Windows Live Mail allows for creating categories of contacts, which can then be used as distribution lists for group email. The 'send to a category' function is broken in Windows Live Mail 2012, but this article describes a workaround.
Keywords: category, 'contact group', 'group email', 'contact folder', 'distribution list'
After creating a category and adding some contacts to it, it should be possible to address a message to the category and expect it to be sent to all of the members of the category. This works as designed in Windows Live Mail 2009
and 2011, but it is unreliable in Windows Live Mail 2012. The message may be sent to all of the members, but in many cases it will only be sent to some of them or indeed to none at all. The procedure described here has proved to be a reliable workaround. It's
wise to ensure that the category is complete before using it to address a message.
The screenshots show windows with the ribbon hidden and reduced in size to emphasize the elements that matter.
- In the message compose window, click the To... button:
A dialogue headed Send an Email opens:
- Select a category and then one of the To->, Cc-> or Bcc-> buttons; the category name will be displayed in the corresponding field:
- Click on the "+" beside the category name:
All the names in the category should be displayed in the entry field:
- Click OK:
The dialogue will close, returning focus to the message compose window with a fully-populated address list in the appropriate field.
The key element in this process appears to be the round-trip through the Send an email dialogue.
The reason why categories sometimes appear to be incomplete has not been identified, but one user has suggested that calling the up contacts list by simply reading or starting a new message while the contacts list is still loading on start-up may cause the program to use an incompletely-cached contacts list. Here's a suggestion that may avoid the problem:
Using this shortcut will launch the program with the contacts window active. Once the list has loaded fully and you're satisfied that it's complete, it should be safe to switch to the mail window (Ctrl-1) and start work.
Another refinement which might explain why only some users have this problem in Windows Live Mail 2012:
This will ensure that there's no conflict between any sign-in to Windows Live Contacts and to the mail server using the same credentials. Again, if the explanation given above is the true one, it should be safe to poll for new messages
(press F5 or click Send/Receive) after switching to the mail window (Ctrl-1) once the contacts list is completely loaded.
Create a template for mail messages - an alternative method of preparing group email
The workaround described above has been posted in the forums by several different users, none of whom has been identified as the first to suggest it.
Thanks to them all.