I found the solution to this problem of blank messages in Windows Mail and want to post it. I wrote about it in another thread on this board, but I want to summarize it with keywords here.

I am running Windows Mail (from Vista) in Windows 7. Anyone doing this knows that Windows Mail (not Windows LIVE Mail) is an updated Outlook Express and the instructions used to be in sevenforums.com (they were removed from there). When I installed Windows Mail I was running Internet Explorer 8 because IE 9 did not work well for me and I had reverted by uninstalling 9 which forced Windows to go fetch 8 on its own and install it when I rebooted.

Windows Mail has worked flawlessly in Windows 7. There is a slight lag when I open a new email form to begin a message but it isn't enough to matter. I think windows may be checking to see if WLM, which is still installed, is default first (it is not default). I have around 16 GB of messages in Windows Mail. Yes it is backed up on an external drive, too. The key is to keep folders to 5,000 or less messages and make new folders to move older messages into. Windows Mail has a different and better file structure than OE did.

I did not update Windows for about a year after installing Windows Mail. Earlier this week I suddenly threw caution to the winds (stupid, I know) and told Windows to update everything. Boom - Windows mail was randomly displaying blank messages.

You could convert the message to plain text and - and then, it was readable. You could View Source and there was the message. So it was not that there was corruption. Something unknown was blocking certain messages from being visible. Even if I hit reply they were invisible... until I told it to change to plain text. I could also do Select All, Copy on the blank message and do Paste onto a blank Word .doc and the message would show up, by the way.

1. Uninstall IE 10 by going to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and clicking View Installed Updates on the left. Find IE 10. Click it and uninstall it. Reboot. It will take a very long time - go get coffee. When Windows comes back, IE 9 will be installed.

2. Go to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and click View Installed Updates on the left. Find this update: KB267038. To use search to find it be sure and include the KB. Now, do the same thing - click and uninstall. reboot. On these reboots don't be impatient - when Windows shows up again give it about 3 to 5 minutes to finish putting all its pieces in place instead of assuming it is ready for you to start messing around.

3. Go to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and follow the same instructions as #1 above, only look for IE 9 instead. And after uninstalling, reboot. Eventually, you will check IE and discover that indeed you are back to IE 8.

At this point, check Windows Mail. No messages should be blank unless there was already some problem with them that had nothing to do with your updates.

There MAY be a way to fix this without uninstalling 10 or 9 but I was not willing to start playing with IE security settings and "zones" for fear a change would not be entirely reversible... the change might be logged into the registry and when I changed back, it might somehow still be noted somewhere. Okay so I don't exactly know how this works - and therefore I was not about to monkey with security and other settings in either of the IEs. And in fact, the problem might not have been a setting. It might have been a later security patch that, with IE 9 or 10 installed, would cause blank messages in Windows Mail. Again, not Windows Live Mail.

IE and Word and Outlook Express/Windows Mail always used to be connected with each other and I guess they still are. And those are the 3 places I'd go looking for settings or options that could affect mail. Note, I am using (patched) Word 2003 with IE8 and Windows Mail on Windows 7 and it works very nicely.

Now before anyone comments about vulnerabilities of an old version of IE, I want to say I keep it for emergencies and testing of one thing or another for balky websites, and because probably Windows Mail needs it, but probably don't open it for 6 months or more at a time. I use Chrome, and when Chrome is being annoying, I use Firefox. So I am not likely to be bothered by going to a malicious website with IE. I don't click strange links either. If for any reason I really need to check something that could be risky, which isn't often, I use a Mac.