12 Replies Latest reply: Oct 21, 2009 6:14 PM by rightbrained
QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Dear Fellow Apple Heads:

Does anyone have any best practices to archive mail so that I can backup an mbox file and remove the archived items from current use?

iMac 24", Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Golden Shoes Level 5 Level 5 (4,015 points)

    There are two ways to do this, but since I don't really use 10.5.x I can't be sure of one of them. In Mail, there should be an option to Archive Mailbox somewhere, but I just don't know because I don't use it. The other way is just to copy the folder of the mailbox you're looking to archive onto your Desktop or wherever you want to save it.

    The drawback is that if you want to open these messages again, you can't do it from Mail; you would have to double-click on each one to open it, and the message name doesn't tell you anything about who it's from or what it's about. There's at least one third-party mail archiving solution on the market, but I don't remember the name offhand.

    The best option is to always have a current, bootable backup of your entire drive so you can restore your Mac to the way it was before the hard drive failed or that unexpected power outage causes a bunch of files to get corrupted or just disappear.
  • kayvee Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I've been checking this out myself. You can back up to an mbox using the Archive Mailbox... command. You can later open up the archive within Mail, or search it like any text file. I'm tried this: made a Smart Folder for all items "received before 1/1/2007" Then I archived it, then deleted the contents. If I do this every year, I can keep no more than 2 years active in Mail, which works for me.

    Mail Steward is the most recommended application for archiving.
  • QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you both for your input. Mail Steward is nice but my email isn't "mission critical" and thus not worth $30+ for the software. I really like the smart folder idea and will implement it. Thanks!
  • QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Uh oh, just found a problem with the Smart Mailbox solution. Once I have the messages in the Smart Mailbox I want to delete them. However, some of the items I'm deleting are in fact my deleted items (trash) because I want to archive my deleted items as well.

    How can I delete the emails listed in the Smart Mailbox without having to empty my entire trash? If I try to select delete I get an endless loop that crashed mail!
  • Golden Shoes Level 5 Level 5 (4,015 points)
    Using a Smart Mailbox is not a solution to archiving email. The items in a Smart Mailbox are merely pointers to the original message, so if you delete the original, the item in the Smart Mailbox is no longer pointing to anything, so you can't read that message again.

    You should use one of the archiving solutions previously suggested, such as Archiving your mailboxes, or MailSteward.
  • QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Golden Shoes:

    You are right, but when I archive the Smart Mailbox is works perfectly. So now that I have them archived I want to delete them. Basically I need to know how to delete the deleted items listed in the Smart Mailbox without having to dump the entire trash.
  • Golden Shoes Level 5 Level 5 (4,015 points)
    You'd need to take those items out of the Trash that you don't want to delete, then empty the Trash with all the things in it that you do want to delete.

    Or, you could go to the Trash folder, select the items you want to delete and press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  • QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    What a pain in the rear to have to do all of that. I hate to say it but Outlook has Apple Mail totally left in the dust on this particular issue. Does anyone else have a solution?
  • Golden Shoes Level 5 Level 5 (4,015 points)
    What a pain in the rear to have to do all of that.

    Are you saying it's too much trouble for you to select the items you want to delete and then to press the delete key? If that's the case, then you're going to have a lot of problems.
  • QCSitter Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have nearly 100k messages in my trash. Some of those show up in my Smart Folder and I want to delete the ones shown. If I select DELETE as you so indicated it puts mail into an endless loop for whatever reason (must be a bug?).

    Maybe that is the true issue. You should try to reproduce my same issue on your machine and see if you have the same results.
  • Golden Shoes Level 5 Level 5 (4,015 points)
    I've never had the problem you describe, nor seen it on any machine in all the years I've been using a Mac (since 1984). I can select any number of items and press the small Delete key on the far right of my keyboard and they disappear without any problem.

    It could be a bug, but I doubt it; more likely it's some issue specific to your system.
  • rightbrained Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    If you have an IMAP account and wish to be able to get your messages off of your IMAP server, but still be able to see your emails within 'Mail', this is a very simple and useful tip. Takes 2 minutes tops to follow the instructions. Remember to do this for both your Inbox AND your Sent mail.