Sadly we have to be very clear about "Windows Mail"
Sometimes folk meant the stock one and sometimes something else.
http://www.oehelp.com/WMUtil/Default.aspx and the picture there shows the message store is in the user's home folder under AppData. You would copy that to the restored machine.
No one would re-use that hard drive until recovery is complete!
Your post may have omitted other details such as the new laptop that is not running Vista.