Thinking of Converting from Windows Live Mail 11 to eM Client

I have been using Windows Live Mail 11 for years and am currently using it on Windows 10 with POP3 and SMTP servers configured. (I couldn’t upgrade to WLM 12 because it mishandled groups of email addresses, and I use them a lot.) I started researching replacement email clients when I realized that WLM will not be upgraded or supported in the future, and many positive comments about and high ratings for eM Client have aroused my interest. Before I just jump in and try to convert/upgrade, I have a few questions.

I have about 40 WLM Storage Folders containing thousands of email messages that date back as much as 20 years. It is essential that they be retained in any replacement email client that I move to. Any anticipated problem with this?

I have about 900 contacts and about 15 categories (groups) of contacts. The sizes of those groups range from just 5 contacts in one group to 170 contacts in the largest group. It would surprise me if eM Client would import those groups, because WLM can’t even export them. But I would certainly want the 900 main contacts to be imported. I can rebuild the groups. I assume eM Client supports groups of addresses, doesn’t it?

I would like to download and install eM Client and have it try to import everything from my Windows Live Mail account without actually becoming my active email client immediately. After that, I would like to take some time to verify everything that got imported before starting to use eM as my client and keep using WLM until I’m satisfied that everything looks good with eM. Can that be easily accomplished?

I use an online backup service and have placed my WLM data files in a location that gets backed up daily by the service. Can I specify a location for eM Client data files?

Any advice would be welcome. Once or twice before I have changed email clients, and it’s a big step to take!


It has been a year since I posted the original message in this thread, and no replies have ever been posted. I have continued using Windows Live Mail 11 during that year and am still quite happy with it. However, the reality is that one of these days the unsupported WLM will stop working, and I’d like to be on a more modern platform when that happens. Can anyone address my original concerns? Maintaining the WLM separate storage folders is very high on my priority list.


Hi Jim.

The email folders should be retained, but the best option is for you to try an import and see how it goes.

Yes eM Client supports categories for contacts.

There is an option during the installation of eM Client to make it the default email client. You can untick that, or even afterwards you can go into your Windows settings and change the default back to WLM. Later you can change it to eM Client when you are ready.

One thing you want to consider when using both clients simultaneously, is that they should preferably both be using IMAP, but as you use POP3 you want to make sure they do not delete messages from the server. Otherwise one will download and delete the messages and then the other might not get anything.

You can specify a custom location for the eM Client database, but you cannot use an external application to backup that directory while eM Client is running. You will most likely only get empty files. Instead, eM Client has its own automatic backup function which by default saves the backup in your documents directory, or you can also specify another location. You can then just backup that directory using your regular backup application.

Gary, thank you for your prompt and thorough reply! You have encouraged me to try importing my WLM files into eM Client. If all goes well I will switch over to eM Client. I have read a number of positive reviews of eM, but I want to be sure it works for me in the way that WLM has for many years.

Let us know how you get on. :slight_smile:

Today I downloaded and installed eM Client on my PC and imported my email account from Windows Live Mail. At first glance things look good, but I’m going to need to spend some time verifying that all is well before I make eM Client my regular email program. I notice that the names of many of my storage folders have been truncated, but I think I can fix that with Rename. As I expected, my groups of email addresses did not come across and I will need to rebuild them.

Except for system folders like Inbox, Sent etc, you should be able to rename any folder.

If it becomes a chore to rebuild the contacts groups, you could try to move them to separate folders in WLM before import, if that is possible. Then they can easily be categorized and combined in eM Client.

Gary, I appreciate your good advice. Now another question. I’m going to wait a few days before switching over to eM Client for my regular full-time email. I want to do some cleanup work on my WLM data first. I’ve found some obsolete storage folders that I want to delete. I think it will be best if when I am ready to switch, I import WLM to eM again. Can I do this without uninstalling and reinstalling eM? Can I just delete my current email account in eM and then import it again?

Assuming that there is nothing in eM Client that you want to keep, you can simply delete the database.

Close eM Client, and then delete C:\Users_username_\AppData\Roaming\eM Client. You may have to show hidden items in Explorer to do that.

Gary, I am wondering if there is a difference between deleting an account using the method you describe above (deleting the database) and deleting it using Menu-Tools-Accounts and deleting it there. I have set up a backup folder. I’m thinking that the database deletion would probably cause the backup folder location to be lost while the account deletion method might remember it. Not a big deal either way.

Deleting the database will delete all accounts if you have more than one setup in eM Client, as well as deleting anything in Local Folders, your settings, Rules, templates, signatures etc. So you start from scratch the same as if you just installed eM Client on a new computer.

Deleting the account will only delete the connection to that server and the folders for that account in eM Client, but leave everything else.

In either instance, the backup will not be deleted. Also with uninstalling eM Client, both the database and backup folders will remain, unless you use some uninstall utility like Revo. In which case it may also delete the database.

If the account is deleted, do contacts that have been loaded remain? If so, do distribution lists that have been created remain? In other words, is a contact list part of an account or separate from it?

That depends on where you have saved the contacts and distribution list. There are two possibilities: online folders and local folders.

If they were saved to online folders, they will be removed from eM Client if you delete the account or database, but will still be available through the web interface for that account. When you add the account again, they will appear in eM Client.

If you saved them to local folders, then they will not be deleted by removing the account, but will be deleted by deleting the database.

One thing to note is that not all online contact accounts support distribution lists, so you may have to save the distribution list to local folders even if your contacts are online.