Windows indexer changes modification dates of .eml files

Since I have just reinstalled my Vista, I check whether my bugfixes are still in place; I copy here some info I did put on another blog:


I have not used Vista, but encountered this problem with Windows 7 RC, and I have been unable to use W7 because it messed up my .EML archive.  I thought this was related to Windows Live Mail, as the problem did not exist when I uninstalled WLM.

However, while investigating this further, I discovered the following:

1. The problem with .EML date stamp exists out of the box with a fresh install of Windows 7, without installing any applications, and in particular without installing WLM.

2. The problem continues to exist when WLM was installed.

3. The problem stops when WLM is uninstalled.

Comparisons of the registries for these three situations revealed that in (1) and (2), a .eml entry exists under


This .eml entry is gone once WLM is uninstalled.

After reinstalling WLM, this key entry reappears, and the date stamp problem starts again.  However, deleting this key entry and rebooting causes the date stamp problem to stop.  Adding back the registry key makes the problem start up again.

The PropertyHandlers key seems to be related to search, but I haven’t noticed any problem resulting from its deletion, admittedly with limited experience.

This workaround may have solved the problem in Windows 7 RC, at least so far.  Perhaps this also applies to Vista.


Also, I may not be using the registry terminology accurately– e.g., what are considered “keys” and which are not “keys”.  I am referring to simply the .eml branch under

in the Windows 7 registry.
R Sposto


I still have this problem on Vista ultimate, newest updates. To make sure I understand the information in this thread:

1) the .eml files change to the present date when they are indexed by the search indexer; this is, a few seconds after creation. Thus, backup/restore/sync will not work properly, but indexing.

2) if you delete that mentioned registry key, then the indexing of .eml files no longer works, i.e. you cannot find them in a full-text search. However, backup works now.

3) it is unknown whether the other solution, proposed by alecamiga, to link .eml to thunderbird and write lock the files, does the same or works better.

I have some 10000 .eml from 20 years, and I need search indexing and automatic backup. Maybe I have to switch to linux.


Hello Peter

I am on Windows 7 Professional 32, and I simply delete the registry key, which solves the changing date stamp problem.  The .eml files still are indexed, with the CLSID_WLMCMimeFilter, and I can find them by name or by content.  I don’t remember, though, whether I had to go into indexing advanced options and reestablish this filter for .eml file. I don’t think so, but perhaps check if .eml appear in the files types being indexed.



Thank you! I deleted the key, and the MIME filter for .eml indexing was still in place. Full text is still found in the e-mails, as far as i can say so far. Sorry for the late response, I lived for half a year without complete backup.

And, by the way, I have to develop a shell script to restore the modification date of my 10,000 e-mails. Thank you, microsoft, for this feature.

Peter Steier


Now the key is still there. When I try to delete it in regedit, there is an error message, and I cannot delete it. However, a few reboots later with switched of UAC I can delete all entries and leae only the empty “folder”.

Microsoft seems to consider backups and search indexes unnecessary. Probably all their customers are doddlers playing only computer games, but doing no productive work.

word press advises me to add the following words to increase my site traffic: technet microsoft, date stamp, software microsoft, registry key, and machine software. Actually, I need no traffic, as long as I can look up my own pages later.


One Response to “Windows indexer changes modification dates of .eml files”

  1. stiip Says:

    Saw accidentally that the problem still consists under Windows 8.1. Thank you for your hint, I already suspected a trojan or a virus, but my AV couldn’t find anything.

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