5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 30, 2012 7:54 AM by Vermyndax
David Morsberger Level 1 (0 points)

Has anyone seen emails randomly disappearing?


Please help! This company lives and dies by email.


I have an updated Moutain Lion Server. Mail services (Postfix and Dovecot) are configured and working.


Every once in a while an email will show up (seen in IOS, Mac Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird) and then disappear. I saw it with my own eyes.


I've checked and it is not in the deleted folder.


I searched the file system (grep) for the message and I cannot find it. I see through logs that it was received by postfix, relayed to dovecot, and stored in the inbox. I cannot find the message in the cur directory but i do find a reference in the dovecot.index.cache file.


I've asked on the dovecot mailing list and noone has seen this behavior.


Thanks in advance for your help and support.

Mac mini, OS X Server, Mountain Lion Server
  • Vermyndax Level 1 (30 points)

    Have you opened up Apple Mail on one of the clients and performed a mailbox rebuild?


    (Mailbox --> Rebuild)


    If the message still does not appear, perhaps the spam scanner on the server caught it and removed it? What do your rules look like for that? Have you done any modifications to spamassassin? Are there any server-side rules on the mailbox?

  • David Morsberger Level 1 (0 points)



    • We did rebuild the mailbox.
    • No modifications to spamassissin.
    • No local or server side rules.


    Your response raises a question: What is the flow of an email message through OS X Server? Does clamav and spamassassin run before or after an email is placed in the inbox? I ask because the message I saw disappear was in the inbox for a short period of time.

  • Vermyndax Level 1 (30 points)

    It runs before the message hits the inbox. But it makes me wonder if there is either a server-side rule or a .forward in the home directory of the user. Also check the postfix main.cf to see if there's anything unusual in there. You may try raising the log level of your server's mail operations and watching it.

  • David Morsberger Level 1 (0 points)

    No .forward file in the home directory. Reviewed postfix config and log files. Nothing seems wrong. Email is relayed to dovecot and shows up in INBOX. This seems to mean postfix is working.

  • Vermyndax Level 1 (30 points)

    There is one other possibility, but this one will be harder to track down. It could be that someone has a client (iPhone or other computer at home) set up as a POP3 client instead of IMAP. POP3 configurations often "pop" an email off the server and download it to the local cache, then delete the server side copy. IMAP clients will see the email, then it will disappear in the method that you describe.


    To troubleshoot, turn off POP access or block port 110 on the firewall, then see who complains about their client getting an error message. Check the configuration. If it's set to POP access, it is likely misconfigured and removing the email from the server.


    As a permanent solution, disable POP3 access to mailboxes if this is acceptable to the company.