Yes Lucy -- there REALLY is help for those souls who STILL want to use their Outlook Express eMail client under Windows 7.

I discovered this information on the WEB after switching to Windows 7 myself and experiencing the shock that "Big Brother Microsoft" was trying to foist another piece of their bloated "junkware" called "Windows Live" on me in the name of an eMail client.

I had been using Windows XP and Outlook Express, with which (BOTH of them) I had been VERY pleased. However, I purchased a new laptop that came with Windows 7, and Lo - to my regret - no Outlook Express. Further investigation revealed to me that it had been PERMANENTLY retired by MS with the advent of Windows Vista.

I searched the WEB for FREE eMail client replacements, and came across "Thunderbird" by Mozilla. This is a good FREE eMail client, but it lacked some of the familiar features - like HTML wallpaper and HTML signatures - which I had REALLY liked in OE. Like its brother "Firefox" (also by Mozilla), it proved to be a MASSIVE memory hog, consuming over 50 Mb of ram during usage (ALSO like Firefox, which can run over 100 Mb according to different forums). I also located another FREE client called "i.Scribe/InScribe" . However, this one is MORE lightweight than OE, lacking even more features.

I continued to scour the WEB trying to find out if there was ANY possible way to transfer or install OE on WIN 7, finding out primarily how misinformed (or just plain ignorant) MANY respondents to the question are on most of the forums discussing this question. Some said, "YES it would work", some said, "NO, it wont work", some confused the FREE OE with the PAID Outlook included in the MS Office Suite, others even offered a "standalone download of the OE files". One even claimed that, because so many people complained to MS about the loss of OE, they (MS) released a standalone version which could be installed on WIN 7 (NOT true - see next paragraph).

Bottom line is, or - The Buck Stops HERE - Outlook Express WILL NOT even install (IF you can get a standalone copy) on WIN 7, and if you try to copy the files from WIN XP, it will NOT launch !! How can I be sure -- because I tried both approaches !!

However, I said that there was GOOD NEWS. The good news is that a program called "Windows Mail" (NOT Windows Live Mail) that was included under Vista is STILL on your machine under WIN 7. WIN Mail looks and functions almost EXACTLY like OE did.

Now you are probably saying, "If it is on my machine -- WHERE is it. I haven't seen it nor can I find it now". You are correct. Not only did sneaky MS HIDE the program and its directory, but even if you DO find the files, the program will NOT execute. MS also crippled or disabled it !! You are probably saying to yourself, "How strange - why even include the files in WIN 7 if MS is going to go to SO much trouble to keep people from using it" ?? Well, your guess to THAT question is as good as mine.

The GOOD NEWS is that I also discovered a thread on the Windows 7 Forum with instructions detailing how to enable Windows Mail and make it usable.

The actual instruction follow, and you need to download a small file [ Click HERE ] in order to utilize them. The following tutorial is also included in the downloadable .zip file. The instructions are SUPER simple and it works like a charm. I am now the proud user of Windows Mail - THANK YOU Windows 7 Forum and the creator of the .zip file and tutorial !!!

Upon upgrading to Windows 8, I find that this "FIX" will no longer work, even though ALL of the needed files are STILL included within the system.

I did a "Google Search" and came up with a good alternative [ Here ] called "Foxmail". It has a clean, simple interface, and about the same functionality as did "Outlook Express". The downside is that the program comes from China and is focused for the Chinese user. However, if you will bear with a little inconvenience, this drawback can be overcome and you will be rewarded with a VERY usable email client.

After installing Foxmail, IMMEDIATELY (before launching the program), go to its install directory, to a subdirectory called 'Languages", and open the "Language.ini" file with notepad. Change the line "ActiveLang=Chinese" to "ActiveLang=English". DO NOT change anything else in this file !! When you now launch Foxmail, the interface should be in English. Good luck and Happy using.

Attention !!

Windows Mail (WinMail) was replaced by Windows Live Mail (WLM) in Windows 7. Microsoft no longer supports WinMail, furthermore, Microsoft is abandoning the Windows Live (WL) brand entirely in Windows 8. See Windows Live is Dead

It is strongly recommended that you use what is supported by Microsoft or another vendor. There are many free eMail clients available. See the search results for email on c|net Try a few - they're free. Keep in mind that a lot of, but not all, free software is supported by advertising. Also be aware of the add-ons that might be included at install time; such as browser toolbars - just be mindful to clear that sort of Checkbox when you install any software (unless you really want it installed). Most of these add-ons are from reputable companies: Adobe, Google, AOL, Yahoo, etc. and you can usually uninstall them in Control Panel.

If you decide to complete this tutorial, you accept the fact that you are using WinMail as-is, with diminishing support ; even on this forum. Updates from Microsoft or utilities might invalidate WinMail entirely or make it necessary to run the tutorial again. The System File Checker (SFC) tool is a good example - it checks to see if system files are in the right place and are the correct version. SFC is recommended by other tutorials and by members in many posts on this forum, so there is a good chance that you will run it. SFC is an excellent tool to fix many problems in Windows, but it only knows about standard Windows - it doesn't know what users have done to their systems, nor should it. It is beyond the scope of this tutorial to hack Component Based Servicing to prevent SFC undoing the steps outlined in the tutorial, steps that essentially roll back the WinMail dynamic load libraries.

You have to decide if you want to be your own customer support for WinMail, especially as Microsoft moves forward with other eMail clients. Remember, there have been a number of iterations already, Outlook Express became Windows Mail which became Windows Live Mail which will become MailApp, and there will always be more in the future.

With those things in mind, this tutorial was written so that you can repeat it without affecting user data. Some customization might be lost, but data and core functionality should be retained.

Assumptions made by this tutorial

The reader has basic knowledge of the following concepts and terminology.

General terms
Location: Folder and Directory mean the same thing
Object: a thing; file, folder, directory, etc
Navigate: go to location specified
Elevated: Run as administrator... (Alternate MenuPick)
Command Prompt: non-grahical user interface, actions entered as text
  The exact text provided in the tutorial must be entered.
Hint: to avoid typos, copy the entire line containing the command and paste it into the Command Prompt window.  This Tutorial  shows you "How to Enable Copy to Clipboard from the Windows 7 Command Prompt"
Menu terms
MenuPick: select item from a menu
Alternate menu: presented when you Right Click an object
Start Menu: you know how to launch programs listed there
==> is shorthand for sub-menus
Mouse terms
Click: single Left mouse button click
DblClick: two rapid Clicks
Right Click: single Right mouse button click
Select: Click
Rls: release the mouse button
DragDrop: Click and hold object, drag object to location, Rls to drop
Dialog terms
TextBox: fill in the box with supplied text
Checkbox: Click to mark, Click to clear
Radio button: Click to select

The tutorial uses the conventions YourNameHere and your user to convey locations specific to your machine. For example:

C:\Users\YourNameHere\Downloads and your user Downloads
- both mean the Downloads folder associated with your user login.

Every effort has been made to make this a step-by-step process, however, it is beyond the scope of a single tutorial to provide information on every command or concept. Search the tutorial section if you need greater detail on a concept or command presented in this tutorial.

Note   Made possible by members:
  Mark provided the original tutorial
  Poppa Bear updated Mark's work providing the basis for this tutorial
  EKManitis the batch files that make life easier
  endeavor a cleaner WinMailEdit.reg file and confirmed the tutorial for the author
  roncerr provided sanity by pointing to the work done by EKManitis
  Slartybart Reviewed, updated, tested and consolidated all of the above into this version

Here's How

  1. Download is completed

    To return to the first step,  Click online tutorial
    Otherwise, follow the steps after the header "Continue from here:"
  2. Extract is completed

    You are reading the local tutorial

    Continue from here:

  3. Open an elevated Command Prompt

    • Start Menu ==> All Programs ==> Accessories
    • Right click on Command Prompt
    • MenuPick "Run as administrator..." from the Alternate menu presented
      Answer Yes if prompted by user account control
    • Administrator: Command Prompt <<<<< Note the window title
      C:\Windows\system32 > <<<<< Note the current directory

      It is possible that your window Title is something different, possibly C:\Windows\Systems32.  If your current directory is the same as shown above, then you probably have an elevated Command Prompt.  Continue to the next step.

      A User Command Prompt has a different title and places you in your own user folder.  If you don't have an elevated Command Prompt as described above, then close the User Command Prompt and try again.
      * You will not succeed in a User Command Prompt.

  4. Change directories (cd) to your user Downloads\TutReWinMail

    • Execute the command below in the Administrator:Command Prompt window
      The easiest and surest way is to copy the entire line and paste it.

      cd %USERPROFILE%\Downloads\TutReWinMail\

      Administrator: Command Prompt
      C:\YourNameHere\Downloads\TutReWinMail > <<<<< Note the current directory has changed
    • You MUST be in the folder containing the tutorial objects.  The batch file in the next step executes programs and copies files from that folder.  If you are NOT in that folder, the batch file will fail since it cannot find what it needs.
  5. Launch the batch file to reinstate Windows Mail

    Execute ONE and only ONE of the following commands into the Administrator: Command Prompt window.  Launch ONLY the batch file that is specific to your system
    32 bit Windows type this: winmail32
    |||| -- OR --
    64 bit Windows type this: win64mail

    Note: The batch file clears the Command Prompt window and describes the process to the user.  For each step of the process, the batch file notifies the user what it is about to do, waits for user input to continue, completes the step, and then notifies the user when it has completed the step

  6. Create a shortcut for Windows Mail

    Right click anywhere in an empty area on your Desktop
    1. Select New ==> Shortcut from the Alternate menu
    2. In TextBox labeled: "Type location of the item:", enter the following text:

      C:\Program Files\Windows Mail\Winmail.exe

    3. Click Next
    4. In TextBox labeled: "Type a name for this shortcut:", enter the following text:

      Windows Mail

    5. Click Finish
  7. Restart your system and launch Windows Mail

Finish Here!

General Notes
  1. Windows Mail creates the per-user registry keys the first time it is launched
    • Windows Mail might prompt you with the "Windows Mail is not the default Mail handler" dialog
      Leave the Checkbox marked for "Always perform this....."
      Answer Yes to make it the default program for Mail
    • Now that you have the base Windows Mail, restart your system to cement the per-user keys in the registry.
      • After you restart your system
        Confirm the settings for eMail in Control Panel ==> Default Programs
        1. Control Panel ==> Default Programs ==> "Set your default programs"
          Select Windows Mail
          Select "Choose defaults for this program" and mark the Checkbox "Select All"
          Click the Save button.
        2. Control Panel ==> Default Programs ==> "Set program access and computer defaults"
          Expand Custom, under the heading "Choose a default e-mail program
          Click the Radio button for Windows Mail
          Click the OK button.
        3. You're done setting defaults
      • It might be necessary to Uninstall Windows Live Mail to resolve conflicts reported in some environments.
    • Customize Windows Mail. In most cases this is done using the options, preferences, or layouts in Windows Mail.  A few customizations are not present in those menus and require a registry change to implement.  If a member created a registry file and it is included in this tutorial, it can be found in your user Downloads\TutReWinMail\Customization.

      The naming convention used by this tutorial for custom reg files is WM_FeatureState.  For example, controlling the splash screen displayed when Windows Mail is launched.  The two possible states for this feature are 'on' and 'off'.  So, the reg files for splash control are: WM_SplashOn and WM_SplashOff.

    • Settings: If you can't get a preference to 'stick' try changing it to some other value (red to blue), restart Windows Mail, then change it to the value you want (blue to black) and restart Windows Mail again! It might take a bigger hammer to make it 'stick' - you might have to restart Windows between value changes.
  2. If you ran SFC and WinMail stops working, try this first:
    To restore WinMail after System File Checker "repairs" your system (restores msoe.dll)
    1. Open an elevated Command Prompt
    2. Change directories (cd) to your user Downloads\TutReWinMail\Customization
    3. Launch the batch file to post-SFC restore Windows Mail.  Execute ONE and only ONE of the special batch files.  Launch ONLY the batch file that is specific to your system
      32 bit Windows type this: WM_PostSFC32
      |||| -- OR --
      64 bit Windows type this: WM_64PostSFC

      Note: These batch files are basically the same as the ones used in the "Launch the batch file to..." tutotial step except they do NOT merge the reg file, and they do NOT make WinMail.exe visible.

  3. Additional tutorials and posts relative to Reinstating Windows Mail
    1. Enable Windows Calendar in Windows Mail  - Follow this Tutorial
    2. Contacts, Accounts, Folders, and eMail messages: import to Windows Mail  - See this Post
12/05/19 Version 1.0.2
Search Site
Click for
Site Menu
See What's New?