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Mail index breaks at login after portable home sync

1556 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Nov 27, 2012 12:14 PM by swissbaldo RSS
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koenraadfromleuven Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 6, 2011 7:45 AM

I have an iMac and a MBP that are synced as portable home directories. Since I upgraded to Lion, when I switch machines (after syncing, of course), Mail always indicates that the index is broken and needs to be repaired. A process that takes 15 minutes at least.


I'm a bit at a loss because the portable home sync runs without errors...


Thanks for helping out.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,430 points)

    Are both Macs running Lion?  I associate Portable Home Directories with a OSX Server -- is one involved here?  If so, what version of OSX is it running?



  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,430 points)



    Sorry to not be able to test with a server, but I must note that the index file structure has changed -- in Mail 5.0, there are three files related to the Envelope Index, while in earlier versions of Mail only one.  I suspect the server is not able to maintain the three files that Mail 5.0 uses, and to allow their transfer.


    The three files are likely aged versions, but I have not confirmed.  The three file structure now applies to the MessageUidsAlreadyDownloaded file needed for POP accounts.  Do you have POP?



  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,430 points)

    Having only those type of accounts, syncing should not even be needed.  IMAP and Exchange accounts should always be in sync, without PHD.


    Are there things outside of Mail that you are syncing?  The Address Book, I suppose?



  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,430 points)

    Will have the ponder aspects of Mail Downloads, but with IMAP (and exchange) accounts, the mailboxes reside on the server for each.  Any copy in the Mail folder is meant to only be temporary.  I am not suprised they are downloaded to each machine as the sync of a temporary file seems either reduncant, or not relevant.



  • ikonoklast Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Ernie (Koenraad here again)


    To the best of my knowledge, the IMAP storage files are not just temporary. I guess one could call them semi-permanent, since they are indeed being refreshed off the server when a user connects. However, these files allow offline storage of mail messages, and these files are not being rebuilt every time one logs in. In my case, that would result in gigabytes of mail being transferred, which was never the case.


    Of course, now, I am stuck with downloading said gigabytes of mail, and I have lost my capability of reading mail offline, as I understand it (I will have to check that still but from what's transpiring, it seems obvious).

  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,430 points)

    To read Offline requires that the messages and/or their attachments all be downloaded -- you are certainly correct.  When you reconnect, the files in the mailbox folder, with such information as deletions, Read status, replies and forwards will get applied to the server.


    But without the server sync in the mix, that should not require a redownloading with each reconnect of anything except changes and new messages.



  • Omniver Calculating status...

    Had the same issue (see


    The location of the Index (which does not need to be synced and is excluded by default in Server) changed in Lion mail.  You need to update the exclusions with the new location.  Sadly, Apple forgot to do this with Lion Server as well, they still reflect the old Snow Leopard locations which was my problem.


    In Worgroup Manager in mobility settings for the clients, under "Preference Sync" change (if you're running all Lion clients) or add the two Mail related items in the "Skip items..." section to the following:


    Partial Path: ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/AvailableFeeds

    Partial Path: ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Envelope Index


    (note the Partial Path)

  • paquilina Calculating status...

    I had the same problem with Mail syncing and was able to exclude the files as noted. now opens on each computer without re-indexing and the headers are listed but the emails themselves cannot be located by the program.  If you look in the mailbox folders the messages are contained in a folder with a numeric, randomly generated code.  When mail rebuilds the index these folders are generated and are different on each machine.  In SL the messages were contained in a folder entitled Messages not in a folder with a randomly generated number.  Syncing will never work unless both are able to find the messages.  Is there a file that contains the locations of the messages and a pointer to these "code folders"?  I don't know why Apple changed the mailbox structure.  Both need to know these locations and they have to be the same for syncing to work.

  • paquilina Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried your solution but Workgroup Manager will not allow the "/" character in a "Starts with" match.  it will not allow ~/Library/Mail/V2.  It will not save this setting.


    How did you get a path to be accepted with a "Starts with" match criteria?

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