Sometimes folk meant the stock one and sometimes something else.
http://www.oehelp.com/WMUtil/Default.aspx and the picture there shows the message store is in the user's home folder under AppData. You would copy that to the restored machine.
No one would re-use that hard drive until recovery is complete!
Your post may have omitted other details such as the new laptop that is not running Vista.
A friend had a 4 year old laptop running Vista and using Windows Mail. The laptop got damaged during a storm but fortunately the hard drive was spared. She bought a new laptop and was able to copy her documents, etc. from the old hard drive to the new laptop.
The problem now is with the Windows Mail data (messages, folders, contacts). Since we can't boot up with the old hard drive, is there any way to transfer the Windows Mail data without being able to use it's export capabilities?