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How do I move email from Vista (Windows Mail) to Windows Live Mail on Windows 7?

How do I move email from Vista (Windows Mail) to Windows Live Mail on Windows 7?

People with new computers are often faced with the challenging task of how to copy and move email from the old system to the new one. This is particularly true in case of the Windows operating system wherein the default email program has been changed three times in the past three versions.

The immensely popular Outlook Express on Windows XP was replaced by Windows Mail on Vista. And now we have Windows Live Mail on Windows 7. The matter is made worse because Microsoft doesn’t provide clear directions. So if are looking to move email from Windows Mail Vista to Windows Live Mail on Windows 7, you’ve come to the right place.

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The easy-to-understand instructions with screenshots will quickly let you copy email messages and transfer them to the new computer. But before we jump to that, here are a few points you should consider:

  • Though you cannot install Windows Mail on Windows 7, you can still use it. This is because the old email program hasn’t been removed from the new operating system – it’s just been hidden from view (Don’t ask me)! Please read how to get Windows Mail on Windows 7 for details.
  • Windows Mail is no longer being developed and supported. Microsoft recommends using Windows Live Mail on Windows 7. But this new email client takes a little getting used to. Windows Live Mail interface and email organization are markedly different from Outlook Express and Windows Mail Vista. And based on the feedback I receive not many people like it. But I have been using Windows Live Mail for over a year now (I had installed it on my Windows Vista laptop) and except for a small glitch in the RSS reader, I haven’t faced any problems.

Copy and move email from Windows Mail Vista to Windows Live Mail on Windows 7

To copy and move email from Windows Mail on your Vista computer to Windows Live Mail on Windows 7 operating system you have to export the messages and then import them through the default email clients.

By the way, your Windows 7 computer should have Windows Live Mail installed – at least I had it on my Sony VAIO laptop. However, it may have been consciously left out or accidentally deleted. If this is indeed the case, please read how to get Windows Live Mail for Windows 7 – instructions include screenshots.

Also, before you copy and move email, you should first transfer email account from Windows Mail to Windows Live Mail. This way the settings of the accounts (username, password, incoming and outgoing server information etc.) to be imported into Windows 7 without you having to manually configure Windows Live Mail – especially helpful if you have many email accounts and /or have forgotten the settings.

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  1. Start Windows Mail on the Vista computer and click “File” -> “Export” -> “Messages” – [Slide 1].
  2. The Windows Mail Export pop-up opens. Select the second option – “Microsoft Windows Mail” and click the “Next” button – [Slide 2].
  3. FYI, the export function lets you copy all email from Windows Mail to a folder on your hard drive. Use the “Browse” button and select the location. Obviously, you can create a new folder if you want – [Slide 3].
  4. Once the export folder is specified, click “Next” to move ahead – [Slide 4].
  5. You are given a choice of exporting messages from only selected folders or copying all email from Windows Mail Vista. I think a majority of the users would be interested in the latter; make sure the “All folders” radio button is checked. Hit the “Next” button to start the process of exporting email from the Windows Mail program – [Slide 5].
  6. A pop-up shall display the progress. The time taken depends on the number and size of the messages you have. All email will be copied to the designated folder on your computer’s hard drive – [Slide 6].
  7. Click “Finish” to close the Windows Mail Export pop-up window – [Slide 7].
  8. Congratulations – you’ve been able to copy email stored in Windows Mail (Windows Vista) to a folder of choice. To move the email to the Windows 7 computer use a Flash drive or burn a CD/DVD and dump all the files in temporary directory on the new computer. As you probably know, the default email client on Windows 7 (the one recommended by Microsoft) is Windows Live Mail. The next few steps will tell you how to import the messages to this email client – [Slide 8].
  9. Start Windows Live Mail and go to “File” -> “Import” -> “Messages” – [Slide 9]. The Windows Live Mail top menu needs to be enabled – refer that link on how to do this quickly.
  10. The import function of this program lets you move email from Windows Mail, Outlook Express and another installation of Windows Live Mail. Select the last Windows Mail option – [Slide 10].
  11. Browse to the folder in which you had copied all the email from Windows Mail Vista – [Slide 11].
  12. Click “Next” once the folder location has been specified correctly – [Slide 12].
  13. You can import messages from selected folders or move all email to Windows Live Mail. Click “Next” to start importing – [Slide 13].
  14. Windows Live Mail will display a message once all email have been copied and moved to its store folder. Close the pop-up window – [Slide 14].
  15. FYI, all imported email can be found inside “Storage folders“. You can now organize the messages the way you want – [Slide 15].

Conclusion: As you have learnt, to copy and move email from Windows Vista to Windows 7 requires using the export and import functions of Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail, respectively. But before you do this, I suggest transferring the email accounts so you don’t have to setup Windows Live Mail manually. The last step of copying Windows Contacts to the new computer is optional but advised.

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