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FIX: Recover Missing or Lost Folders in Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Mail is a pretty neat email client, but it is not without its faults – one of them being the fact that any and all email folders in Windows Live Mail are prone to getting lost even if you don’t delete them. In some cases, Windows Live Mail users have reported some or all of their Windows Live Mail folders disappearing either after a Windows update or a Windows Live Mail Update or following the deletion of any one email folder. In such cases, the email folders that are lost are rendered inaccessible, which can prove to be quite the problem for the average person – especially if their everyday life depends heavily on email.

Fortunately, there are quite a few different ways which you can use to try and restore any and all lost Windows Live Mail email folders. The following are the three methods that have proven to be the most effective at 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. Click on View in the taskbar. Click on Compact View. Doing so will collapse all of the Windows Live Mail folders listed and a green sign in the shape of a plus will appear under 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.


Simply check each of the lost folders that you want to restore by clicking on the checkbox beside them, and then click on OK. Once done, click on View and then click on 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 using the import feature from the default directory where the mail’s 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 Desktop. Name it as “Back Up Live Mail” or something. This will be the back up folder, the reason it is supposed to be copied is to not corrupt or mess up the existing data.


Now you’ve got the back up, from here if you are restoring/importing from the back up we did above or from another back up, 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 in the File

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’re restoring from the back up in the above method, then use the Windows Live Mail option and click Next. Click on Browse, navigate to the folder in which your backup is stored, click on the backup file (the folder or mailbox) you want to restore to select it and then click on Next. Click on Next. As soon as you receive a message confirming the success of the restoration of the folders, feel free to click on Finish and see that the folders you restored are now visible in the left pane under Storage folders or where they were imported.


  1. I can’t thank you enough, I was distraught when I opened Windows LIve Mail and there was nothing in my inbox and no folders. Going through your steps re Compact View all the emails are still there, I really thought I had lost 10 years of emails. Thank You.

  2. Hi Kevin,
    I tried doing a few things here that do not seem to work. Details:
    1. I had a PC which I upgraded from W7 to W10. basically the more updates to the PC the more problems I had and it just made the PC slow and unworkable.. I decided to back up and revert back to W7 which still didn’t work as I think my hard drive was going to pack in as I was getting messages to back up and replace my hard drive.
    2. I decided to upgrade my PC to W8.1 to stay away from W10. I restored all my files but files those files that are program ones like MYOB and Windows Live Mail did not transfer over to the respective tiles. I see them in my back up external hard drive in the folder you suggest but when I do the rest of your instructions and then import them into windows live mail I get the following message:
    “No messages can be found in this folder or another application has the required files open.
    Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open”
    The thing is no other program is open apart from Windows Live Mail. I have tried to hunt this but it seems as thought it is a window 8.1 frustration.
    Any Idea?

  3. Hi,
    Yes I did that. Then when I did the import as you suggested that’s hen it gave me that message

  4. what is the location exactly, where you copied the folders?
    can you copy them into a new folder on your desktop, then reboot your PC and then try importing using WLM

  5. Hi Kevin,
    As I said in my original post to you they are in my backup external drive. I copied them first to the WLM file location in C drive and that didn’t work and then I copied them as you suggested to my desk top and tried to import from there and that too didn’t work I got the same message.
    I will try and do this again and reboot my PC and see if this makes any difference.
    Ill get back to you.

  6. Storage folders are local folders, saved on your system. Did the data from the %appdata% also got deleted? You’ll have to manually take a look in there to ensure that data exists, if it does then try importing them (you can also try dragging and dropping) them into Live Mail.

  7. If I correctly understand what you mean:
    I go to properties/advanced, and outgoing mail is SMTP [25], incoming mail is POP3 [110];

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FIX: Recover Missing or Lost Folders in Windows Live Mail

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