Windows Mail and Windows Calendar

By default Windows Vista comes with the mail program Windows Mail, the successor of Outlook Express in Windows XP. Windows Calendar adds calendar functionality to the Windows system. Windows Calendar enables managing, publishing and sharing your calendars with others on the internet.

Windows Mail

Basically there are two ways to send and receive e-mail messages: with an e-mail application or web based with an internet browser like the Internet Explorer or Firefox (download: Most web based solutions are straight forward and easy in use (and available wherever you are able to browse the internet because your mail are stored on the server of the e-mail provider). With an e-mail application your send and received e-mail are stored on your computer. Therefore you need an e-mail application like Windows Mail (Windows Vista build-in), Outlook (part of MS Office) or Outlook Express (Windows XP build-in). This page describes the different settings of the e-mail applications Windows Mail (Windows Vista build-in).

E-mail settings Windows Mail

Setting up a mail account in Windows Mail is actually not that difficult. From your e-mail provider you probably received the settings like e-mail address, POP3 and SMTP server, user account and password. Most times, this is all the information you need. In Windows Mail you click Tools, Accounts in the toolbar (it is safe to remove the shown newsgroup) followed by the button Add, E-mail Account, and a wizard appears to setup the account.

In the appearing wizard you first enter your name, followed with your e-mail address (enter your e-mail address correctly; else nobody will be able to reply your e-mail!). On the next screen you have to enter the POP3 and SMTP server (provided by your provider). The POP3 server is the incoming mail server of the e-mail provider, while the SMTP server is the outgoing mail server (most times you have to use the SMTP server of your internet provider (probably the same as your e-mail provider)). The last screen of the wizard is used to enter the username and password, provided by your e-mail provider. The wizard closes with the question whether the program must skip downloading the currently available e-mail.

Changing the properties of a new e-mail account in Windows Mail

By selecting the created e-mail account, you are able to change the properties by clicking the Properties button. You are able to change the name (as identification for yourself) and if needed changing the default port numbers on the tab Advanced. On the bottom of this tab your are able to leave a copy of the messages on the server for a certain amount of time. This can be interesting if you would like to download your e-mail on more then one computer! By limiting the time to one or two weeks, prevents the problems of not able to receive e-mail anymore because of a full mailbox.

Changing default Windows Mail settings

The default Windows Mail settings aren't always that comfortable, I prefer to change some of them:

TIP: By clicking a hyperlink in an e-mail, it will open the Internet Explorer. If there is already a Internet Explorer window open with a certain webpage, it will use a new tab in the same window (or the same tab if tabbed browsing is disabled). If this behavior is undesired, change the Internet Explorer setting by Tools, Internet Options, tab Advanced, sub Browsing, disabling the option Reuse windows for launching shortcuts (when tabbed browsing is off).


Because of security settings, it is possible to receive e-mail with unreachable attachments. This is the default setting within Windows Mail. To disable this security option, click Tools, Options, tab Security, disable the option Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus (don't forget to enable it afterwards!). However, I prefer to use a workaround to be able to access the disabled attachment. By clicking Forward, the attachment is suddenly available (there is no need to forward the e-mail of course, just a work around!). This way you keep your security at a high level.


The blue splash screen, results in a delay in the startup of Windows Mail. The splash screen can be disabled by a register-tweak, by creating a DWORD value NoSplash, with the value 1, in the following key:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail

Changing the Windows Mail database location

When a data partition is used to separate the personal files from the system files (to create an image of the Windows partition), move the Windows Mail database as well (by default these files are hidden). For more information visit the page about moving the personal files (including the contacts) to a data partition.

Windows Mail stores the e-mail database by default in the folder C:\Users\loginname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail. Create a folder in the user location (on a separate partition) first using the Windows Explorer (for example D:\loginname\Mail). Changing the Windows Mail database location is done by Tools, Options, tab Advanced, button Maintenance, button Store Folder, button Change, navigate to the new folder and confirm with the button OK (three times). After a restart of Windows Mail, the original e-mail archive is copied automatically to the new location. Finally the remaining files on the original location can be deleted manually by using the Windows Explorer (before you do so, make sure the storage location is changed successfully and the e-mail archive is accessible!).

Changing the Contacts database location
Before creating an image of the system partition, it is important to move the database location of the Contacts to a second partition as well. Create a new folder on the desired location (for example D:\loginname\Contacts), right click the current of the contacts (C:\Users\loginname\Contacts) and select Properties. The button Move on the tab Location moves the Contacts folder to the new created location.


After switching from Windows XP to Windows Vista, the Outlook Express e-mail database and contacts (Windows Address Book) are easily imported in Windows Mail. Importing the Outlook Express database is done by File, Import, Messages, Microsoft Outlook Express 6, Import mail from an OE6 store directory. Select the folder containing the DBX-files but don't open it, else the wrong store directory is chosen! Importing the mail is straight forward. Afterwards the mail must be moved to the right location because in Windows Mail they will be shown under Imported Folder. Importing the Windows Address book is done by File, Import, Windows Contacts, Windows Address Book File (Outlook Express contacts).


A new Windows Live product has been launched: Windows Live Mail. This free e-mail application supports Hotmail/Live-accounts and RSS-feeds (visit for an overview of the features).

Visit the page about useful tips for sending e-mail for more information.

Windows Calendar

The Windows Calendar is a new feature in Windows Vista, which makes it possible to manage, publish and share your calendars with others on the internet. By choosing for Day, Work Week, Week or Month in sub View in the toolbar the default view can be changed. By publishing a calendar automatically to the internet (which is possible by the option Share in the toolbar, Publish) others are continuously able to view it. The option Subscribe makes it possible to view those published calendars, if you are allowed to with the publisher. The calendar can be send by e-mail as well by right clicking it and choosing for Send via E-mail.

Changing the Windows Calendar database location
Moving the default Windows Calendar storage location is not that easy because it is necessary to create a symbolic link (symlink) with the Command Prompt. This can be done after the current calendar file (C:\Users\loginname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Calendar\Calendars\loginname's Calendar.ics) has been moved to the new folder using the Windows Explorer (for example D:\loginname\Calendar). First make sure that the original ICS-file is no longer available on the original location! If the file has been moved, the symbolic link can be created. Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, right click the icon Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. The next step is to create the symbolic link with the command which looks like this (all on one line, change the user account name to the one used at that moment):

MKLINK "C:\Users\inlognaam\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Calendar\Calendars\loginname's Calendar.ics" "D:\loginname\Calendar\loginname's Calendar.ics"

The created symbolic link only works if the original ICS-file has been moved to the new location. It is no problem to change the name of the database file, but this has to be changed in the above command as well.


If the added calendar items in the Windows Calendar are not saved, then the user probably does not have the rights to make changes to the saved file. These rights can bed added by right clicking the moved ICS-file and to select Properties, tab Security, button Edit. Select Users for all users or just only the active user account and activate the option Full control in the column Allow.


If an error is shown at startup with the message that it is not possible to load the Windows Calendar, (temporarily) deactivate User Account Control (UAC) and restart the computer. This is done by User Accounts in the Control Panel, option Turn of User Account Control on or off. Don't forget to turn UAC on after the restart of Windows.

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