Windows 7 Windows Live Mail .EML file date stamp


New Member
May 12, 2009
I have just installed W7 RC and have encountered the following problem with (or feature of) Windows Live Mail. Sorry for the long post that I need to explain this.

My production setup is XP using Outlook Express as an IMAP client. With OE, I can drag email .EML files to Explorer folders, and these files retain the send/receive date of the email as the modify date stamp. I do this to archive emails, and to store relevant emails to explorer folders for individual projects. If I open the .EML file by double clicking in explorer, the modify date stamp is unaffected. Hence I have no problem syncing these files, or with knowing from the modify date stamp when the email was sent/received.

In W7 RC with Windows Live Mail, when dragging the email to an Explorer folder, the modify date stamp of the .EML file is the current system date/time rather than the send/receive date. Furthermore, simply the act of selecting (highlighting) a .EML file in Explorer (without opening it) will re-datestamp the file. (e.g., if I inadvertently highlight a .EML file from 5/1/2006, it will be changed to a file modified today, and hence will be flagged for backup etc.).

This behavior I think is definitely related to Windows Live Mail, because if I uninstall WLM the behavior stop, and if, instead of WLM, I use Thunderbird, which also uses the .EML format, I can select or open .EML files in explorer without affecting the date stamp. (I can't use Thunderbird, however, because it doesn't support drag and drop of .EML files at all).

Can this feature/behavior of WLM in W7 be turned off, as it is the only thing that is preventing me from switching to W7. I have never used Vista, and I wonder if this behavior also exists in Vista with WLM.

Thanks for any feedback

It seems like you are facing an issue with Windows Live Mail in Windows 7 RC where the modify date stamp of .EML files is being updated to the current system date/time when dragged to an Explorer folder or even when simply selected (highlighted) in Explorer.

This behavior is indeed related to Windows Live Mail and how it handles the .EML files. Unfortunately, there isn't a direct switch or setting within Windows Live Mail to change this behavior. However, there are a couple of workarounds you can try to address this issue:

1. Use a Third-Party Tool:
- You can use a third-party tool that specializes in managing email files and preserving their original metadata. Some tools are designed to work with .EML files specifically and may offer options to maintain original date stamps.

2. Batch Modification:
- You can consider using a batch modification tool that allows you to change the file modification dates in bulk. This way, after moving the .EML files to an Explorer folder, you can apply a script or tool to reset the dates to their original values based on the email send/receive dates.

Regarding whether this behavior exists in Vista with Windows Live Mail, it's likely that a similar issue might occur in Vista due to the similarities in the way Windows Live Mail handles file metadata. However, without direct testing or confirmation, it's hard to say for certain.

If these workarounds do not suit your needs, you may want to explore alternative email clients that better suit your workflow and do not alter the file metadata in this manner. Thunderbird, as you mentioned, is one such option, although it lacks the drag-and-drop functionality you require for .EML files.

Feel free to try the suggested workarounds and see if they help alleviate the issue you are experiencing with Windows Live Mail in Windows 7 RC.