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Where does Windows Live Mail store my contacts?

Hi, Leo. Where does Windows Live Mail, under Windows 7, store my contact
details? I’d like to be able to back up those details.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #11
, I locate the directory where the contacts and email are
stored, but then suggest another approach to keeping them backed up.

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How to find the contact storage folder

So, I have two answers for you.

First, I’ll actually answer your question:

  • They are in
    C:/Users/your-login-name/appdata/local/Microsoft/WindowsLive/contacts.

That folder contains the files that are used by Windows Live contacts to
store your contacts.

Your full backup scheme

Another approach that I would suggest you do instead (and backing up those
files is good – don’t get me wrong – but to back up only those files for your
contacts doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense):

  • Back up those files as part of a larger backup scheme for your entire
    computer.

A way to save the contact list

If you’re just wanting to save your contact information, what I would suggest
you do instead is in Windows Live Mail, when you’re looking at your contacts,
use the export function and export them as a CSV file. Comma Separated Values
is what CSV stands for.

The reason I suggest that is because that is a generic text file format
which can typically be read by other contact management programs.

In other words, the files that you might find in the folder I mentioned
(Windows Live contacts) will work only with Windows Live contacts. Quite
possibly, they will only work if you put those back in exactly the right
place.

CSV is a common data form

On the other hand, a CSV file (containing all of the contact data) is
something that you could use pretty much anywhere.

In fact, since it’s a CSV file, you can read it in a program such as Excel or
some other spreadsheet program, such as Open Office Calc.

So, for a more generic way to save your contacts, I strongly recommend the
export model rather than try to find the specific data files. Windows Live
contacts might be kept in an encoded binary format that really wouldn’t be very
useful for you to look at directly.

Back to – Answercast #11

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