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

Many users of Windows Mail 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.

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 by Stephen Toub of Microsoft.
  2. Unzip and run the program PreviewHandlerEditor.exe.
    File name: PreviewHandlerEditor.exe
    [SHA1] 217e64b9a4d143ecd36216ab4a86be5235b24fd1
    [SHA256] 5008F954130454CC143272E4C527243B25E782168ED4F4C9AFB656B59055915B
  3. 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.
  4. Uncheck the Only show classes associated with this handler setting.
  5. Scroll down and locate .eml file type entry from the list.
  6. Enable the checkbox for .eml file type.
  7. Close Preview Handler Association Editor.

Option 2: Enable .EML Preview Using the Registry Editor

Using Preview Handler Association Editor (More info) 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 the direct registry setting:

  1. Right-click Start, click Run.
  2. Type regedit.exe and click OK. This starts 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.
  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.

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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