How can I search Windows Live Mail for specific messages by sender, subject, message, or date range?

morning March 7, 2011
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The “find” feature with regard to finding a specific message by either sender/subject/message or whatever seems to be useless. Regardless of what I put in to search or the date range, I keep getting a result of ‘0’.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I can get this to work? I seem to have misfiled some messages and can’t find them among the hundreds of messages or folders I have. Any advice will be appreciated.

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  1. Ted Xasperay
    August 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    This may be a eureka moment, but it probably isn't.  Looking around the web, I see you have to unhide folders if you want to remove the exclusion. So unhide in Folder Options  containing appdata in any way you can, I guess, , then it appears in the list and can be ticked.  Managed to get rid of one exclusion of AppData that way.  Another remains, as does "Data".  I thought those might refer to an external Hard Drive: but ticking that does not remove it.  Guess I'm waiting to see if it will index these now.(Not much use as this matter is urgent)  Got sceptical as my projects are now severely delayed while trying to fix this.

    • Tina
      August 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks for sharing your partial solution, Ted.

      If you still have an issue there, please ask a new question as this question will likely only be seen by other people looking for solutions and probably not by people who can contribute an answer.

  2. Ted Xasperay
    August 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    hear hear! exactly same problems. Can't remove the exclusion of Apdata. Tried all this advice, but I'm  not going to reinstall WLM, especially as that will likely not work anyway. I have another life.
    WLM has driven me to distraction. Is there a better alternative to WLM?  If so I'll take it.  Loved Outlook Express, but Microsoft have lost the plot.

  3. shane brown
    April 6, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Im having the same problem. Has been a constant problem since i got my laptop a year ago. I have just let it go for the past year but today i really needed to find an old email during a meeting fast and i had to manually look through a ton of emails. I organise my emails quite well but thats besides the point. You should be able to search your mail without having to come up with workarounds.

    • Tina
      April 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm


      did Albert's workaround above work for you?

  4. Morning
    March 29, 2011 at 2:54 am

    The system of entering something, searching all emails, deleting that "something" does not solve the problem of searching for something that is in the text. That is still the missing element in the "search" function.

  5. Albertswk
    March 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I found a way around this to search by date, sort of.
    If you type in a search term (anything you want) and then select Search In: ALL EMAIL, you can then delete the search term you typed in, and you have all email listed, you can sort by date and then go to the date you are looking for. Not ideal, but it works.

    • Tina
      March 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks for the update!

  6. Jones Jack66
    March 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I am having the same frustrating problem with WLM and the same in Windows Explorer search, all down to the Indexer no doubt and my AppData now shows several exclusions!
    WLM: Only searches the subject title! USELESS!
    Windows Explorer & Start Search: always finds ZERO files when I can see the file name and content contains the search term. USELESS!
    Yes I have also tried all of the above and everything should be correct but I know the 'offline files' should surely show all My Documets(21k files) but only shows 6K(seens to vary!) in total and when I select C:USERS... I get 33k files, BUT the DEFAULT for Libraries is to INDEX! Win Explorer works but NOT WLM! Can't set AppData!!!

    What's it all about microsoft??? This is a REALLY POOR Search System microsoft (WIN 7 Pro 32bit)

  7. Anonymous
    March 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm


    reinstal windowsmail


    Control Panel - Indexing Options - Modify
    navigate to C:Users

    checkmark in front of AppData
    click on Advanced
    click on Rebuild

    Now the search index will be rebuilt to include AppData so you will be able
    to search thru all your messages.
    It may take a while to rebuild, especially if you continue to use the
    computer while it is working.

    • Morning
      March 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      I really feel stupid BUT AppData under my longin account IS checked and has been checked the whole time - I have already rebuilt the index twice. Despite that, AppData still appears as being excluded under Indexing Options. I have also tried unchecking AppData, restarting the computer, rechecking AppData, restarting the comuter and still, a big '0' results. I just CAN'T reformat my hard-disk and reinstall Winows 7 - thre's got to be another way.

  8. Anonymous
    March 10, 2011 at 7:18 am

    You can force WLMail to replace the entire Message Store when it starts, by renaming the existing corrupt Message Store.

    The default location for WLMail's Message Store in Vista is:

    C:UsersAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows Live Mail
    (%localappdata%microsoftwindows live mail)

    The Message Store in its default location is a hidden folder, so ensure "Show hidden files and folders" is checked under Folder Options in Windows Explorer.

    So I suggest that you rename the "Windows Live Mail" Message Store folder to "Windows Live Mail (old)" and then restart WLMail. WLMail should then start successfully and recreate the Message Store.

    After WLMail recreates the Message Store, you will need to set up your accounts again and import your messages if necessary. Messages can be imported directly from your old renamed Message Store by dragging them onto the WLMail interface, or by using the File->Import->Messages->Windows Live Mail option and pointing it to your old renamed Message Store folder.

    If any extra spellchecking languages have been installed, or you want to re-use your custom dictionary, then you can replace the contents of the "Proof" folder within the new Message Store with the contents of the "Proof" folder in your old Message Store.

    • Morning
      March 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you for your suggestion - my OS is not Vista but Windows 7 - and I cannot find the Message Store, not even by entering the words "message store" in the START - there is no AppData under users, much less "local" - when I was using Vista, I had no problems - assuming you can send me the default location for WLMail's Message Store for Windows 7, how do I restart WLMail after renaming the Message Store folder OLD?
      Just had a thought - the search/find function to us is the one in the START function [globe bottom left of the screen] or the "find" function in the top bar of the LiveMail? It just occured to me that after having indexed the computer properly, with your help and that of other contributors, I've been using the wrong "search/find" function.
      At any rate, thank you for all of your help.

    • Morning
      March 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Further to what I wrote as a reply previously - the find/search function as part of the Start function only searches in the back-up file of emails [windows live] which is stored on D [the backup file from prior to my upgrading to Windows 7] and none of the items contained in the Windows Live Mail since I upgraded. It does, however, find internet sites/pages and word documents produced since then. Very confusing and aggravating. I REALLY need the search feature for emails.

  9. Morning
    March 10, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I have done everything suggested: gone into Indexing Options etc., even rebuilt the index, etc. Also went into Find and Fix Problems with Windows Search, selecting the "files option", to no avail. The only thing I find different is that AppData is excluded TWICE but going into modify and taking a look at the file location, I find only one place with AppData and it is checked off! I have more than 52,000 items indexed and regardless of how I qualify the search - to, from, subject, message, inbox, sent ... - I still come up with a result of 0. I appreciate all of the advice but HELP.......

    I should also mention that I have the same problem on my laptop as I have on my desktop computer.

    This has me convinced that it's probably me who is doing something wrong and I'm missing someting.

  10. Morning
    March 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I have done everything suggested: gone into Indexing Options etc., even rebuilt the index, etc. Also went into Find and Fix Problems with Windows Search, selecting the "files option", to no avail. The only thing I find different is that AppData is excluded TWICE but going into modify and taking a look at the file location, I find only one place with AppData and it is checked off! I have more than 52,000 items indexed and regardless of how I qualify the search - to, from, subject, message, inbox, sent ... - I still come up with a result of 0. I appreciate all of the advice but HELP.......

  11. IslandCoffee_75
    March 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    If you are speaking of finding messages by sender,subject message.You need only to have a good memory and remember

    1/the name of the person sending the message to you .
    2/The email address
    3/Was the message sent to you , or did you send out the message.
    4/Was it a social contact , e.g Facebook, Myspace, etc?
    All you need to do is to go to the search message box , type in what ever criteria you are searching for and it will be at your disposalwhetehr its stored in the Junk, Sent, Inbox or deleted folders.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Aibek
    March 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Hey morning,

    Did you find the links above helpful? Lets us know if you need any further assistance.


    • Jonsmom
      May 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Unfortunately I don't have a search message box.

  13. Anonymous
    March 8, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Using Windows Search to search for Windows Live Mail e-mail will return incomplete results on Windows 7 64-bit Operating Systems

    AppData is excluded for some reason. just revise the Indexing Options to include it. Then rebuild the index.

    locate your store File path. This is C:UsersNameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows Live Mail.

    First check whether your store folder is being indexed and whether mail message files are being indexed with properties and content. In WLMail, locate your store folder by opening the Options sheet (Ctrl-Shift-O), opening the Advanced tab, clicking Maintenance and then Store folder. Write down the path.

    Open Indexing Options in Control Panel (just type indexing options in the start search box). Click the Modify button, navigate to your store folder and ensure its box is ticked.

    Click the Advanced button and open the File types tab. Check that the box beside extensions eml, nws and rss are ticked and that the filter description reads Windows Live MIME filter. Click on each extension in turn and check that Index properties and file contents is selected at the foot of the dialogue for each one.

    If these settings are all as they should be and you didn't make any changes, try the Search and Indexing troubleshooter in Control Panel. Start typing search and indexing into the start search box until you can see and select Find and fix problems with Windows Search at the top of the results panel. Don't select the e-mail option; Windows Search regards Windows Live Mail messages as files, not e-mail

    To manually register the filter
    Using Regedit.exe, navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.emlPersistentHandler and assign the Default value to {5645C8C1-E277-11CF-8FDA-00AA00A14F93}.
    Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Advanced.
    Click Indexing Options, and then click Advanced.
    Click Rebuild. When you are prompted to confirm that you want to rebuild the index, click OK. The rebuilding operation may take some time.

    be patient it will take a xhile to built the index.

  14. Mike
    March 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    From what I know Windows Live Mail uses the Windows Search and it's index. If you have disabled/deinstalled it or deleted the index it will probably not work.

    This link contains information on incomplete searches within Windows Live Mail:

    The following is a direct link to a possible FixIt Solution:

    This last link has information about the Index feature and how to use and troubleshoot it.

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