Windows Easy Transfer will not back up email

Firstly, thanks to Paul Thurrott of the Supersite for Windows for helping me out with testing this.

I was thinking about the people who will want to use the Windows Easy Transfer software on their Windows 7 install DVDs to copy across all their documents and settings from Windows XP or Vista.  I wondered what would happen to any email stored in either Outlook Express or Windows Mail.  This is because Windows 7 does not have an email application by default.

I thought that perhaps, if the user had already installed Windows Live Mail, an application that can happily import email from both Outlook Express and Windows Mail, Windows Easy Transfer might, just might import any email from your previous Windows installation into that program.

Alas, Paul kindly tested this for me and Windows Easy Transfer will not import email into Windows 7, even if you do already have Windows Live Mail installed.

This means that anybody not using webmail, or who has email stored in Outlook Express or Windows Mail, should not rely on WET to save their email for them.  This is not something Microsoft have stated and, frankly, they should have come clean over this as it’s quite a substantial limitation.

Before migrating to Windows 7 then, anybody who has email stored in their previous copy of Windows who also does not have it saved up in the cloud, should use the export option in that email software to back it up to an external drive, seperate partition or pendrive first.

This also means that anyone performing an in-place upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 using Windows Mail should also use Windows Mail to export their email before performing the upgrade, to avoid that email being lost forever.

This advice also applies to Windows Calendar in Vista, though currently, Windows Live Mail is unable to import any calendars directly.  There is a workaround for Hotmail, MSN and Live Mail users though if you export your calendar in iCal format and import it into the web-based calendar.

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