How to Repair the Windows Mail Database

By Jason Artman

Windows Mail is the free email application included with Windows Vista. The application replaces Outlook Express, the email application included with previous versions of Windows. Windows Mail stores messages in a database, and it is possible for messages in the database to become damaged or corrupted if the computer shuts down while the database is in use. If this happens, you might find that Windows Mail shows messages in folders that you are unable to delete. You can rebuild the Windows Mail database to resolve this issue.

Step 1

Launch Windows Mail. Click the "Tools" menu at the top of the screen, and then click "Options".

Step 2

Click the "Advanced" tab, and then click the "Maintenance" button.

Step 3

Click the "Store Folder" button. The window that appears displays the location of the Windows Mail message database.

Step 4

Use the mouse pointer to highlight the entire contents of the Store Location window. Right-click the highlighted text, and then click "Copy" to copy the folder location to the Windows clipboard.

Step 5

Close Windows Mail. Click the Start button, and then click "Computer".

Step 6

Click the word "Computer" in the address bar at the top of the Windows Explorer window to highlight it. Right-click the highlighted text and then click "Paste" to replace the text with the location of the Windows Mail store folder. Press "Enter" to navigate to the folder. The default folder location is "C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail".

Step 7

Click the name of the previous folder at the top of the window. For example, if you are using the default store folder location, click the "Microsoft" folder.

Step 8

Right-click the "Windows Mail" folder, and then click "Copy". Right-click the open area of the folder, and then click "Paste". Windows Vista creates a new folder called "Windows Mail--Copy". If you experience a problem during the process of rebuilding the Windows Mail message database, you can delete the "Windows Mail" folder and then change the name of the "Windows Mail--Copy" folder to "Windows Mail" to restore the original contents of the folder.

Step 9

Double-click the "Windows Mail" folder. Right-click "WindowsMail.MSMessageStore" and select "Delete". Click "Yes" to confirm.

Step 10

Double-click the "Backup" folder, and then double-click the "New" folder.

Step 11

Press the "Ctrl" and "A" keys on the keyboard to highlight all of the items in the folder. Right-click any of the highlighted files and select "Delete". Click "Yes" to confirm.

Step 12

Launch Windows Mail. As the program loads, it displays the message "Recovering The Windows Mail Database". When this process is complete, the message database is rebuilt.