(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 comp.apple.mail.plist 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: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/71805/mail-rebuild-mailbox-problem