How to I collect all email in one folder in Windows Live Mail?

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I used Outlook Express for years before moving to Windows Mail on Vista. I have now acquired a Windows 7 computer and came to know through this web site that the default email program is Windows Live Mail. I set up all my email accounts (many thanks for the step by step instructions) but to my surprise I find that each one has an inbox. Is it possible that I can collect all email in one inbox instead of going through each?
Rod Maltby

The new free email program from Microsoft, Windows Live Mail, is a little different from its predecessors, Outlook Express (on XP) and Windows Mail (on Vista). Though the functionality is essentially the same (Windows Live Mail also features an RSS reader and blogging tool), the big difference is way in which emails are collected and stored in this client.

Thus, instead of a single inbox like one had in the earlier email programs, Windows Live Mail creates an inbox for each account that is set up.

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For instance, if you have 6 email accounts configured on Windows Live Mail, there would be 6 inboxes with loads of other folders. I suppose Microsoft implemented this little change so that the user could quickly and easily associate the message with its account. However, over the years people have simply gotten used to accessing email from one folder just as it was in Outlook Express and Windows Mail. So how does one go about solving this problem?

Collect all your email in one folder in Windows Live Mail

In a separate blog post, I detailed how to use “Storage folders” and “Message rules” to get all email in one Windows Live Mail inbox. This is definitely a tedious method but gets exactly what one wants. An easier approach is to activate the “All inbox” option under “Quick Views“; here is how you go about it.

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  1. Start the Windows Live Mail program, if not open already – [Slide 1].
  2. Quick views” would be the first in the left panel. If you don’t see it, you have to unhide it. Select “Layout” from the “Menus” icon (Alt-M) and choose “Folder pane” -> “Show Quick views” – [Slides 2 and 3].
  3. Right click on “Quick views” and pick “Select quick views” – [Slide 4].
  4. This brings up a pop-up. Put a check mark in front of “All inbox – Shows all messages in the inbox folders of all e-mail accounts” option and click “OK” – [Slide 5].
  5. Windows Live Mail “Quick views” now lists “All inbox” which has all the messages from all the inbox folders of the different email accounts you’ve set up in the program – [Slide 6].

The “All inbox” under “Quick views” gives you the sense of single inbox folder that collects email from all accounts. However, please note that this method does not actually move the messages to a different folder. For this refer the blog post I mentioned above.

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