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How to Fix a Corrupted Windows Mail Folder

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 11/24/2009

You try to open your Windows Mail application but receive an error message that it is unable to proceed. On the other hand, you may be able to open it but all of your email messages are missing. Learn how you may be able to repair a corrupted Windows Mail folder.

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    If you are experiencing hang-ups, sluggishness, error messages, missing folders or emails stuck in your Outbox, Windows Mail may be corrupted. Try the following troubleshooting and repair steps to fix Windows Mail and get back to your email messages.

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    Getting Started

    Before you try to repair or replace a corrupted Windows Mail folder, there are a few simple steps you should take that just might fix your problems. Make sure Windows Mail is closed before you begin troubleshooting.

    First, go into the settings of your computer's antivirus program and turn off email scanning. Many common antivirus programs, such as McAfee, Norton, and Trend Micro are not compatible with Windows Mail and can cause your folder to become corrupted.

    Once you have deactivated email virus scanning, download Update for Windows Vista (KB941090) from the Microsoft Download Center. This update contains a hotfix that repairs known issues, such as messages stuck in your Windows Mail outbox. After you have installed this update, restart your computer and open Windows Mail. If you are no longer experiencing the same issues, your corrupted folder has been repaired. Otherwise, move on to the next step.

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    Rebuild the Windows Mail Store

    When you rebuild your Windows Mail store - which is simply the location where your Windows Mail folders are stored - any corrupted files will be removed and your email messages that are not corrupted will be loaded back into your Windows Mail folder.Rebuild Corrupted Mail Folder 

    Start by locating your Windows Mail store. Open Windows Mail, go to Tools and select Options. Go to the Advanced tab and click the Maintenance button. Click the Store Folder button. A Store Location window will open, displaying the file path of your Windows Mail store. Highlight the location with your mouse and copy the file path by right-clicking and selecting Copy or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C. Click OK to close the Store Location dialog and close the remaining dialog boxes, as well as your Windows Mail application.

    Click the Start button and paste the Windows Mail store location into the Start Search box. Press Enter. The folder containing your Windows Mail messages will open.

    If you would like to backup your Windows Mail folder prior to rebuilding your Windows Mail store, go to the desktop, right-click, point to New and select Folder. Name the folder Windows Mail Backup and double-click to open it. Go back to your Windows Mail store folder, select all of its contents and copy them. Return to the new desktop folder and paste the Windows Mail store copies inside.

    In your original Windows Mail store folder, right-click WindowsMail.MSMessageStore and then click Delete. (If you have any trouble deleting it, restart your computer in Safe Mode and try again. For instructions on using Safe Mode, read How To Use Windows Safe Mode.)

    Double-click the Backup folder in the Windows Mail store, and then double-click the New folder. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A to select all of the files in the New folder. Press Delete.

    Close all of the open folders. Start Windows Mail to see if your corrupted folder has been repaired. If so, congratulations! If not, move on to the next step.

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    If your Windows Mail folder is corrupted, you might be missing email messages or perhaps you have items stuck in your Outbox. In this section, we will cover how to make a new Windows Mail folder to replace the corrupted folder.
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    Make a New Windows Mail Folder

    If rebuilding the Windows Mail store is not your answer, try rebuilding the corrupted Windows Mail folder. Make sure Windows Mail is closed Windows Mail OLD before moving on.

    Go to your Windows Mail folder, which is typically located in Local Disk (C:)\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft. A quick way to get there is to click Start, type appdata into the Start Search box and press Enter. Open the Local folder, double-click Microsoft and find Windows Mail, but do not open it.

    Right-click the Windows Mail folder. Click Rename and type old at the end of Windows Mail. Press Enter to apply this change.

    Open Windows Mail. It should automatically create a new Windows Mail folder. Close it and go back to the Windows Mail folder location. Open the Windows MailOLD folder, open the Local folder and find the file named account{xxxxxxxxxxxxx}.oeaccount. (Your file will have letters and numbers in place of the x's) Right-click and copy this file.

    Go to the new Windows Mail folder that was automatically created when you restarted Windows Mail. Open the Local folder and paste the account{xxxxxxxxxxxxx}.oeaccount file in it. You should also copy the Stationery and Microsoft Community folders from the Windows MailOLD folder, if they are present, and paste those into the Local folder of the new Windows Mail folder as well.

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    Import Mail

    Finally, you will need to import your messages from the corrupted Windows Mail folder to your new, recreated Windows Mail folder.Import Files from Corrupted Folder 

    Start Windows Mail. Go to the File menu, point to Import and click Messages. Select Microsoft Windows Mail 7 and click Next. Click the Browse button and navigate to the Windows MailOLD folder. Click Next. Select All Folders and click Next again. Click the Finish button.

    Your Windows Mail messages will now be in your new Mail folder. You can go back to the Windows Mail location and delete the Windows MailOLD folder, which is the corrupted folder.

    Read the Bright Hub article Windows Mail (Vista) - Get the Most from Configuration Settings for more help with Windows Mail, and be sure to check out the Bright Hub collection of Internet Explorer and Email hints, tips, user guides and tutorials. New articles are added all the time, so check back often!

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