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I recently rebuilt my dad's computer, from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I have everything back now, except for the contacts in Windows Live Mail. How do I restore these from backup? I had his whole user directory C:\Users\<user>\ being backed up to a NAS. So I located the contacts.edb file from the backup, located at

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts\<guid>\DBStore\contacts.edb 

So I copied that file (along with the others stored there contacts.pat, dbstore.ini, edb.chk) to where I found contacts.edb after installing the latest version of Windows Live Mail 2011:

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.4\DBStore
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.4\DBStore\Backup\new
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\DBStore
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\W4CR1\DBStore

But this does not seem to have restored the contacts. When I open WLM and go to Contacts it tells me there are 0 contacts. How can I restore the old contacts?? Of course I did look first for a Windows Live Contacts folder to restore them into, but there is no such folder under the new WLM apparently.

Failing this, is there some way to extract the contacts from the EDB file, into a format which can be imported into WLM (csv, wab, .contact)?

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You have to create at least one contact before the folder shows up. – Moab Apr 3 '11 at 21:26
I had done that, thinking that might be the case, but even so, it did not. – eidylon Apr 20 '11 at 15:59
look in..C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts – Moab Apr 20 '11 at 16:44
No, there was no such folder. – eidylon Apr 23 '11 at 0:52

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

To anyone finding this in the future, THIS CAN BE DONE! Use this program - EseDbViewer - to export the file to a CSV file, and then you can import that where ever you want.

Note that you pretty much need the whole file structure containing the edb, not just the edb file.

Hat-tip to @MicrosoftHelps on twitter.

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EseDbViewer only works on the original PC (or perhaps orignal OS install) from what I've read. Try Nirsoft's LiveContactView instead: – Matthew Oct 22 '13 at 17:26
+1 Thanks @Matthew - Nirsoft's LiveContactView worked for me. I prefer your solution because: 1) Doesn't need to be on the original PC -in LiveContactView you can run it on a backup on the contacts folder that is residing on another drive, doesn't have to be an active installation of Windows Live Mail. 2) This app is from what appears to be an established organisation, so even though I'm sure an independent developer has best intentions, an organisation can suggest a higher level of confidence with the tool 3) It's free. – therobyouknow Apr 19 at 16:56
Thanks @therobyouknow. I migrated my comment to its own answer, though I don't know if it's proper etiquette to delete my comment. – Matthew Apr 20 at 15:00

What you will need to do is find the contact folder for WLM.

If you open it you should see the contact as: Copy all your contacts to the user account contact folder located: C:\User\{username}\contacts.

Then in Windows Live Mail, open up your contact list and click Import. Choose Import from local user account. It should successfully import those contacts into your WLM contact list.

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Copy all files from C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.5\DBStore

copy and paste to equivalent location on destination PC.

This worked for Win 7 to Win 7, Windows Live 11 to Windows Live 12.

Most of the files in the DBStore folder are hidden and/or system files. In order to copy them, you must first open Folder Options > View tab, then (1) choose "Show hidden files, folders and drives" and (2) uncheck "Hide protected operating system files". The same thing applies when you copy them back into the equivalent location. After copying, you can reset Folder Options if you want. I have done this successfully many times. In your case you may not have backed up the files you need, in which case you're out of luck.

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You have to "export" them (CVS format) using Live mail on the original system., if the installation is wiped you cannot.

I have never found a way to do it by the copy paste method, when you install WLM it creates a unique mail profile for that particular system and user account.

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I've had good luck using Nirsoft's LiveContactsView. It will work even if you just have a backup of the Windows Live Contacts folder, whereas EseDbViewer must be run under the OS where Windows Live Mail was used.

LiveContactsView is free (as in beer) and I've used quite a few of NirSoft's utilities and can vouch for their legitimacy.

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