For many users of the popular email client, Windows Live Mail, the question of where their email messages are stored might seem like a mysterious enigma. Understanding the storage location of your email messages is essential for various reasons, such as creating backups, transferring data to a new device, or troubleshooting issues.
Unveiling the Hidden Location
Windows Live Mail employs a hidden, well-protected location to store all your messages and related data. This location is known as the "Data Store." The Data Store is a repository where all your folders, attachments, and account settings are kept. If you want to transfer files from Windows Live Mail to Outlook, you need to know where to find them. To access the Data Store, you need to navigate through the file system, following these steps:
Open the Windows File Explorer.
Navigate to the system drive (usually "C:") where Windows is installed.
Look for the "Users" folder and open it.
Inside the "Users" folder, find your user profile folder (often named after your username) and open it.
Now, you need to enable the display of hidden files and folders. In File Explorer, click on the "View" tab in the top menu and check the "Hidden Items" option.
Once hidden files are visible, locate and open the "AppData" folder.
Inside the "AppData" folder, you will find the "Local" folder. Open it.
Within the "Local" folder, search for the "Microsoft" folder and open it.
Finally, you will find the "Windows Live Mail" folder, which contains all your email messages and settings.
Understanding the Data Store Structure
Upon reaching the "Windows Live Mail" folder, you will encounter a variety of files with different extensions. These files collectively make up the structure of the Data Store and house your email data in various formats. Understanding the Data Store structure can provide insight into the organization of your messages and simplify the process of extracting or backing up specific emails.
Folders (dbx files)
The heart of the Data Store lies in the "Folders" files, usually with a ".dbx" extension. Each "dbx" file represents an email folder within Windows Live Mail. For instance, "Inbox.dbx" stores the emails in your Inbox, while "Sent Items.dbx" contains the sent messages. To access a specific folder's emails, you can open the corresponding "dbx" file with appropriate software or use third-party tools designed to extract messages from these files.
Account Settings (oeaccount)
Windows Live Mail uses "oeaccount" files to store account settings, including email addresses, server details, and login credentials. These files are crucial when configuring your email accounts on a new device or after a system reset. By locating and backing up these files, you can ensure a seamless setup process in the future.
Indexing (edb files)
Windows Live Mail makes use of "edb" files, which stand for "Extensible Storage Engine Database," for the purpose of indexing email messages so that users may quickly search for and retrieve them. These files keep a record of the email metadata, which enables a search to be conducted inside the program in a quick and effective manner. While it is not suggested to view "edb" files directly, it is helpful to understand their existence and function in order to have a better grasp of the inner workings of Windows Live Mail.
Backing Up Your Data Store
Given the importance of your email messages and settings, creating regular backups of your Windows Live Mail Data Store is paramount. Backups protect your data from potential hardware failures, accidental deletions, or software issues. To back up your Data Store, follow these steps:
Close Windows Live Mail to ensure that no files are in use during the backup process.
Navigate to the "Windows Live Mail" folder using the steps described earlier.
Copy the entire "Windows Live Mail" folder and paste it into an external storage device, such as an external hard drive or a USB flash drive.
For added safety, consider encrypting the backup files or storing them in a secure location.
You can protect the data in your email account and give yourself peace of mind by generating regular backups of it. This will ensure that your important communications are not lost and can be retrieved in the event that anything unfavorable occurs.