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How to recover from clicking the deadly "Rebuild" in Mail?

2275 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Apr 11, 2013 10:12 AM by BDAqua RSS
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JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 8, 2013 11:26 AM

(Odd that the first thing I see here is "Ask a Question" when, really, it means provide a title, or something. You can't ask a complete question -- it's a "nudger" place, I guess, to see if someone else has asked something similar. Well, I finally found the post-something link.)


I was fiddling with Mail folders today when I brainlessly clicked "Rebuild" when I was displaying my Inbox. Why, oh why? ...But, also, why did they put such an INSANE button right there? Without warnings? ...When I next glanced at my Inbox the most recent several hundred emails had vanished. ...Special! What a handy feature is that Rebuild!


How to recover? I googled the subject and found the advice to turn off Mail then back-up the Mail folder and file (approx filename) then drag them out of the Library to the Desktop and restart Mail. Well, I did PART of that. I left the Mail folder where it was since on investigation it SEEMED like maybe my Inbox mail was still there. I dragged out the .plist file then restarted Mail.


And now an interesting thing is happening: Mail is downloading about 2500 emails from somewhere (my server? the Mail Inbox?) -- over and over again. 3 times so far.


Previously it seems like no email subjectlines displayed in the Inbox as it was refilling but now some appear so maybe something is different.


Obviously I don't really understand Mail or my Server or Rebuild. I've only used Macs for 30 years. Not much to go on, I know. I just want my Mail.


I have a PowerBook G4 PowerPC 10.5.8.


UPDATE: It looks like the 4th time was the charm! My emails are back now! I guess a future reader can use my question as a sort of how-to if they happen to find this before they find the article I encountered. Actually, I incl a link to it:

PowerBook, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,685 points)

    Hi Jeff, sorry I missed the other query... Apple keeps us busy with changes like a Cat trying to cover up you know what on a Marble Floor!


    I don't think the problem id Rebuild per se...


    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.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,685 points)

    I've never tried renumbering, interesting idea, if you try it, try just one, & make certain Mail isn't running when you do it.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,685 points)

    Yeah sounds like an idea.


    On Mail...


    First Quit Mail, then I'd backup these two Mail folders, by right clicking on them in the Finder, then choose Archive/Compress.




    Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail Downloads


    (Could be a different folder here if you chose such in Mail Prefs)


    Right click on that Mail folder, choose archive, you'll get everything in the folder, and the folder itself in a file called, move it to a safe place, same for the Mail Downloads folder... only the plist is separate.




    Delete that file & start Mail & set it up.

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