Open .EML Files in Windows Mail or Outlook Express

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When somebody forwarded an email as an attachment, you used to be able to click on it in Windows Mail or Outlook Express, and the message opened nicely — in Outlook Express, again. Now, suddenly, either nothing happens, a curious dialog comes up, or the .eml file opens in a completely unrelated application?

Fret not. If you re-associate these .eml files or attachments with Outlook Express, they will open in your email program again, and creating that association is easy.

Associate .EML Files and Attachments with Windows Mail

To make .eml files and attachments open in Windows Mail:

  • Open the Start menu.
  • Type "default programs" (not including the quotation marks) in the Start Search field.
  • Click Default Programs.
  • Follow the Associate a file type or protocol with a program link.
  • Highlight .eml in the list.
  • Click Change program&ldots;.
  • Select Windows Mail.
    • If Windows Mail is not in the Recommended Programs list, click Browse, type "winmail.exe" under File name: and click Open.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Close.

As an alternative:

  • Select Tools | Options... from the menu in Windows Mail.
  • Make sure you're on the General tab.
  • Click Make Default under This application is NOT the default Mail handler.
    • Note that selecting this will also make Windows Mail your default program for composing emails, for example. Do use the method above if you solely want to associate .eml files with Windows Mail.

    Associate .EML Files and Attachments with Outlook Express

    To make sure .eml files and attachments open in Outlook Express:

    • Select Run... from the Start menu.
    • Type "msimn /reg" under Open.
    • Click OK.