 250 views, pretty sure that will grow to the thousands :grinthumb

    Well its over 1,100 views at that moment :)
  7. BluStang05

    BluStang05 TS Rookie Posts: 30

    I was disappointed i could not find a email programe in W7

    thanks for this
  8. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    WinMail import

    You're welcome. Glad it helped.

    Cheers PB
  9. bigbadsteve

    bigbadsteve TS Rookie

    Critical Update 978542 breaks Windows Mail - How to fix it

    A new critical update for Windows 7 (978542) will cause Windows Mail to stop working. NB If you have Automatic Updates set to 'On', this critical update will install without asking you and break the program.

    This can be fixed if you have access to a Vista installation.

    Details of the critical update are here: microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS10-030.mspx

    To get Windows Mail working again, you will need a Vista installation updated iwith patch 978542. Copy msoe.dll from Vista to Win7, replacing the Win7 file.

    Users without access to a Vista installation might consider switching to the free and supported Windows Live Mail instead: download.live.com/wlmail

    [Details of this fix were published in the Windows Secrets newsletter <windowssecrets.com> 13 May 2010 in the paid subscriber section. I have described it here to non-Windows-Secrets-pay-subscribers because the Windows Secrets article linked to this one, so it seems only fair to me!]
  10. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    To bigbadsteve re:

    Thanks for the heads up, but was already aware of this problem. Both the 32 & 64bit msoe.dll files from the download links in Step 4 of the guide are the patched versions.

    Since the msoe.dll modified by the update is treated as a Windows protected file, it will be necessary to use "Take Ownership", or failing this, "Take Full Control" of it before it can be removed and replaced with the patched Vista ones.

    It is interesting to note that the majority of 32bit Windows 7 installations were not borked by this update, but all 64bit were.

    Cheers PB
  11. TFT01

    TFT01 TS Rookie

    (978542) update stops winmail opening

    Help help Help.
    I use winmail on windows 7 pro for business etc. Its the only e mail system I use and don't want to change. One of the updates from Microsoft seems to be blocking it from opening up and i have to do a system recovery each mroning to get back into my winmail!! its the critical update (978542) that's the problem Could anyone explain in absolute laymen terms what i have to do to ensure that Winmail opens up and is not affected by this update each day!! I know there are details here but they are a little complicated for me to understand!!! Sorry!!!
  12. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    Microsoft Update

    Basically the update has modified the msoe.dll file in your Windows Mail folder to protect Windows Mail from security breaches.

    To fix the problem you simply need to replace the existing msoe.dll file with an updated Vista msoe.dll file. The updated Vista msoe.dll has already been modifed by the KB update applied to Vista, and hence will provide protection against any potential security breach.

    You can get this updated Vista msoe.dll file from the download link in Step 4 of the main Guide at the beginning of this thread.

    It is important to download & install the update KB978542 before doing repairs. If you do the repairs first and then download the update it will modify the repairs and it will stop working again.

    So after you've installed the update KB978542, here's what you do to repair Windows Mail:

    1. Open the Windows Mail folder in the normal 64bit Program files, if you're operating system is 64bit. Do not make any modifications to the Windows Mail folder in Program files(x86) - See Footnote 4 of the main guide for a picture of where the two sets of program files are located.

    2. Now delete the existing msoe.dll file in the Windows Mail folder. You may need to use the "Take Ownership" download from Step 3 of the Guide if it won't let you delete it. If it says it can't delete because it's being used by another program, log off and back on to shut down the program that's using it.

    3. Download the updated Vista msoe.dll file from Step 4 in the guide. Make sure it's the 64bit one if your Windows 7 installation is 64bit.

    4. Take the msoe.dll file out of the downloaded zip file, and move this msoe.dll file into your Windows Mail folder.

    5. Close all programs and re-boot your computer and it should now be fixed.

    Hope this helps. Cheers PB
  13. TFT01

    TFT01 TS Rookie

    Hi PB This seemed to work until I had more updates over night from microsoft and now its back to having to do a restore to get into winmail. I have emailed microsoft for technical help but after nearly a week have had nothing back from them not even an acknowledgement.
    this is so annoying, why don't they check these updates out before sending them out!! Any other suggestions greatly appreciated Many thanks
  14. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    When you do a system restore, it removes the update KB978542. You need to have update KB978542 installed before you do the repair. So this is what I'd suggest.

    1. Download all the available updates, and check to make sure they include KB978542. Do not do a system restore after installing the updates..

    If you have updates set to auto update, you can manually get them without waiting over night, by going to:

    Start --> All Programs --> Windows Updates --> Check for updates (top left of window).

    2. Only after doing this, execute steps 1 thro 5 in my last post.

    The only update that will stop Windows Mail from working is KB978542. Once it's installed, if you then do the repairs, any future updates will not include KB978542 because it's already there. Therefore further updates will not bork WinMail.

    Good luck. PB
  15. dom10

    dom10 TS Rookie

    Hello PB,

    Just received a new machine with Windows 7 and do not want to use Live Mail. Followed your instructions and now have win mail working (sort of). Some issues remain: email accounts, user name and password need to be reset after closing and opening win mail each time. Win mail is bypassing virus scanner and firewall. When checking win mail's compatibility, it says it not a compatible program. Thanks for the info.
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,886   +1,530

    at some point, you may be happier with an alternative to WinMail ...
  17. dom10

    dom10 TS Rookie

    Open to suggestions, J. Been an outlook, outlook express and win mail users for a collective long time. Outlook is not on the new machine. Looked at Thunderbird. Thanks.
  18. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,886   +1,530

    Not being a Win/7 user, I can't address what works well there nor why other email clients are not acceptable to you -- sure wish I could. The comment is addressed to the frustration of trying to force-fit program xyz into an environment that is 'less than cooperative' and you migh find it literally easier to search for another solution.

    best wishes - - keep us post on your progress.
  19. dom10

    dom10 TS Rookie

    Thanks... totally agree. Used to be easier than this.
  20. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    I am not sure why this is happening.

    It might have something to do with how your email accounts were installed.

    1. If they were set up one-by-one manually, you shouldn't have any problem.

    2 If they were imported from Vista this might create a problem. I had instability in retaining user name/password after importing from Vista.

    3. If they are imported from WinXP using the import option in WinMail they should come across ready to use with account, user name and password still intact and be stable.

    This is good from a convenience point of view, but not good from the point of view of security with your password when saving the imported file.

    This is a link here to a post on how to import email accounts, user names and passwords from Vista & WinXP to Windows 7. This post describes the easy, quick way to import all user accounts & emails from Vista. However, as opposed to importing from XP, the user name and password will need to be entered and saved on first use of WinMail.

    The other possibility is that some email clients such as Hot Mail are not supported by Windows Mail.

    Sorry can't be more helpful. Cheers PB
  21. dom10

    dom10 TS Rookie

    Thanks for the reply, PB. Folders where copied from the Vista machine and pasted into a new Windows Mail folder on the new machine (the "original" Windows Mail folder on the new machine was renamed so not to conflict). I'll try again using the link you posted.
  22. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    This could be the cause of the problem.

    If I'm reading you correctly, in program files you have got the original Windows Mail folder re-named, and the imported Vista Windows Mail folder.

    You don't need to copy any files from Vista. And the original Windows Mail folder in program files of Windows 7 should not be renamed.

    In a nutshell all you need to do is download the msoe.dll file in Step 4, and paste it into the existing Windows Mail folder, replacing the original msoe.dll file. However, you should not re-name the original Windows Mail folder, nor should you have imported the Windows Mail folder from program files in Vista.

    What I'd suggest is:

    1. Delete the imported Vista Windows Mail folder.

    2. Rename the original folder back to Windows Mail.

    3. Run the steps in the guide from the top.

    4. Use the link mentioned in step 6 of the guide to import your email accounts, folders and emails from Vista.

    Good luck. PB
  23. dom10

    dom10 TS Rookie

    Thanks, PB. Followed your advice, unfortunately same issues. I've also discovered that Win Mail is not in the Control Panel Uninstall or Change Program list. Also, not listed when Set Your Default Programs populates. Or, in the Start, All Programs list. Wondering if this points to a registry issue. Appreciate your help, willing to give it another try or two but then I'm ready to move to another email client.
  24. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 228   +8

    Hi dom10. Sorry you're having this much trouble.

    1. It is normal that WinMail is not in Control Panel, Uninstall or Change Program list. The official purpose of the Windows Mail folder in Windows 7 is to enable Windows Live Mail to function. The procedure outlined in this guide basically cannibalises it to enable it to operate as a "normal" WinMail application.

    2. Without seeing your PC or knowing exactly what the current status is of installed programs etc, it is hard to diagnose the problem. Therefore the only thing I can really suggest would be to clean it all out, and then ensure it is back to it's original virgin state after installiing Windows 7, without having run "Windows Live Mail".

    To achieve this status:

    1. Uninstall Windows Live Mail and any associated programs, via: Control Panel --> Programs & Features --> Uninstall.

    2. If you are running 64bit Windows 7, you will have two Windows Mail folders; one in the 64bit Program files, and one in the 32bit Program files(x86). Before beginning the steps of the guide you need to have the complete, unaltered original Windows Mail folders in the 64bit & 32bit Program files. And once you start the guide steps, do NOT make any changes in the 32bit Windows Mail folder in Program files(x86); and especially do NOT attempt to run WinMail from this folder.

    If you haven't got a virgin copy of each of the original Windows Mail folders, they can be downloaded here. When you open this link, click on the "Free Download". Now wait 60 seconds for it to load, then click on "Free Download" again, and save download to desktop. Extract the folders from the zip file.

    3. Delete the entire Windows Mail folders from the 32 & 64bit program files, and replace them with the appropriate 32 & 64bit downloaded copies. Once they are in place, re-name the replacement folders simply as "Windows Mail", (without the inverted commas), by removing the "Win7 32bit" and "Win7 64bit" from the name.

    4. Clean out the "Local Folders" folder, using the following steps:

    • Show hidden folders by opening any folder and going to: Task Bar --> Organize --> Layout --> Tick: Menu Bar --> Task Bar --> Tools --> Folder Options
      --> View --> Dot: Show hidden file, folders and drives.
    • Open: Start orb --> User Name --> AppData --> Local --> Microsoft --> Windows Mail --> Local Folders.
    • Completely delete the entire contents of Local Folders. If this is not done, there is a danger of corruption from existing files.

      Note: This will not delete your Inbox, Sent Items, etc from Windows Mail in Program files. And new folders will atuomatically be created in "Local Folders" folder when WinMail is first run.
    5. Now run the steps of the guide from the top, doing exactly as the steps show, adding nothing in or leaving anything out. Do NOT attempt to run WinMail before completing all the steps down to Step 4, and re-booting the PC.

    6. Set up your email account manually.

    7. When you first run WinMail it should auto prompt you to set Windows Mail as default mail program. Choose yes, and tick the option not to open this prompt every time Windows Mail starts up.

    8. It will also prompt you to create an email account.

    Let me know how you get on. Cheers PB
  25. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 921   +11

    I hope this thread is not too old to ask a question in. I know nothing of Windows Mail, but am looking for a mail program that I can use in Win 7, to use this do I have to join any thing other than just where my e-mail is sent to? and do they have any requirements that I should know of? Hope for some help here.



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