Opening eml-files with Outlook

I’ve got several eml-files which I saved over the years with Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail. I’ve now switched to using Outlook. When I double click these messages, they still open with Windows Live Mail.

Can I open these messages with Outlook instead?

It is possible to do this but since support for this in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 was only introduced after their releases, make sure you have the latest updates installed for Outlook before attempting this registry fix. Outlook 2010 holds native support for opening eml-files and also does this by default so no registry fix is needed.

To make the changes for Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 download this zip file. The zip contains 5 files;

  • readme.txt                                      With some additional info before getting started
  • eml-Outlook2003-Win32.reg     For Outlook 2003 on a 32-bit version of Windows
  • eml-Outlook2003-Win64.reg     For Outlook 2003 on a 64-bit version of Windows
  • eml-Outlook2007-Win32.reg     For Outlook 2007 on a 32-bit version of Windows
  • eml-Outlook2007-Win64.reg     For Outlook 2007 on a 64-bit version of Windows

Execute the reg-file that matches your version of Outlook and Windows by double clicking on it. You’ll get a confirmation when it has been successfully added to the registry.

Custom installation paths
The registry keys are based on the default installation path of Outlook. If you for some reason installed it to a different location, then you can modify the path accordingly for the following keys in the reg-file with Notepad or after importing it via Regedit;

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Outlook.File.eml\DefaultIcon
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Outlook.File.eml\shell\Open\command
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Outlook.File.eml\DefaultIcon
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Outlook.File.eml\shell\Open\command

Note 1: For importing this registry file you’ll need to have Administrator rights on the computer.

Note 2: You can easily save the opened eml-message to a folder within Outlook by using the “Move To Folder” command (CTRL+SHIFT+V).

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