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JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

(Odd that the first thing I see here is "Ask a Question" when, really, it means provide a title, or something. You can't ask a complete question -- it's a "nudger" place, I guess, to see if someone else has asked something similar. Well, I finally found the post-something link.)


I was fiddling with Mail folders today when I brainlessly clicked "Rebuild" when I was displaying my Inbox. Why, oh why? ...But, also, why did they put such an INSANE button right there? Without warnings? ...When I next glanced at my Inbox the most recent several hundred emails had vanished. ...Special! What a handy feature is that Rebuild!


How to recover? I googled the subject and found the advice to turn off Mail then back-up the Mail folder and file (approx filename) then drag them out of the Library to the Desktop and restart Mail. Well, I did PART of that. I left the Mail folder where it was since on investigation it SEEMED like maybe my Inbox mail was still there. I dragged out the .plist file then restarted Mail.


And now an interesting thing is happening: Mail is downloading about 2500 emails from somewhere (my server? the Mail Inbox?) -- over and over again. 3 times so far.


Previously it seems like no email subjectlines displayed in the Inbox as it was refilling but now some appear so maybe something is different.


Obviously I don't really understand Mail or my Server or Rebuild. I've only used Macs for 30 years. Not much to go on, I know. I just want my Mail.


I have a PowerBook G4 PowerPC 10.5.8.


UPDATE: It looks like the 4th time was the charm! My emails are back now! I guess a future reader can use my question as a sort of how-to if they happen to find this before they find the article I encountered. Actually, I incl a link to it:

PowerBook, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    Now I notice that I *HAVE NO SENT MAIL*!!!!


    Oh, I can SEARCH thru my Sent mail, I just can't see it.


    What is going on?


    That is, I click on my Sent mail folder in the program and nothing displays at all. But if I search for an email I sent today, I can find it.


    Whups, it looks like my Sent search results give Sents plus a lot of everything else.


    So, should I now intentionally Rebuild my Mail in some way? Maybe I could just rebuild the Sent folder. ?




    UPDATE: Whew, it looks like I can't Send email right now. I must've set up my Mail incorrectly when I redid it after I removed the Pref file. I copied down all the existing Acc't details and typed them back in, but no go. Maybe because I can't Send now I also can't see my previously Sent mail? UGH! I wish this was easier and that Mail could just find the info it needs by itself. I haven't changed anything in Mail in years so I'm a wee bit rusty at configuring it, eh?

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    I used my ISP's Tech Support and re-entered good secure email server data and my email is now Sending and Getting. But I still only have the ONE Sent email I just sent appearing in my Sent list. ...Should have thousands of Sent emails. Grrrr.... Where did they go? Did I somehow Rebuild more than one Mailbox this morning? It seems my Sent is corrupt. Maybe I should try to Rebuild it... ???? Seems risky.


    I checked my Sent folder in my User/Library/Mail and all Sent messages are there. Just not displaying.

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    OK, I tried the Rebuild on the Sent folder. I still have my four recent Sents and none of my previous ones. They're all in the Sent folder in the Library, though. How to get them to display in Mail??????

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    Woo-hoo, this is fun, talking to myself!


    Hey, I just noticed that my Draft emails all display. Their subjectlines are all listed. But if I click on any of them: Whups! -- No email text/contents!


    Anyone here know how to fix Mail?


    Thanks, JP


    PS: I don't think that Search can find many Sent emails, after all. Just some recent ones. So my indexing seems all outta whack. How to re-index and get my Mail to reflect the contents of the Library Mail folder?

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    OK, a lot of my Inbox mail is still missing.


    It's in my Library folders still, though.


    How to get it back into my Mail?

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Hi Jeff, sorry I missed the other query... Apple keeps us busy with changes like a Cat trying to cover up you know what on a Marble Floor!


    I don't think the problem id Rebuild per se...


    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.

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    Hi! Thanks for pitching in! I was excited to try this repair and did as you said but now it seems like I have somewhat less Inbox mail than yesterday and am stilling missing MOST of it. Also, my Drafts folder is now entirely missing. My Sent mail is as it was -- just a dozen recent items, thousands are missing.


    I note that the Caches/Mail did NOT exist for my 10.5.8 system.


    My Mail vs. is 3.6.


    It was heartening for awhile to see that 20,000 emails were imported into my Mail when it restarted. Where did they go? I counted up all mail that went into my Mailboxes and it totaled 15,000 approx. I see that at least some of those boxes only have a dozen mails when yesterday they had hundreds.


    Maybe I could just Import each Mailbox? I don't really know how Mail works but I've heard it has an Import function. If I could highlight/select a Mailbox then tell Mail to import the mail from the Mailbox's folder in Library/Mail maybe it would all reload then?


    OK, I looked into starting this process and I see there is an Import function. I can import data from Mail. I see the message "You will now be asked for the location of one or more mailboxes created by another copy of Mail for Mac OS X or a folder containing them." This makes me a bit leery because I just want Mail to import its own mail. It says "another copy of Mail." It also says "or a folder." ?? This seems POSSIBLY straightforward -- just reload each Mailbox with the good mail I know exists in /Library/Mail. BUT! ...We already know that Mail offered me "Rebuild" which has already ruined a whole day and is apparently risking my future. I need my mail to appear in my Mail. I have backed it up from 2 wks ago but I know it's in the Library. I just need it to be in Mail, too. Thanks!!!!!

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    I'm inspired by the info in this link which says to do what I thought of above.



    It also shows the suggestion to do what you said and it didn't work. The manual File>Import Mailbox trick DID work. So fingers crossed that it'll work for me, despite me not knowing what I'm doing! I'm kinda impatient -- sorry for not waiting for expert confirmation here. I'll test first with a less-important Mailbox. It looks like I'll have the option of picking boxes. I had no idea -- I was just starting to walk down that trail and didn't/don't know what I'd find. Again, I'm leery mostly because clicking "Rebuild" ruined my email world -- that button should be called "Destroy", eh? I'm afraid of risking damage from another move that has counterintuitive results.

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    OK, things are trickier than I thought and I'm stumped again.


    It turns out that my Mailboxes seem OK. They aren't missing mail.


    It's my Inbox, Sent, Deleteds and Drafts that are missing mail.


    I see that I now have TWO folders for POP in my /Library/Mail folder. It seems possible that this is because I didn't completely obey that first advice! I pulled out the Mail Prefs file but left the Mail folders alone. It seems possible that Mail then just started a second POP items folder when it restarted/rebuilt.


    It looks like I could just drag the contents of the old folders into the new ones and get all my goodies. That seems like it would work for my Sents, Deleteds and Drafts because they only have a few items in the new folders -- with no overlap in numbering. But, oddly and sadly, my new Inbox has 2200 emails in it and the numbering duplicates 103 of the emails in my good old Inbox folder which has 8000 often valuable emails in it. I suppose I could look thru those 103 overlapped emails and see if any truly are important -- there is a fair amount of fluff in there. I hesitate, though, to renumber any to a new, unused number. If an email is important, could I do that?

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    [reply below]

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    I've never tried renumbering, interesting idea, if you try it, try just one, & make certain Mail isn't running when you do it.

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    I hesitate about the renumbering.


    I wonder if I could just start all over again, again, with re-starting my Mail program. I could drag my Library/Mail folder onto the Desktop, re-enter my POP server info, and maybe ONE fresh new set of POP folders would be created with everything in them. ? I guess I could always back up again. ?

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Yeah sounds like an idea.


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




    Delete that file & start Mail & set it up.

  • JeffOYB Level 1 Level 1

    Whew, this makes me nervous and also confused. So are you saying to make backup copies of the Mail and Mail Downloads folders in case something goes wrong? Should the originals stay in place? Or are you saying to Archive/Compress them and save them elsewhere so that they are GONE from the Lib/Mail folder and then restart Mail and that they will then reappear?


    I do understand that I should delete the plist file.


    Well, I'll do as you say and Compress the Mail and Downloads folders, move em aside, and hope for the best... It seems like they will be GONE after they're compressed. We'll see!


    I'm very curious as to what will happen with the duplicate mail filenames in my two POP folders but maybe they'll rebuild and sort themselves out!


    I did try copying email from my old Inbox and Sent folders into my new folders then changing their numbers then restarting Mail. Mail did not recognize the new/renumbered emails. So there's some reindexing that needs to happen. Well, we'll see what this "start over" method achieves! Thanks...

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