How to recover email after deleted Windows Live Mail account

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92 Responses to How to recover email after deleted Windows Live Mail account

  1. Chalkpig says:

    Had the same problem – can’t believe that live mail doesn’t put ‘delete account’ in an options menu somewhere….
    Anyway – followed instructions (nearly) and success!
    Couple of small changes
    Step 5 – I used the shadow copy export one earlier than the most recent (I compared the exports from both the most recent and the one before (about 2 days earlier) and the most recent didn’t have any files in the deleted accounts folder, which seems to make sense as I created the restore point after deleting the account. I don’t think I lost any e-mail as I think the remote server still had the last few days mail. It all appeared unread in the various inboxes.
    Step 2/11 – Explorer doesn’t show hidden / system folders or files by default and AppData is hidden – you could change the settings to show it – my preference is to use Beyond Compare.
    Other than that worked a treat.

    Many thanks – you saved my bacon!!

  2. Pau says:

    Great !!!!!!! You saved my live 😉 Thanks you a lot.

  3. J. says:

    Very helpful!!

    Windows Mail is different than Live Mail, so did not have to backup/restore that directory (steps 2 and 11).


  4. Marlon says:

    Have the same problem: an account accidently deleted, but am running XP Home Edition instead of Vista. Will this still work? Thanks.

  5. Mark says:

    Great walkthrough, thank you, this worked for me and saved me
    I followed it step by step and recovered all of my messages.
    Step 5 was a little unclear at first but in the program ShadowExplorer there is a dropdown of restore points that Windows Mail makes every time you close or open the program.
    Pick the date and time just before you removed the account and proceed to Step 6
    Great job and thanks again

  6. kbanger1 says:

    Thank you so much! I just accidentally erased some saved messages by mistake and was fortunate to run into this site. I really do appreciate what you have shared!

  7. davidk says:

    you are my saviour
    i can’t thank you enough

  8. Maritess says:

    Thanks a lot. You save my life!

  9. rastgoo says:

    You are a life saver. Thanks for the instructions

  10. Simon van der Pol says:

    Thanks for the help. A slightly more simplified route for win 7 users:

    Close Windows Live Mail.

    Go to C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft and then right click on the Windows Live Mail folder and choose ‘restore previous versions’.

    Then choose the most recent date to restore to and click restore.

    After restoring to a previous date, you can always restore back to a future date.

    Then open Windows Live Mail. All your e-mails should be in place.


    • Beth R says:

      Once I click into the “username” portion, I don’t have a file folder labeled AppData. What do I do? I have Windows 7.

    • kishore ampani says:

      Hi Simon Van Der Pol,
      When I right click on “Windows live Mail” I can’t see “restore previous versions”. How to get to it?
      Thank you for your help,

    • TCWORLD says:

      I accidentally deleted an account and that worked perfectly to restore it, thanks! 😀

  11. Burak says:

    Thank you so much powerpill. I am relieved after following the steps u gave. I easily recovered all my e-mails. I was reading an e-mail and press the delete button on my keyboard as if i thought it will delete the e-mail but actually what had been selected was the e-mail account on the left and suddenly all mails gone.

    Thank you!!!

  12. Dan Taylor says:

    Astonishingly easy recovery of a near disaster. It’s so nice when the web yields a real solution. Not sure what Karma is, but you must be in credit.


  13. scruffy says:

    Followed all steps for Windows 7 users. Did not work. Can anyone give some suggestions as to why it did not work????

    • philu says:

      “It did not work” is an error report I object to; you never go to the doctor and just say “I’m sick” and then stare at him and expect him to guess what’s wrong!
      You need to be more specific and give details about error messages.
      I ran this on Windows 7 successfully, and you didn’t, so did you miss a step?
      Did you look in the wrong directory?

      • scruffy says:

        I checked and doubled checked each step and directory. No emails were retrieved for the account inadvertently deleted. I received no “error messages”. Upon opening Windows Live Mail after all steps were completed, nothing was retrieved.

  14. Jim says:

    I don’t want to restore my entire email from an earlier restore point. I just want to restore the one mail account that I accidently deleted. I found the account and it’s emails in the Windows Live Mail directory. I just want to put that account/folder back in my email program. I tried to import the folder into my mail program and I got a message that the import was complete. However, the account was not re-created and I could not find the messages.

    There must be a simple way to put this account back. Any suggestions.

  15. Brucester says:

    Thank you SO SO SO much!!! life saver!!!

  16. Pedro says:

    Maravilloso. Recuperé todo mi correo despues de intentarlo con utilidades de recuperación de archivos borrados que eran un horror.
    Me salvó la vida (todo mi pasado escrito reciente).
    Muchas gracias.

  17. Patricia says:

    Many thanks for the ‘Shadow Explorer’ tip. I had lost a number of contacts, and it saved the day!

  18. janisjmw says:


    after much troubles finding and copying the folder, I have made it through steps 1 & 2. How do I make a “System Restore Point”? Is this on the copied backup files?

  19. Andrew says:

    Thank you so much Simon. Support techs at my ISP accidentally deleted all my folders and you have made my day with your great advice.
    Much appreciated!!

  20. I deleted my father's account says:

    Holy crap – thank you for this page. God bless you and your children and your children’s children.

  21. Dave says:

    Simon Van Der Pol It worked like a charm for me. THANKYOU !!!

  22. Kugan says:

    you guys are the Greatest… Simon’s method saved me a few thousand dollars in data recovery costs 🙂

  23. david says:

    Excellent, cant thank you enough for this genuis bit of info.
    Many thanks

  24. Neil says:

    Hi Philu, I have that very same problem, but can;t find C:\Users\Philu\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
    I know that my Windows live mail file is there because I did a ‘search’ for it, but I am
    unable to implement your advice because I can’t follow your steps exactly or even by
    a variation on your steps looking for an alternative file location.

    • philu says:

      Are you using Windows XP? Then look under C:\Documents and Settings\\…
      Do a search for the Windows Live Mail directory using dir /s…

  25. Ken says:

    Thanks Simon van der Pol.
    It worked great 😉 Saved me alot of work.

  26. Sue says:

    Thank you Simon van der Pol!!
    I have been struggling with this all day trying many different methods without success. I finally had resigned myself that all was lost, then when I was scrolling through the comment I found your Window 7 procedure. Within 10 minutes I had restored all my lost folders and e-mails!!

    LIfe Saver!! Too bad I didn’t read it 12 hours ago!

  27. Joanna says:

    fantastic advice, why they don’t have this on the Windows Live Mail help + support is beyond me. Thank you so much!

  28. Linda says:

    I can not thank you enough for your help…after switching to a new provider…the so called tech guy deleted all my windows mail accounts before i had a chance to sort through them. He said it wouldn’t delete the emails. I suppose in some sense he was correct. After spending an hour on a google search and some company offering an app for $50.00 to recover & some people in forums saying i ‘ll never see them again or it will cost $100’s of dollars to recover I found you! I followed the easier version of Van Der Pol and voila they’re all back!!!!!!!!!! All i can say is I love geeks & geeks rule!!! Forget about microsoft tech information etc.

  29. Thank you so much for your comment, and for google… Not even our IT specialist could restore my mails, after my blond moment of deleting the account.! THANX!!!

  30. L.M. says:

    Thanks so much to you and Mr. van der Pol – lifesaver!

  31. Linda says:


  32. Grady says:

    Using Win 7 64 bit Windows Live Mail. Reloaded Windows 7 and lost email. Cannot find the file “AppData” although performed a Windows search. I was able to retrieve my Contacts (without knowing what I did), but nothing else. I do have a Windows.old file but do not know how to do anything with it??? Suggestions?

  33. Nyrie Allgood says:

    Im so happy you posted this!! And grateful that you did! You bailed me out of a very tricky situation. Thanks so much..

  34. Scott Brewster says:

    HI, I dont know a lot about computers, as i lost a email folder accidently as well, but where do i go/find the C:\users\username\appdata\local\microsoft

  35. Krystal says:

    Found out someone nuked a ton of emails last week (full delete) If the steps here are used, what happens to any emails that came in during the last week? – will they be lost?

    • philu says:

      In Windows Explorer, go to Tools / Folder Options / View and select the option to “Show hidden files and folders”, and then have another look for the AppData directory.

  36. nearly over says:

    thank you ! all day I was looking for solution ! my emails just vanished and now they’re back thank you !

  37. Karl says:

    Struggling with this as we speak? Does this solution only work if there is a restore point salved in the “Restore Previous Version” dialogue?

    If so… I’m lost. 😦

  38. Karthik says:

    A huge thanks bro, you saved my life…..
    It works.

  39. i have accidentally deleted my windows live ID from windows server how can i restore it

  40. Mel says:

    I have by mistake deleted my entire email account. Can someone please tell me how to fix this. When I log on to my email account it tells me that address does not exist. Please help.

  41. Pippa says:

    Hi Phil, I’m stuck. Found the folders but the restore button is dead. I cannot click on it. Any ideas why this might be? Cheers, Pippa

  42. Karen says:

    Tankk you greatly, this really resolved what looked as impossible task, deleted account entiraly saved. Actually, mentioned mistake of deleting accont with all messages in one click happenned zillion times and it is beyond imagination why f.cked b.stard Bill Gates allows such shame for Microsoft. On the other hand that justify not buying MS products. Great Thumb+ for phil.

  43. Pingback: How to recover email after deleted Windows Live Mail account | powerphil | ECE Knowledgebase

  44. Michael says:

    I am so screwed……please help me….When I right click on “Windows live Mail” I can’t see “restore previous versions”. How to get to it?
    Thank you for your help,

  45. Peggy says:

    OMG…you saved my life….thank you, it worked perfectly!!

  46. Mary says:

    Hi, I too lost all my storage folders. I tried to delete one that was empty, and they all went away. I followed your advice and seem to have located them, but I’m afraid to restore yet. I have a 12-6-12 most recent restore date. Does that mean I’ll go back to what I had on 12-6 and lose everything from 12-6-12 to today?

  47. Pingback: The Best Guide for Windows Live Mail - Initial Use and Fixing Common Problems - The Free and Easy Guide to PCs!

  48. Gary Pittard says:

    I can not find aAppData or anything like it, can you help?

    • philu says:

      Make sure you can view Hidden Files and Folders in Windows Explorer by going to Tools / Options and ticking the so-named box.

      • Mary says:

        The storage folders I’m missing are from Window Live Mail 2012, not Windows Explorer. I still haven’t been able to find them, although if I do a search (not through Live Mail) for a particular email, sometimes I can find it. The emails don’t have titles on them any more, just numbers, and I usually get a huge list of emails, so I have to open each one to see what it is. Very frustrating! Any other suggestions?

  49. walt says:

    I used SparkTrust PC Cleaner…deleted all my email! Did as instructed above…recovered all my email!! SparkTrust said it was gone…wanted $220 to investigate further…a scam!! Thanks to you, all is recovered! and saved $220 (but I wasn’t going to have them do it).

  50. Roy says:

    I have no such folder “App data” kinda dead in the water…Now what?

  51. Yeah, there is no warning message that I remember. I was trying to change from POP service to IMAP and inadvertently deleted the account without thinking it would wipe out all my message folders.

  52. The Win 7 procedure wasn’t applicable for me using Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.

  53. Sandy says:

    I have Windows 7 and Windows Live Mail 2011. I did not delete some of my emails – think my ISP had a meltdown and some vanished, including some of the New Folders I had made. Found some in the “Recovered Items” section on Windows Live Mail 2011, but the second time this happened, they were not there under that section.

    However, I can find the second lot that vanished via “Search”, but have to go through all of them and re-put them into Live Mail one at a time! However, as my emails were never deleted, I presume the advice from Simon van der Pol still applies to me, though????

    Also if I choose a date to restore emails, say November 2012, does that mean those received or sent after that date will not re-appear? Please let me know, as I do not want to restore older emails at the loss of recent ones.

    Please clarify both points. Thank you.

    • philu says:

      Windows Live Mail keeps its folders on your PC, so if your ISP had a meltdown, that wouldn’t affect your PC or Windows Live Mail, so something else must have happened.

      Because your emails can be found via “Search”, then you didn’t delete the account, so you must have deleted a folder or a bunch of emails accidentally, so Simon van der Pol’s advice won’t apply as that only applies if you delete your account.

      As for your last question, I don’t know; test it – try using December 2012 and October 2012 and you will find out how the date search works, and so find out the answer to your question.

      • Sandy says:

        Thank you for your reply. I certainly did not delete a bunch of folders/emails. This first happened when I was having connection problems and when that was restored, that was when I noticed that things had vanished. Somehow, the missing emails came back through the storage folder but not in any kind of order or under any kind of folder.

        This time, however, there is nothing in the storage folders at all. When I did “Search”, I found lots of emails but have to go through them individually then copy them back into Windows Live Mail. The problem is that I cannot recall all the folders I have, which are many, by the nature of the work I do. I was looking for a quick way to restore the missing folders (with their files in them) back into Windows Live Mail. I think I will probably hire a computer person to sort this out, as I cannot find out why this problem occurs, can prevent it or am able to restore the folders with their files in a quick method.

        Thanks for your advice anyway.

  54. rafae says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I recovered my account.

  55. John says:

    Just wanted to say thanks, this helped me out a lot!

  56. is it time to move to gmail? says:

    Hello, could anyone list a step by step guide to recovering a deleted folder from Windows Live Mail on Windows XP? I can’t follow the steps above, only got as far as finding the App Data folder. Also Shadow Explorer doesn’t apply to Windows XP.

    I deleted what I thought was a duplicate folder on WLM, which was an empty folder, but then the actual folder with the same name and with very important finance related emails disappeared too, and now can’t be found on or the email app on my android tablet). I can’t see it in the App Data folder either, but the empty one is there.

    Any help much appreciated!

  57. eggbilly says:

    Thanks so much for this. I deleted my account in order to move it to an IMAP server from POP, something that LiveMail isn’t as forgiving about than Outlook, so after deleting, all messages had disappeared – along with 750 archived ones. (Should have just created a duplicate account with the IMAP and disabled the old, I know now!

    Anyway, followed the instructions and it worked like a charm, so thanks again.

  58. Rochelle says:

    Thanks for the great tip, it worked but I need to restore to a future date, how do I do that?
    I could only restore until last year, I need to get all of the emails I saved for this year.

  59. a dewhurst says:

    what a relief…… thank you very much

  60. William Meacham says:

    Thanks so much for this solution. Worked like a charm after I deleted an account with 13 years’ of email while trying merely to cancel the constant notices after checking an email address no longer active. No warning, no reminder that all files will be erased, just poff — 10 seconds and they were all gone. My question: HOW THE HELL CAN THIS HAPPEN? This slippery and disastrous “delete an account” option in Live Mail has been known for several years, but Microsoft with all their updates and fixes have done nothing to correct it?!

  61. Rhonda says:

    Thank you so much for this great post!! I am at the point of making a back up of the two directories – can you tell me how I do that? Thank you in advance!

  62. RV Atkinson says:

    Worked great!! Thank you, thank you.
    Deleted my husband’s important e-mail I was trying to back up right before our trip last Friday. All folder’s were gone. He was UPSET. Googled how to recover. Got your info. Got back today(Aug 20th). Used the Recover Windows LiveMail option. All is well.

  63. Permanent solution needed says:

    I have the opposite problem. I want to make sure my deleted emails are never recoverable. Can anyone advise please. I have already deleted some emails but find they are still undeletable. How can I get rid of them for ever?

  64. SLKhng says:

    I follow all the steps but still cannot retrive all the deleted emails. is it just because i never backup emails before ?

  65. Vinay Sharma says:

    Thank you so much for this great post!!

    However, i could not recover all emails but i’m happy and less tensed with emails that have been recovered.

    Thank you!

  66. Doug Shane says:

    We are using Windows Live Email on an Acer laptop running Windows 8.1
    It seems that the folks commenting were using Windows 7. Does anyone know if the recovery will work with 8.1?

  67. I went to the location C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail\ and saw my email account that I had deleted. Inside this folder was my inbox, drafts and sent items. I created a new email account in windows live mail and simply dragged all the msgs in the inbox folder from explorer into the inbox of windows live mail, same thing for sent items and voila I am back to where I started 🙂

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