The ‘Complete’ Uninstall/Reinstall Method For Windows Live Mail


  • An uninstall/reinstall procedure for Windows Live Mail(WLM) that supplements the normal removal method using Add-Remove Programs(XP) or Programs and Features(Vista)
  • This method is extensive in removing the program but also deletes select registry settings, the WLM Message Store folder and the WLM default installation program folder
  • Review the method , the *asterisk* items(additional comments), the impact and understand the consequences prior to use




1.    After backing up your messages & accounts through the export options, uninstall WLM through Control Panel.

2.   Use Regedit (or your favorite registry editor) to delete the registry Keys (if they exist)*

      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail desktop
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail desktop

3.    Now navigate to your WLM Message Store folder** and rename it

      • So you can keep it as a backup – messages can be dragged from the message store to your WLM interface as a method of importing them, or you can import messages directly by Browsing to your old(renamed) Message Store with File->Import->Messages->Windows Live Mail->Next->Browse…
      • Also, if any extra spellchecking languages have been installed, or you want to re-use your custom dictionary, then the contents of the “Proof” folder (within the default location Storage Folder) should be backed up so you can restore it after the reinstall. Furthermore, after the reinstall, if inclined, you could try putting your old Message Store back in place by renaming it again).

4.    Go to the ‘Windows Live Mail’ ‘Program Files’ folder (C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Mail) and delete it.

5.    Run Windows Live Beta Remover*** if necessary.

6.    Reboot your computer.

7.    Now install WLM and import your accounts and messages.  It may be best to disable any AntiVirus program you are running while installing WLM and running it for the first time.

Asterisk Items:
*Note that because the registry keys are deleted, messages, accounts, and message rules will be imported again from Outlook Express/Windows Mail, so if you do not want this to happen, first delete them from those redundant mail clients.

**To find the location of your message store, go:  Tools->Options…->Advanced [tab]->Maintenance->Store Folder  (the default location is a hidden folder). If you have moved your Storage Folder from its default location, you should also rename the old Storage Folder which remains in the default location.

The default location of Windows Live Mail’s Message Store is:

Vista:  %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

  • (C:\Users\<Windows user account>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail)

XP:   %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

  • (C:\Documents and Settings\<windows user account>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail)

***The  Windows Live Beta Remover may be helpful if you have installed Windows Live beta programs previously, as it removes all the old beta installers

  \End Quote



May 22, 2008:  Original Published Date (bullets, hyperlinks, formatting added to original quote)

May 23,2008:  Revised Title(from ‘Compleat’ to ‘Complete’) after lexical and stipulative input from Messrs. Peter and Noel Webster 😉

May 24, 2008:  Windows Live Tags added

Windows Live Tags: Mail, How-To, accounts, clubhouse

About Winston
Microsoft MVP

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