Please read this whole message before doing anything.
This procedure is a diagnostic test. It’s unlikely to solve your problem. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.
The purpose of this exercise is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login. Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:
- Be sure your Mac is shut down.
- Press the power button.
- Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone.
- Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear).
Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on some Macs.
The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.
Test while in safe mode. Same problem(s)?
After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode.)
I can't replicate the problem at all at the moment. Once I see the issue again I'll give your test a try.
Here's the thing. I've been using my Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard and Mail 4.x the last few days on a trip and I think that is where I actually saw the problem. Not with my iMac running Lion and Mail 5.1. But I booted up the MBP and started Mail and could not replicate the problem. So there must be some app I was using on the MBP that caused the issue. I'll be using the MBP again over the next few days so I'll pay close attention to what apps are running if I see the problem again.
Thanks for your time.