11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 24, 2013 8:13 PM by Fay Kelley
HMBGENO Level 1 Level 1
Mac OS X

     I'm getting a message from Mail telling me I cannot delete a message from my Inbox because it already exists in the Trash mailbox. If I Erase everything in my Trash mailbox it will delete the message.

     Mail seems to be treating messages as if they are files and you can't have two with the same name in the same folder.

     This problem just started a few days ago.

     If I do away with the Trash mailbox (In Preferances)  by having trash deleted instead of having it sent to the Trash mailbox. The problem goes away, but so does my ability to retrieve a mistakenly deleted message.

     Does anyone have any idea what's causing this or how I can fix it?. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.




Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.6.8), Security downloaded itself and inst
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Hi Ron, how are you sending them or dragging them to the Trash in the 1st Place?


    Is this POP or IMAP? if POP are you leaving messages on the server?

  • HMBGENO Level 1 Level 1
    Mac OS X


         I've tried selecting the message and using the Delete button on the menu bar and i've tried right clicking and select delete from the drop down menu.

         I am using POP and I believe i'm set for delete from server after 5 days just in case I want the message on another device. Neither of those have changed since before this problem appeared. The only thing I know of that's happened is an update from Apple about the time this problem popped up. I've only run into one other user so far with this same problem.

         I do get a lot of messages from the same people in a Amateur radio group with message headers that are the same or very close to the same. That may account for why I've noticed the problem. Again that is nothing new. I've been getting these same messages f4rom this same radio group for quite a while now.



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    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.

  • HMBGENO Level 1 Level 1
    Mac OS X

         Thanks for the help. I'll give it a try and let you know what happens. I'll proceed carefully. I'm a fairly new Apple convert and I don't want to crash the whole thing and believe me if anyone can crash a perfectly good computer I'ts me.

         Thanks agian.


  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Ron, a warm welcome to the forums & Macdom, do not hesitate to ask if you need further guidance, we're all here to help!

  • HMBGENO Level 1 Level 1
    Mac OS X

    Hi All

         Well we seem to have found the problem. By we I mean my son, who's been an Apple user a lot longer than I have.

         The following is what he did and it seems to have fixed my problem.




    Open finder goto Library / Mail


    Open the folder for the account (ie: POP-user@isp.com)


    If a Folder called "Deleted Items" exists, drag it to trash.


    Re-open Mac Mail and it will automatically re-create the "Deleted Items.mbox" file required to trash messages.



         Some how there was a Folder called "Deleted Items" and there should have been a File called "Deleted Item"

         I don't think I precipitated this circumstance and if so. I couldn't tell you how. I don't tend to play around at that level with a computer that is working fine.

         Maybe the above fix will help others with a simalar problem.


         Thanks again. The help is really appreciated.



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Great to hear Ron, thanks for posting the cure!

  • michele205 Level 1 Level 1

    Whew! Ron, thank you so much for posting what worked.  The same thing happened today to my Mac and while erasing deleted mail didn't help, deleting the trash files in Library>Mail did work.  Note to anyone else with this problem: I have three email addresses, so I had to navigate inside the folders for each of the emails addresses and delete the trash files for each address.


    Thanks to the people who run this forum too, so we can quickly find answers and end our exasperation with computer glitches.


    Why did this suddenly happen anyway?

  • HMBGENO Level 1 Level 1
    Mac OS X

              I never figured out what triggered the problem. It began on my Mac shortly after a security update but I don't have any confirmation that that was the cause.  It was driving me nuts. If I find out anything else I'll post it here.


         Take care


  • donnellad Level 1 Level 1

    I had this same problem that started just a day ago. No apparent reason that I can think of. No updates took place, no new mail accounts, no changes to settings. I followed your advice, and it worked perfectly! Thank you so much! There are many other threads on this topic, but none of the advice I could find there worked. This was quick, easy and solved my problem - thank you again! You made my day.

  • Fay Kelley Level 1 Level 1

    I have Mail on MountainLion and I have about 8000 message and I cannot delete any.

    I downloaded an application to make the library and other invisibile files visibles

    in MountainLion and I cannot find my 'user' name on the left as I could in

    SnowLeopard.   I have SnowLeopard on the other partitioned side of my 17"

    MacBook Pro and SnowLeopard on the 15" MacBook Pro.   Both SL's are working



    But a lot of things seem to be acting up on Mountain Lion.


    Do I need to detele Mail and reinstall .... ?  Thanks ~