FIX: Recover Missing or Lost Folders in Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Mail is a rather impressive email client, but it is not without faults – one of them being that any and all email folders in Windows Live Mail are prone to getting lost even if you don’t delete them. In some instances, Windows Live Mail users have reported some or all of their email folders disappearing, either after a Windows update or a Windows Live Mail update, or following the deletion of a single email folder. In such cases, the email folders that are lost become inaccessible, posing a significant problem for the average person – especially if their daily life relies heavily on email.

Fortunately, there are quite a few different methods you can use to try and restore any lost Windows Live Mail email folders. The following are the three methods that have proven to be the most effective in restoring lost Windows Live Mail folders:

Method 1: Restore the folders using Compact View

The most popular fix that allows Windows Live Mail users to recover folders that were lost and not actually deleted by them is restoring the folders using Compact View. Enabling the Compact View feature allows the user to access a list of ALL the Windows Live Mail email folders on their computer, consequently enabling them to simply choose the folders that are missing and restore them. To restore the Windows Live Mail folders that you have lost using this method, you need to:

Open Windows Live Mail and click on ‘View’ in the taskbar. Next, click on ‘Compact View.’ Doing this will collapse all of the Windows Live Mail folders listed, and a green plus sign will appear beneath them.


Click on the green plus. As soon as you do so, a dialog box that lists ALL of the Windows Live Mail folders on your computer – including the ones that you have lost – will appear.


Check each lost folder you wish to restore by clicking the checkbox beside it, then click on ‘OK’. Once completed, select ‘View’ and then ‘Compact View’.


As soon as you click on Compact View the second time, all the email folders that you thought you had lost should appear exactly where they should be.

Method 2: Restore the folders that were lost by using the import feature from the default directory where the mails are stored.

The first step is to hold the Windows key and press R. Then, type %appdata% and click OK. Once there, check the following locations:


AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail

You will then see your folders in one of those directories. Copy everything and create a new folder on the Desktop. Name it “Back Up Live Mail” or something similar. This will serve as the backup folder. The reason for copying it is to prevent corruption or disruption of the existing data.


Now you’ve got the backup. From here, whether you’re restoring/importing from the backup we did earlier or from another backup, the steps below will apply to both.

Open Windows Live Mail,

Open the File menu located in the upper left corner of the window,

Click on ‘Import Messages

Select the file format in which you saved your Windows Live Mail backup – Microsoft Outlook Express 6, Windows Live Mail, or Windows Mail. If you are restoring from the backup using the method above, then use the Windows Live Mail option and click ‘Next’. Click on ‘Browse’, navigate to the folder where your backup is stored, select the backup file (either the folder or the mailbox) you want to restore, then click ‘Next’. Upon receiving a message confirming the successful restoration of the folders, click ‘Finish’. The restored folders should now be visible in the left pane under ‘Storage’ folders, or wherever they were imported.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.