How to Enable Preview of .eml (Email Message) Files in Explorer

Many users of Windows Mail (Windows Vista) or Windows Live Mail (part of Windows Live Essentials) used to backup individual emails and save them as .EML files. Since Windows Live Mail has been discontinued, users are forced to use third-party mailers or even buy Microsoft’s own produce, Microsoft Outlook. However, the preview pane in File Explorer shows “No preview available” when a .EML file is selected.

.eml file no preview available

This article tells you how to preview .EML files in File Explorer Preview pane, in Windows 7 through Windows 10.

Option 1: Enable .EML Preview Using Preview Handler Association Editor

  1. Download Preview Handler Association Editor, unzip and run the program PreviewHandlerEditor.exe.
  2. In the drop-down box, select “Microsoft Windows Mail Mime Preview Handler“. Note that there are two of those entries there. You can select either of them.
    preview handler association editor - windows mail mime handler
  3. Uncheck the Only show classes associated with this handler setting.
  4. Scroll down and locate .eml file type entry from the list.
    preview handler association editor - .eml file type
  5. Enable the checkbox for .eml file type.
  6. Close Preview Handler Association Editor.

Option 2: Enable .EML Preview Using the Registry Editor

Using Preview Handler Association Editor or PreviewConfig (which I wrote during Windows Vista days) can be the easiest option for most users. However, if you don’t want to use 3rd party tools, and need to deploy the setting across your network, here is a direct registry setting you need:

  1. Right-click Start, click Run.
  2. Type regedit.exe and click OK. This starts the Registry Editor.
  3. Go to the following registry branch:
  4. With the .eml key selected, create a subkey named shellex
  5. Under shellex, create another subkey named {8895b1c6-b41f-4c1c-a562-0d564250836f}
  6. With the newly created subkey selected, double-click the (default) value on the right pane and set its data to:
  7. After completing the above steps, make sure that the registry settings looks like this.
    .eml file preview explorer regedit
  8. Exit the Registry Editor.

That’s it! You’ve now added a preview handler for .EML files and will be able to preview the .EML file contents in Explorer.

.eml file preview in file explorer preview pane

Note: To enable the preview pane (if not already enabled) in File Explorer, press Alt + P. The switch acts as a toggle.

Hope the instructions in this article helped you get back .EML preview capability in File Explorer. Also, check out my other post on how to enable File Explorer preview for .PS1 PowerShell script files.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

5 thoughts on “How to Enable Preview of .eml (Email Message) Files in Explorer”

  1. Hi,
    thanks a lot for your article !
    I’ve tried the second method, everything is just in your explanation.. but… no preview 🙁
    I guess I made something wrong but don’t know what….
    Even restarted my computer, in case… still no preview
    have you already heard about some cases where it doesn’t work ?

    anyway, thanks for your article ! 🙂


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