How to Fix: Can't Uninstall or Reinstall Windows Live Mail / Essentials

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Infopackets Reader 'Philip' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Recently, I uninstalled Windows Essentials, not realizing it contained Windows Live Mail. I therefore thought I had completely lost my emails and address book, but when I did a search on my hard drive with the program called 'everything', I found some data files in 'C:\Users\phil\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail' folder. So, I tried to download Windows Essentials from Microsoft's website, thinking I would be able to access my Windows Live Mail emails once again; however, I received a message stating that Windows Live Essentials has already been installed - yet, it has not. I have tried again and again to install Windows Live Essentials, but it seems to only go part way through and then quits, with a message asking me if the program installed properly. The only programs I have access to via the Start Menu are Windows Live Messenger and Writer, but even those don't work. I have searched Google on how to repair Windows Live Essentials, but the screen that is supposed to ask me to do a repair doesn't appear when I launch the installer file. Any ideas why I can't reinstall Windows Live Essentials? "

My response:

I was not familiar with this problem so I contacted Philip and asked if he'd like me to connect to his computer to review and discuss the situation in detail. He agreed to meet me online, and sure enough, Windows Live Essentials was not installing properly. Even though it said it was installed, there was no executable for Windows Live Mail anywhere to be found on the system.

I then tried to uninstall Windows Live Essentials through the Control Panel (via Programs and Features) in hopes that it would clear out a corrupt installation, but there was no Windows Live Essentials icon to be found in the list of installed programs. I then searched Google on how to uninstall Windows Live Essentials via the command line, and came across a page which mentioned the executable responsible for the uninstall procedure (wlarp.exe); however, this program was also missing from the system. I was able to find and download wlarp.exe from Microsoft's servers and placed the download into c:\temp.

I then executed the following on the command line: "wlarp.exe /cleanup:all /q", which ran the uninstall procedure. Once that was finished, I downloaded the Windows Live Installer file and ran it; this time it presented a screen where I could pick and choose which Windows Live Essentials I wanted installed on the system, including Windows Live mail. I selected everything and clicked Next. This time it took significantly longer to install, so I knew it was working. When the installation finished, I clicked Start, and then typed in "mail" and Windows Live mail showed up in the Start menu list. I launched the program and Philip had instant access to all his Windows Live emails that he though he lost. He was very thankful!

How to Fix: Can't Uninstall or Reinstall Windows Live Mail / Essentials

In summary, here are the steps I used to fix a broken Windows Live Mail installation and get it working again:

  1. Click Start and go to My Computer / This PC, then double click the C drive to view its contents. Right click over top of an empty area, then select New -> folder from the dialogue menu. Type in "temp" (no quotes) as the folder name and click OK. If you get an error message that "temp" already exists, simply cancel the operation.
  2. Visit the link to download wlarp from OneDrive (you may need an MS Live Account to download this file); save the file to c:\temp.
  3. Now it's time to open an administrative command prompt. Click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for CMD.EXE or Command Prompt to appear in the list, then right click it and select Run as Administrator. Now, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    wlarp.exe /cleanup:all /q
    echo this is a dummy line
  4. Right click over top of the highlighted text above, and select Copy from the dialogue menu. Then, go to the Administrative Command Prompt window you opened up in Step #3, and right click in the middle of the window and select Paste from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #3 should now be output into the command prompt, and you should see a "Windows Live Essentials" window appear with a green progress indicator. Once that progress indicator reaches the end, Windows Live Essentials should be uninstalled from your machine.
  5. Now you're ready to install Windows Live Essentials again. Go to Microsoft's web page and download the latest version of Windows Live Essentials, then execute the installer. It should present you with a page where you can choose which parts of Windows Live Essentials you want installed on the machine, then click Next and have the program(s) installed.

Everything should now work.

Additional 1-on-1 Help: From Dennis

If this is over your head or if you are still having problems with Windows Live Essentials, you can contact me for remote desktop assistance. Simply contact me and we'll set up a time to meet and discuss your problem online.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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