I was finally able to sync WLM between my WinXP desktop and my Win7 laptop, in a workaround fashion. I took a totally different approach. Playing around with the ESE database files between the 2 different versions, simply wasn't going to work. Instead, I found that installing Windows Virtual PC, XP Mode did work and was much simpler than dual boot.
The process ended up being just 3 steps:
1. Install Windows Virtual PC, XP Mode
2. Install Windows Live Mail within Windows Virtual PC, XP Mode
3. Install SyncBack within Windows Virtual PC, XP Mode
Windows Virtual PC does have 2 prerequisites:
1. Your hardware (CPU) must support Virtualization and it must be enabled in the BIOS
2. Windows Virtual PC is only supported on Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate
You can read about and download Virtual PC here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx
Scroll down this webpage and watch the first 3 Support Videos. I found them very helpful in understanding how Virtual PC installs and works: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/default.aspx
From the download page, select your OS and language. This will bring you to a page where you download 3 files. For my Win7 Pro x64 system, they were:
Follow the instructions exactly, as these files must be installed in a specific sequence. Also, the first file is HUGE - nearly 500MB, so depending on your internet connection speed, the download could take a while. The first time I downloaded it on my 30MB download Verizon FiOS internet connection, I found the file was corrupt when I tried to execute it and I had to download it a second time, which then worked.
After installing the Virtual PC, I started it, which looks pretty much like a new, mostly blank WinXP desktop. From there, it operates just like WinXP Pro SP3.
These next steps were all done from within the WinXP virtual desktop, not Windows 7.
I started Internet Explorer (it installed with version 6 which I later updated to version and downloaded Windows Live Essentials from this webpage: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials?os=other
When prompted, I deselected all the other Essentials programs except Live Mail (the complete Live Essentials is already installed under Windows 7). Live Mail was now installed "in" WinXP on my Win7 laptop which uses the earlier version of compatible ESE database files.
In order to sync the WLM files between the desktop and laptop, I then installed SyncBack (freeware version) "in" WinXP. The installation of SyncBack that I already had under Win7 is not able to "see" the folders & files within the WinXP Virtual PC.
I created the necssary SyncBack Profiles for WLM, copied over all the current WLM files from the desktop and tested it. IT WORKED! Including the step which blew up on me before - syncing back from the Win7 laptop to the WinXP desktop. The older version of ESE on WinXP could not read the database files created by the new version on Win7 and the whole email database would end up corrupted and unrecoverable.
I was even able to pin a shortcut for WLM (the WinXP virtual version) to the Win7 Taskbar. This way, WLM (the WinXP virtual version) starts seamlessly directly from the Win7 desktop - something my non-techie wife will appreciate when we are traveling and she want to use email. She doesn't need, or care to know that WLM is running within Windows Virtual PC. She just wants to get or send her email and still have it when we get back home on "her" desktop, the way we used to do with OE.
It may seem involved, but it was really quite simple. Once I had the files downloaded, it probably only took about 45 minutes to install the 3 Virtual PC files, Windows Live Mail and SyncBack. The rest of the time was spent building the SyncBack Profiles and initially copying all the WLM related files from the desktop to the laptop. I have a lot of emails.
If you decide to try it, let us know how you make out or if any problems arise.
EDIT: After setting this up and getting it working, I read about VMWare as an alternative to the Microsoft XP Mode. I haven't tried it yet, but I found a pretty good tutorial here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/10911/run-xp-mode-on-windows-7-machines-without-hardware-virtualization/
I Had This Working... Until Windows 7
My primary PC is a WinXP desktop. My traveling PC was an old WinXP ThinkPad laptop. When at home, I pull down email with the desktop, never the laptop. When traveling, I pull down email from the laptop and the desktop at home is powered down not being used. When my email client was Outlook Express, I was able to use SyncBack (the free version) to 'sync' my message store folders/files (.dbx) and my Windows Address Book folder/files (.wab) between the 2 PCs. Since only one was in use at a time, I didn't have the problem of OE ever getting out of sync. All of my new, deleted, moved & sent sent emails were kept straight between the 2 PCs. I used an external USB HDD along with SyncBack (SB) to sync between the PCs which also gave me a backup copy, just in case. While not absolutely necessary, I made the SyncBack Profiles a little easier to construct, by making one edit in the Registry - I made the message store folder name (under Identities) on the laptop the same as it was on the desktop.
Back at the beginning of this year, I migrated from OE6 to WLM on both WinXP PCs. I knew that OE6 was going away, sooner or later I would be getting a PC with Win7 (I have never owned a PC with Vista) and that I should probably switch to WLM now and get used to it. I used the import/export functions and got all my emails and contacts migrated over without a problem, except for a few mistakes it made importing the Windows Address Book which I was able to quickly fix manually. But, it got the messages imported correctly.
Next, I set about setting up my 'sync' Profiles in SyncBack (SB) to do the same thing with WLM that I had been doing with OE6. After installing WLM, I found that 3 new folders had been added:
C:\Documents and Settings\UserID\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live
C:\Documents and Settings\UserID\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts
C:\Documents and Settings\UserID\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
Since I only installed WLM and no other Windows Live component, the 1st folder has remained empty except for one sub-folder which is also empty. I don't know what it is used for, but I included it, just in case. The other 2 folders are self-explanatory by their name and are filled with sub-folders and files. I created one set of SB backup Profiles to make an exact copy of each folder's contents (sub-folders & files) on the PC (source) on to the external HDD (destination). 'Sync' Profiles won't work correctly, they must be 'backup' Profiles. You don't want to write anything back onto the PC that isn't currently there. So, you copy everything from the PC (source) to the external HDD (destination) and also set the SB Profile to delete any file on the external HDD (destination) that is not on the PC (source). This insures that you get an exact copy of what is on the PC in these 3 folders, no missing files, no extra files. I created 3 corresponding SB Profiles on the laptop when I connected the external HDD to it. This gave me an exact copy on the laptop of whatever was on the desktop. I started WLM on the laptop and it worked perfectly. All my contacts and messages were there correctly and I would leave on my trip. I could now pull down, reply, forward, send or delete messages just like at home with the desktop.
I created 2 more sets of SB Profiles (one on each PC) to move the files/folders in the reverse direction when I got back home to the desktop. Again, it worked perfectly. Back on the desktop, I would have all my original messages with any changes I had made while traveling to either the emails or contacts. I've run this way since about February of this year without a glitch.
Then I bought a new ThinkPad T410 laptop last month with Win7 Pro (x64) and WLM already installed and my whole scheme went down the drain!
All 3 PCs are running the same version of WLM - 14.0.8089.0726. On the laptop with Win7, WLM has built the same 3 folders, but of course, the paths are different:
C:\Users\UserID\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts
C:\Users\UserID\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
After installing SB on the new laptop, I constructed the same type of SB Profiles as I did for the WinXP laptop. I shut down WLM on the desktop and ran its usual 3 SB Profiles to the external HDD. I connected the HDD to the new laptop and ran the 3 SB Profiles I had just made and started WLM. It came right up with no problem and all my emails were in their proper folders, just as they were on the WinXP desktop. All the Contacts were there. I played around for a little bit, opening messages, deleting messages creating a new message but ended up deleting it on purpose. I did most things except allow my 5 email accounts to connect over the internet to pull down new messages. I was taking baby steps.
At this point I shut down WLM and ran the 3 SB Profiles to the HDD, moved the HDD to the WinXP desktop and ran those 3 SB Profiles. I started WLM and began getting the typical error messages about recovering from corrupt files. It ended up that all my Contacts were gone and several of my email messages were scrambled/missing. Luckily, I had another current backup and was able to restore the original folders/files on the desktop so I suffered no permanant loss.
WLM seems to either be doing something different with the files in those 3 main folders when running on Win7 that is not backward compatible to WinXP, or there is a fundamental difference between a 64-bit system and a 32-bit system as far as how WLM operates.
Has anyone else been able to do this or have any ideas how to make it work?
Thanks for any help,