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Mail is suddenly doing really weird things

765 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 9, 2012 3:18 PM by mrbarth RSS
mrbarth Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 30, 2012 4:29 PM

Hi, I am starting to have my MAIL program acting very strange.  For one thing, it keeps shutting down for no reason. Either in the process of reading or responding to an email, just sitting idle, or in the process of downloading new mail.  I have read on forums about deleting all 3rd party plug ins (I didn't have any), deleting "things to do" in iCal (again, I lead a boring life so nothing there), relaunching (about a dozen times a day now) and just about everything else suggested short of a complete reset which I am afraid to do as I can't lose any of the emails I have in the storage. I currenty have about 20GB of free space still (and have for years). I have run Onyx and ran permission fixes gallore.  It still shuts down for no apparent reason.


Now here are some other things it is doing since this started about a month ago.  When I close out the program from the tool bar (Quit Mail), the window closes out but the MAIL remains in the tool bar with a greyed out "QUIT MAIL".  I can not open a new window as long as this is in this way.  I have to force quit mail to get it to relaunch.


I am also getting a lot, and I mean a lot (about 20+ per day) of my old emails from the past three years popping up in various folders that they don't belong in and indicating that they are "unread" ie: bold lettering. When I say various, I mean they are showing up in folders that have nothing to do with the subject or the client. They are suddenly appearing in other client or project's correspondence.


So what do I do or should I do.  I have kept these emails in their folders as I do refer back to certain client subjects that are sometimes up to three years ago. One folder is just of emails from my son who passed away in 2011. His emails suddenly show up as new mail in various folders as well. I know tomorrow is Halloween, but this is a bit too spooky (or technical) for me to figure out.


Any one have any suggestions on what could be going on?  and suggestions to fix it?  Would a complete reset of MAIL erase all my folders and emails? I could probably loose some of my old client/project emails, but I do not want to lose my son's last correspondences to me.





Macbook, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,675 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2012 5:19 PM (in response to mrbarth)

    Hi Lew,


    Not certain, but this can fix myriad Mail problems...


    Safe Boot from the HD, (holding Shift key down at bootup),  it will try to repair your Disk Directory while the spinning radian is happening, so let it go, run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, then move this folder & file to the Desktop.


    Move this Folder to the Desktop...




    Move this file to the Desktop...


    /Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail/Envelope Index




    If that doesn't do it and you can afford to redo all your Rules, try these & reboot...






    Note, in 10.5 & up /Users/YourUserName/Library/Caches/Mail/ may or may not exist.


    If it continues to happen...


    Open Console in Utilities & see if there are any clues or repeating messages when this happens.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4 (1,845 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2012 5:30 AM (in response to mrbarth)

    Can you confirm that you are using OS X 10.5.6 as your post says?


    What version of Mail are you using?


    Do you use POP or IMAP?


    Do you regularly backup to an external disk? If not you should be aware that hard disks can fail at any time without warning and probably with the loss of all data. A backup now of you home folder and any other data would be good.


    One problem is that forced quits can occasionally do damage so your repeated forced quits may require more drastic action if BDAqua's advice fails to resolve your Mail issues.


    You could consider using SeaMonkey as your email client until your Mail issues are resolved.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,300 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 4:00 AM (in response to mrbarth)

    Yes, Mail 3.6 is the correct version for Leopard, but the final version of Leopard is 10.5.8.


    Any reason you have not updated Leopard?

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,675 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 9:56 AM (in response to mrbarth)

    Repair Permissions afterwords, reboot.


    1058 Combo Update, 10.5.8...


  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4 (1,845 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 3:45 PM (in response to mrbarth)

    It is not clear to me why Software Update has not updated your Mac to 10.5.8. This needs sorting out.


    I know some people use both POP and IMAP with the same email client but my experience is that this can cause some clients to get confused, particularly if you switch an account from IMAP to POP. A while ago I tested this with Thunderbird and ended up with a preference file much bigger than it should have been. Clients do not know how to remove redundant preferences and they remain in the file indefinitely. In my opinion it is better to use one or the other but not both.


    You should be able to import all historic emails into another client without altering Mail. The only disadvantage is that 2 copies of all emails will take more disk space.


    If I were in your position I would be tempted to backup the whole internal disk to an external disk with Carbon Copy Cloner, erase the internal disk and reinstall the OS.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4 (1,845 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2012 6:44 AM (in response to mrbarth)

    Backup the whole internal disk to an external disk with Carbon Copy Cloner, erase the internal disk and reinstall the OS.


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