Vista: What To Do When You Cannot Delete a Message in Windows Mail

A number of users are experiencing problems with Windows Mail and deleting messages from the Inbox and Outbox. The message will first become unviewable in the reading pane and will then generate an error when you try to delete it. This is usually caused by a corrupt mailstore. To rebuild the mailstore (WindowsMail.MSMessageStore), follow these steps:

1. Back up the email you wish to keep. While rebuilding the mailstore shouldn’t result in any loss of email, it is always better to be safe.

2. Close Windows Mail.

3. Click the Start Button and select Computer.

4. Navigate to C:\Users\your username/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsMail.

5. Delete WindowsMail.MSMessageStore.

6. Open the Backup directory.

7. Open the new directory.

8. Delete WindowsMail.MSMessageStore.

9. Open Windows Mail to rebuild the mailstore database.

You should now be able to view and delete the problematic message(s).


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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The Conversation

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  • Rick

    Followed your instructions and it worked perfect. Thank you very much

  • Name

    Had a message that wouldn’t delete. This fixed my problem 100%. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    I tried that but then every file now wouldnt delte, so I had to delete the backup wich wiped everything, so thanks stupid spam enail I hope your happy.

  • Hozefa KB

    Thanks, this solved my problem

    actually, wait it didnt, when i select the messages and click the delete button, these messages disappear. but when i refresh the folder, those messages appear again.

    the messages are still there in my remote email account.
    Thank alot for wasting my time…

    • s0merand0md00d

      If you are unable to delete a message in Windows Mail (getting “An unknown error has occurred”) mark that message as Read, then try again to delete 🙂

      • Hozefa KB

        i am not getting any errors, the email itself is restored back to inbox. even after refreshing and clicking on “send and recieve all”, the message is there. am i missing something?

  • Sam

    Thanks..It worked like a charm for me..

  • Bill

    I have Vista. I want to empty my deleted items folder.
    When I right click on DELETED ITEMS and select EMPTY DELETED ITEMS
    FOLDER, I get ARE YOU SURE… and click YES.
    Nothing happens.
    I now have over 3,000 deleted items.

  • Guest

    Nice guy!

  • Nik_666

    the removed all my mails,how the hell do i get them back?

    • Rian

      To restore the mails

      1. open
      Windows Mail – you see the inbox etc are all empty, close again Windows Mail.2. Now open C:Usersyour username/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsMail

      You will see there is a new folder named Local Folder (1) – in my case that is the name..maybe you find similar name.

      3. You must exchange the name, so you change name Local Folder (1) –> Local Folder A ( for example ).. and change Local Folder –> became Local Folder (1)

      4. Open again Windows Mail.. then the windows Mail will restore all the folders and mails within.

      5. After you checked if all correct, you can delete the folder Local Folder A.. which now is unneeded..

      It is worked in my case.. I hope it works also for you.

  • carol

    This is what I keep getting when I want to date…I have Vista and my e-mail messages will not delete.. I did this and it did not work..

    The host ‘’ could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly.
    Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11001, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D

  • Lisa

    I am trying to following your instructions, but I cannot locate “AppData” under my username! Where is “AppData?”

    • Leo

      The AppData Folder is a hidden folder. In explore find folder options, view, and set it to show hidden folders. Once applied for should now see any hidden folders in the folder youire in.

  • robby

    Hey Rob,
    this tut was finally the right one. OK, didn’t work the way as shown here but …. to check if there’s another WindowsMail.MSMessageStore in the “new” folder an to delete was the way to get the programm back to work. And for thos who say it is n o t included in Win7 (64bit pro) .. it is and it works fine for the last years. It was my fault to delete a mail in the WindosMail directory while the software was in use.

    Thanks for this, have a nice day & regards from Germany