12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2016 7:15 AM by Neville Hillyer
JerryP Level 1 (0 points)



We're using Mail 2.1.3 on a Mac Mini (OS 10.4.11), and having problems with email accounts misbehaving in Mail. 


We've been checking 6 accounts (2 gmail, 1 yahoo, 3 from US Cable).  Now I've tried to add 2 new gmail accounts (we're losing the USCable accounts in a few days), and started having problems.  Even though the settings in both new gmail accounts are correct, they will not send email via the smtp.gmail.com server, and give me the message:


     "Cannot send message using the server smtp.gmail.com" and it asks me to send the message using a different server.


Additionally, as I've been trying to troubleshoot this, my 2 formerly working gmail accounts have both started not working.  Connection Doctor says the login for one failed, and the smtp for the other "could not connect".  Though Connection Doctor says that connection and login to server succeeded for the 2 new gmail accounts, it does not even list the smtp attempts for the new accounts.  I've tried deleting and recreating the new email accounts within this main user's version of Mail several times, no success.


All the email accounts are using the POP protocol, and we don't want to change to IMAP (we have multiple users checking the same accounts from different devices).  I've verified the settings being correct 2 ways:  Setting them up on a different machine (my MacBook running Mail 3.6, OS X 10.5.8) and on the same machine via a newly-made user on the Mac Mini.  Both ways can send and receive mail just fine from these new email accounts.


I think something's hopelessly corrupted, and that I need to somehow reinstall the Mail program, or at least get rid of all the accounts and preferences or whatever needs to be deleted, and recreate all the email accounts again.  How can I do this, without losing our many messages that we have filed in a number of folders?


Q:  how do I do this??


Thanks for any advice, in advance!

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    Hello Jerry, to be safe...


    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 Mail.zip, move it to a safe place, same for the Mail Downloads folder... only the plist is separate.



  • JerryP Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, BDAqua,


    I'll do that. 


    Now, Moving on beyond backups: what do I need to replace, and how?

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    With Mail not running of course, likely just move or trash these files...








    Move this Folder to the Desktop...




    Move this file to the Desktop...


    /Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail/Envelope Index


    Reboot. Setup Mail again.

  • JerryP Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, BDAqua,


    I tried this yesterday (twice!), with mixed results, so I have gone back to where I was before.  Your suggestions were helpful, but not enough to fix whatever's the problem.  Here's what happened:


    1st time:  as I tried starting up mail, I got the wizard dialog leading me through setting up the first email account, with an option to import mailboxes. I skipped that option, assuming I'd have a chance to do that later.  I went ahead to set up all the email accounts.  Now the gmail accounts were fully functional, but the former USCable accounts ( username@mywdo.com ) wouldn't set up properly!  One could receive but not send, another wouldn't do either.  [ NOTE: I've wondered if this had to do with the fact that this USCable email server will cease functioning next week, and might not be working right, but I think the problem is mainly with my version of Mail].

    And the Yahoo account wouldn't work either.

    Add to that, I couldn't get a full import of the mailboxes.  When I imported them later, I seemed to only get the empty boxes, which said they each had X # of unread messages in them -- but they were actually empty.


    2nd time:  So I cleared everything out again, and started over, this time importing the mailboxes at the first prompt. This went fine, but there was no improvement on the email account functioning over the first time.


    SO....  I gave up for the day, having sunk 8 hours into this mess.  I started over a 3rd time, I restored the files you'd suggested I back up elsewhere,  re-imported the mailboxes, and our Mac Mini Mail is back to having the problems with GMail it had before.


    Any suggestions for the next time I have some time to work on this? 



  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    I'm wondering how much of this might be due to your ISP, not that they'd know of course, I think we should've worked on what you had at the 2nd time.

  • Fulton The Monk Level 1 (0 points)

    Had the same problem. Apple Mail was corrupted, suddenly wouldn't recognize the incoming and outgoing mail servers even though it worked fine on Thunderbird and Apple Mail on the iPad. I followed the above suggestions to archive certain files and delete specific files. Same problem. So I went back and this time I moved the ENTIRE MailData folder to the desktop and restarted.




    WORKED. I can now send and receive email like before.

  • 2-fry Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, I worked with Evan at Mac support and here is how to do it. First I would suggest copying and remove any large files like pictures from your emails. This will greatly speed up the re-indexing process.


    First, back up all your personal directories, or at least your personal library: Macintosh HD>Users>"Your Login Name">Library


    You will need to see your hidden files in finder so open the Terminal application, copy and paste the following:

    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE; killall Finder


    Quit the Mail application if it is still running.


    Reopen Finder and go to your personal library (see above path). Right click and select "Open in New Tab".


    Inside the Libary go to the following:

    Macintosh HD>Users>"Your Login Name">Library>V2>Mailboxes


    Copy all the *.mbox files from your backed up library folder to this location.


    Go back one director and open Macintosh HD>Users>"Your Login Name">Library>V2>MailData

    Delete all Envelope Index* files.

    This will force Mail to create a new index when it is opened.


    Go to your Terminal application, copy and paste the following:

    defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE; killall Finder


    Most files are hidden for a reason and should remain so.



    Reboot your Mac, this will clear any Ram based index files.

    Launch Mail.


    It should come up like it did the first time and start creating a new index.

    Your Done, Have Fun

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 (1,865 points)

    I have just had a quick read. You may not have had much corrupted before you started playing but unfortunately you may have introduced a few extra problems.


    1. You don't appear to have done the thing I would do first: delete the password entry in Keychain for any non-working service - they can get corrupted resulting in silly error messages.
    2. I have checked for the latest Gmail settings and put them below. I advise that you use these with SSL for both incoming and outgoing email.


    Standard Gmail configuration instructions:

    Incoming Mail (POP3) Server - requires SSL:pop.gmail.com
    Use SSL: Yes
    Port: 995
    Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server - requires TLS or SSL:smtp.gmail.com
    Use Authentication: Yes
    Port for TLS/STARTTLS: 587
    Port for SSL: 465
    Server timeoutsGreater than 1 minute, we recommend 5
    Full Name or Display Name:[your name]
    Account Name or User Name:your full email address (including @gmail.com or @your_domain.com)
    Email Address:your email address (username@gmail.com or username@your_domain.com)
    Password:your Gmail password


    I would get the accounts working first before trying to move any further items in ~/Library/Mail


    Once things are working you could try copying individual .mbox folders from a working computer to the problem one. Quit both Mail applications first.


    I use POP on multiple computers and often use one to restore another. I Bcc all outgoing email to myself so all computers have all outgoing messages. I keep messages on the server for 122 days (4months) - slightly tedious to set this on Mail but it can be easily set to a month. I mainly use Thunderbird without any folders except the Archive ones so it is very easy to maintain the same structure on all computers.


    You can always download everything on the server again by deleting MessageUidsAlreadyDownloaded.

  • 2-fry Level 1 (0 points)

    History update to my previous post:

    Evan from Apple Support and I tried importing .mbox files, it would not work. I had to reinstall 10.9.1 from scratch to remove a malicious program so I was starting with a virgin Mail application. I tried reverting the OS with Time Machine to a date before I noticed the change, but it did not fix the erratic behavior. I had previously imported all my emails from Thunderbird which was only partially successful. This may have had something to do with the import function not working. I did not even try to move any email accounts, I just recreated them in Mail. I keep all my emails on my computer locally so they are not saved on my email servers, which have small email size limits. I was only posting how to restore the email messages stored in Mail when the import function did not work.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 (1,865 points)

    @ 2-fry: You are on the wrong forum. This is the Tiger forum. My earlier post was to the OP who has Tiger. It is easy on Tiger and Leopard to copy mbox folders with the Finder - this gives more control than Import. This may be more tedious on your much later OS.

  • Bigglesfela Level 1 (0 points)

    Hallo NH,


    You seem to be a most helpful responder.

    On my iMac27 - Build 10K549 - around late 2009 - I use OS X 10.6.8 but have suddenly lost my Mail icon from the lower bar, worse still,  the whole Mail application has gone from the HD. Unable to find it anywhere!


    I still use OS X 10.6.8 as I have a Stylewriter printer and this appears to be the sophistication limit for the venerable Stylewriter.


    How can I restore/get my Apple Mail back please?



    In the interim I can use gmail, but find it a bit clunky to use compared with Apple Mail.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 (1,865 points)

    This is a very old thread about Tiger.


    Please start your own thread in an appropriate place.