To remove Windows Live Mail 2012 from your computer (the latest version), you do NOT need to uninstall the entire Windows Essentials suite: the uninstaller will let you pick which programs to delete. All other (unselected) applications will remain on your PC, unaffected. In this tutorial, we'll also show you an easy way to fix common problems, which may save you the trouble of completely uninstalling Windows Live Mail or Windows Essentials, if your reason for uninstalling was a brute-force troubleshooting method! You can uninstall and reinstall, or try that possibly-time-saving repair option first :)
Note: if you have Windows Live Mail 2011 (the old version, and the only one that will run on Windows XP), the process will be similar. For more info, check out our "Windows Live Mail for XP Tutorial" (hosted at Free Email Tutorials).
Open the start menu, and type "Uninstall" in the search field; then, click on the first link displayed under Control Panel, labeled "Uninstall a program". (Careful: depending on the number of apps installed, Windows may keep adding new results under "Programs", which may lead you to click on the wrong uninstaller!) The correct uninstall link in the results will open a listing of all applications currently installed on your computer, inside a Control Panel window.
In Windows 8, type "
control panel" on the start screen, and search for "
uninstall" in the search box in the top right corner of the window. In Windows 7, Windows 10, and Vista, you can do that straight from the start menu, no need to open the Control Panel first.
They are normally sorted by name, which makes them easy to find; if that's not the case, click on the "Name" column to sort them alphabetically.
Tip: if you're just trying to remove Windows Live Mail as default program, no need to uninstall it. Just change the default mail handler. Here are tutorials that show you how to do just that: change default programs in Windows Vista; set Microsoft Outlook as default email in Windows 7; or set Mozilla Thunderbird as default email program in Windows 7. These are just example, but the process is the same for any email program recognized as such by the operating system.
If you have the latest version, find the "Windows Essentials 2012" entry in the list. If you still have the old version, this would read "Windows Live Essentials 2011". Right-click on the program name and choose "Uninstall/Change" from the context menu. Enter an administrator's password to proceed. If you are using Windows logged in as an admin user (not a good idea), click on the "Yes" or "Confirm" button to continue:
The "Uninstall or repair Windows Essentials programs" popup will give you two choices: either repair Windows Live Mail and other apps in the suite (something we used in our "Error 0x80041161" tutorial - when the program can't even start!) In our case, we'll click on the "Remove one or more Windows Essentials programs" button instead:
Important: if you're uninstalling Windows Live Mail to troubleshoot a problem, don't proceed until you've tried the "Repair all Windows Essentials programs" function. In many cases, you'll find that it fixes your issue - and spares you from having to reinstall everything afterwards! If you don't see that button, it may be that you are running an older version of the Windows Live suite (what version of Windows Live Mail do I have?)
The next screen displays icons for each Windows Live program currently installed on your PC. (When you run the Windows Essentials installer, you get to pick which app will be installed.) To completely remove Windows Live Mail from your computer, check its checkbox. And check the ones next to each other application you want permanently uninstalled. Double-check your selection, and click on the "Uninstall" button.
Within minutes, the uninstaller will have completed: you'll get a confirmation screen listing the successfully uninstalled apps. If prompted to restart your computer, do so.
When Windows restarts, you'll need to pick a new default email program, in case Windows Live Mail was the default. This is mostly useful when clicking an email link on a web page or inside a Microsoft Office document. is posted on a web page, allowing the visitor to contact the site owner directly instead of filling out the contact form. (This becomes rare, since any publicly listed email address will be spammed to death :)
Tip: click this email link to check that your default email program is correctly set up. A new mail compose window should open, pre-filled with that email address.
To bring Windows Live Mail back onto your PC, please see our "Download Windows Live Mail" tutorial. Depending on when you first installed Windows Essentials, you might end up upgrading your apps in the process. The latest, and current version of the email client is "
Windows Live Mail 2012" - yes, it's been that long since it received a major update! On the other hand, it's such a mature email program that it doesn't feel dated at all, although we wish there were a way to integrate social media (Facebook, Twitter...) somehow into the app. Reinstalling with the latest version (2012) will essentially update your programs.