Windows 7 - Importing categories using contacts.edb

Asked By Terry99 on 30-Oct-09 08:00 PM
If I have understood the very complex discussion about categories in  WLM
contacs, there is no direct way to import WLM contacts with categories intact.

However one poster mentioned the existence of "contacts.edb", which is where
WLM stores them.

Here is my thought: I am trying to recreate my contact book on a Windows 7
machine, so if I copy the contacts.edb file from my old Vista machine and
over-write contact.edb on the new machine, will I end up with my contacts,
including categories, multiple email addresses and so on?

Or will I end up with a corrupted database etc?

Hope someone cleverer than I can answer the question.


...winston replied on 31-Oct-09 03:07 AM
If following that process, then do not delete or overwrite the current contacts.edb, just rename it to Contacts.edbold and move it
to another folder(spare drive, Documents etc for archiving). If a Live ID you may have to do likewise for the its 'shadow' DB Store
contact.edb file.

It may or may not work..
- you may end up with duplicate categories(one with contacts and one with zero contacts)

If corruption occurs, WLM may or may not inform, thus keep the archived copy handy just in case. As you make changes to the 'new'
contacts database, it might be wise to do periodic backups of the contact.edb, copying to a non WLM location and renaming by date
stamping the file(e.g. contacts091031.edb). If it remains stable...use it, if not you always have your original without categories.

If doing this for a Live ID,the duplicates of the Favorites Category will also most likely be present.
- Note: Favorites is not present in the Default Contacts(when not using  a Live ID to signon to Windows Live in WLM)
Also for a Live ID, yncing with the web may be a problem. The web UI ( may show your old contacts and possibly
override the local upon a sync.

Thus ymmv or you will end up with more issues than just dragging contacts to categories in the original database.

Note: To accomplish any copying, ensure that WLMail and WLMessenger are both completely shut down!

Proceed at your own risk.

ms-mvp mail
Terry99 replied on 01-Nov-09 02:39 AM
Many thanks.
I had in fact thrown caution to the winds (because, in part, I use WLM as a
desktop tool only and never do anything online with it) and tried the
procedure anyway.
And I had also followed your advice by backing up the contacts.edb file. The
only thing I had not done - but have now done - was copy the original file to
another location, just in case.
The process worked brilliantly. All my categories came across, as desired,
without a hitch.
Cheers, Terry
...winston replied on 01-Nov-09 03:55 AM
Glad it worked out for you..and hope it remains stable..

As long as one understand the impact of doing so with and without a Live ID and for insurance purposes saves a backup copy, it is
sometimes worth the apparently proved that...Wtg. Terry!

Fyi..for those reading/lurking..
---the latter(replacing a contact.edb with another when a Live ID is involved can be more problematic as I earlier mentioned
- duplicate categories, duplicate Favorites Category(both protected neither can be deleted), and Contact sync issues with the
Web (e.g. no sync or only new contact entries sync) from WLMail and also Messenger.

ms-mvp mail