Funky Mail.app behavior

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by superninjagoat, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. superninjagoat macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #1
    Here's the deal. Mail.app is chirping along fine, checking email every minute in the background. I tend to get about five to 10 emails an hour, so there's a pretty steady stream of stuff coming in.

    Then the stream stops. If I click "Get mail," nothing. I know there must be something, because i haven't received anything in an hour or so. So, I quit mail and relaunch. Boom! Eight new emails.

    This happens sometimes 10 times a day, sometimes not at all. I say it typically happens at least a couple of times.

    I know what you're thinking, so without further delay:

    The basics:
    • 10.4.11
    • 1.8 Ghz Dual G5
    • Mail.app (2.1.3)
    • Mail.app is connecting to an IMAP server (I think it's called MailMan, and its ancient). It is configured correctly, according to our IT department. Here are the settings:
      • Account type: IMAP
      • Mailbox Behaviors: Drafts, Sent, Junk and Trash all stored on server
      • Account enabled: Yes
      • Account included when auto checking for new mail: Yes
      • Keep copies of messages and attachments for offline viewing: Yes
      • Automatically sync changed mailboxes: Yes
      • IMAP path prefix properly set to my mailbox on port 143
      • SSL: No
      • Authentication: Password
      • Check mail: Every minute
      • .Mac options: Not using
    Plugins:
    • MailBadger
    • Mail.appitizer
    Basic questions, answered:
    • Yes, I've repaired permissions
    • Yes, I've rebuilt the mail database
    • Yes, I've thrown away all plist files and build mail up from the ground
    • No, none of it had any effect (although it might have gotten a little less frequent. Or, it could have been a run of a few good days in a row. :) )
    More random information:
    • I have a Core2Duo MacBook Pro that I use at home. Also 10.4.11. Same mail settings and plugins. It has never had a problem.
    • I've taken said laptop to work and had them both in mail.app at the same time and the G5 has failed while the C2D rocked on.
    • A colleague of mine with a mini has the same problem.
    • This didn't happen on the G5 when I was on 10.3.X. It only happened after the archive an install. Thinking that was the problem, I completely wiped the mail settings and, well, it didn't fix the problem.
    • I've had it crash on a Friday and not update with the IMAP server until I relaunched the app on Monday. This is to say that patience is not an answer.

    Also interesting to note, I can send email when the problem is happening. So, let's say I send a company-wide email: I won't get it, but everyone else will. This is often how I figure out something's fishy. I won't receive the message until relaunch.

    So, it seems to me that on launch, mail.app is running a sync with IMAP routine that somehow different that the check-mail routine. Is there an applescript that I can use to invoke this at one-minute intervals? An applescrips cron job seems a bit of a brute-force solution.

    And, one last piece of info: When I check the Activity Viewer in Mail.app during a "get mail" (either manual or at the one-minute interval), it *says* it's communicating with the server. Strange.

    Anyone have similar problems. Solutions? Workarounds? Sympathy?
     
  2. superninjagoat thread starter macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #2
    Perhaps if I put "iPhone" in the thread title, someone would click on the @#$! link. Surely someone in here has some clue?

    Really trying to get *some* kind of answer on this.

    New info: Coworker with same problem is running an Intel mini with 10.4.11 and same mail settings as I have. Same settings that work fine on my laptop.
     
  3. Tom Yt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    #3
    I know you said you have it check every minute or so, but did you try to reduce the frequency? say 3-5 minutes?

    Other than that, I can't think of anything :( strange problem this is.
     
  4. tibi08 macrumors 6502a

    tibi08

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    #4
    Try disabling the plugins. Just because they work on an Intel Mac doesn't mean they aren't causing problems on a PPC.
     
  5. superninjagoat thread starter macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #5
    OK. Gave this a shot. Didn't work. I took it one step further and had mail not autocheck. I then used the "check mail feature" exclusively. I though we were on to something, but late Friday, things crapped out again.

    No dice. Did this in conjunction with Tom Yt's suggestions.

    It's stumped the IT guys at work, too. One of them thinks it might have more to do with our mail sever than mac mail. But, if that's the case, why would the problem be sporadic, with some machines (with a mix of processors and OSs) working and some not?
     
  6. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #6
    I'm having a similar problem, except that I can't even quit mail! I can only get new mail when mail first launches. When I want to exit mail, I need to force quit it or it just hangs while quitting.

    This just started happening in the past day or two. I have no idea what triggered it. I installed the Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update a few days ago, but Mail was doing fine since then. I installed The Front Row, QuickTime, and iTunes update earlier today. Could Front Row, Quicktime or iTunes mess up Mail?!?!
     
  7. superninjagoat thread starter macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #7
    Smirking,

    If you look in your activity window, is there a mail-check or -send operation that's hanging?
     
  8. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #8
    I'm not sure and I can't check because I fixed the problem by deleting my Envelope Index file in /Library/Mail. Well, I deleted it and had to restore all of my mail settings.

    However, I'm getting the feeling the problem might come back soon. Before my mail started hanging like crazy, my mail search stopped working right. I couldn't score a successful search for the word "the" at this point. Mail search seemed to work again after I deleted my Envelope Index file and started over. It's on the fritz again.
     
  9. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #9
    Same problem here -- can only force quit mail

    I'm also having this problem. Just started a few days ago as well. I only installed the EFI and Safari updates yesterday, so I can rule those out as a possible cause. I've tried rebuilding all my folders as well, but that doesn't seem to make any difference. I haven't tried erasing the plists or disabling the one plug-in I have (Mail Act-On), but I will now. Anyone having any luck with this?
     
  10. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #10
    You can add me to the list of people with this problem.

    Like the OP, I am connecting to an IMAP server. Unlike the OP, I am using Leopard (10.5.2). It STILL refuses to get mail sometimes.
     
  11. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #11
    Further info

    So I've noticed this in my case.. If you view the Activity window, you'll see several (up to 4 for me) "Fetching new mail" tasks that are all stalled out at the "Fetching new mail" phrase underneath -- as if they never really even got started. I tried using the Connection Doctor, and it was able to verify ability to connect to my server without a problem. It appears Mail must be force quit anytime there is 1 or more stalled fetching new mail tasks in the activity window. Very frustrating!
     
  12. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #12
    Deleting Envelope Index didn't solve it for me

    I just tried deleting the Envelope Index file in my Library/Mail folder. It re-imported my messages and then proceeded to behave the same as before (first check for new mail works, all subsequent checks hang). I also had tried booting from the install CD and doing repair disk and repair disk permissions, nothing was wrong there at all.

    I'm connecting to a POP server, and I'm using 10.5.2.. So it would appear it's not limited by the OS version or type of mail server -- which seems really odd. Is anyone else with this problem using ComCast as their ISP?

    I tried setting the check mail frequency to every 5 minutes, and that didn't help either. Sometimes I can manually check for messages and it will work, but not always.
     
  13. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #13
    Found a solution!

    When all else fails, try re-installing Mail.app. I did this and its working perfectly again. Not an ideal solution, but it works. Here's what I did:

    1. Write down all your settings! You'll need them.
    2. Move your Library/Mail folder to the desktop (as a back-up in case something goes wrong)
    3. Move your Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist (and any other files that start with that but have additional extensions) to the desktop
    4. Optionally delete your mail.app from the applications folder. (I didn't do this)
    5. Insert your OS 10.5 (or 10.4) install CD and click on the "Optional Installs" folder. From there, launch the "Optional Installs" package.
    6. When the installer gets to the screen where you can select what to install, open up the applications list and select Mail. Click install and wait.
    7. Now start up Mail and start filling back in all your settings and preferences.
    8. Wait for a while for all your messages to re-download
    9. If you're using POP, use the Import Mailboxes feature to import Mail for Mac OS X and import all your mailboxes back again. This will give you all your folders back again. What I did was erase what it downloaded in step 8 and copied things back from my imported folders into the appropriate places. This way I didn't lose what messages I had read/not read and all the filing of messages I've done over the past few months.

    Hopefully it won't stop working again in a few days like some have reported -- but it's working beautifully for now.
     
  14. superninjagoat thread starter macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #14
    ziffy,

    A best I can tell, we were having slightly different problems, right? I frequently can't receive mail until I re-launch it, and you had to force-quit mail because it would hang up on you? Could you still send and use mail in other ways while it still was open but working strangely?

    Anyway, your solution just might work. The techs at work have been telling me that my only option was to muss with the .plist files. (Done that.) I've been asking for a reinstall of the application package, which they said was not possible without reloading the entire system.

    This whole thing started happening after an archive and install that brought me to 10.4. I'm going to reinstall mail.app and see if that gets me anywhere.

    I'll post my findings when I can.

    s.n.goat
     
  15. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #15
    Interesting s.n.goat... my problem began shortly after I upgraded from 10.4 to 10.5...

    Actually, the way I ugraded may be part of the analysis. I was on a G5 Mac and bought one of the new MP 8-cores (Early 2008). My G5 was running 10.4. My new MP 8-core is on 10.5.

    I also have a MBP that I upgraded from 10.4 to 10.5 and that hasn't shown any sign of a problem at all.

    I should also note that the amount of mail I have saved in my mailboxes is very high. My mail folder is 2.54Gb. I wonder if that might affect it at all.
     
  16. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #16
    Actually, I think our problem is very similar. Like your issue, I could still use mail to send and read mail. The only problem was that I could not receive any mail until after I force quit and restarted Mail, because only the initial check for new mail upon starting would succeed. All others would fail until I force quit.

    I didn't have any problems moving from 10.4 to 10.5. My Mailboxes folder is 600MB. The problem literally seemed to start out of the blue just a week or so ago, with no major changes/upgrades/installs to my system. I did not have any issues with searching mail, which would appear to be one difference.

    My Mail.app is working fine since the reinstall.
     
  17. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #17
    Zifty, did you have more than one active mailbox?? I had the exact same issue as you did and one thing I noticed was that if I cut down my active mailboxes down to only one, I was able to send and receive normally. I normally check four different incoming mail sources. I disabled three of my mail accounts to see if that would help. It did, but it was a difficult way to live with the amount of email that I get, so I eventually bit the bullet and trashed all of my settings.

    Trashing my envelope index and re-entering all of my settings worked as I mentioned previously, but it didn't solve the search issues for loong. Last night I tried paring down the size of my saved messages to see if that did anything. I archived a bunch of stuff that I had saved from the 90's. I was trying to see if that had anything to do with my curious inability to search my saved mail. Nope, that didn't do anything.
     
  18. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #18
    No, I have just 1 POP account that I check. Everything comes into my one inbox, and then I manually file messages away into archived mailboxes.
     
  19. superninjagoat thread starter macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #19
    ok, so very similar problems. It seems that yours was just a little more extreme than mine is. I have not had time to get the system disks from the tech guys yet, so I'm still having problems. Have they began again for you? Or are you still free and clear?
     
  20. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #20
    Mail is still working just fine for me. No problems at all.
     
  21. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #21
    Well, my Mail app appears to be slowly creeping back into the abyss. I now have mail that I can't delete out of my inbox. When I try to delete it, the email stays there, but becomes greyed out similar to how junk mail gets greyed out when you have the spam filter in training mode.

    I can't manually move the mail item either.

    I'll have to try doing a full reinstall later this month when I have time.
     
  22. zifty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #22
    The reinstall is pretty quick really. It only took me about 15 minutes to do. It'd be even faster if your using IMAP instead of POP, as with POP, I had to reconcile my old archived messages as well.
     
  23. ArriSteve macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    #23
    another possible fix

    I tried Zifty's fix, but it didn't work for me. My problem may be slightly different, so I'll just round up what was happening. I could read 3-5 messages in Mail before it would stop opening them in preview (but sometimes worked by opening in a new window), but once it started exhibiting this behavior it wouldn't open any more messages, in the activity window it would say it was trying to open them. This would mean I could not quit Mail normally and had to force quit instead. Also when typing in an address field for a new email, it would look like it was searching for the previous recipients (but never find them).
    The solution was to use a folder from a different admin account, I have a 'base settings' admin account, from there I copied the contents folder from Mail, moved the contents folder from my normal account and replaced it with the copied one.
    I also copied a file called mailrecents-v4 from application support/address book and replaced that in my normal account.
    It all worked again!
    A few caveats, and extra info. This problem occured when I upgraded from 10.4 to 10.5, I had Mail in the 'base settings' set up as my normal Mail (account name, server etc). Copied data to an external drive. erm. I think that's about it. I have seen my problem in all sorts of places so I hope this helps. Obviously I can't guarantee that it will, I only found it by accident and fumbling rather than any great knowledge of how it all works.
     
  24. smirking macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #24
    Zifty, are you still running lean and mean on your Mail.app? I'm planning on trying a reinstall, but don't want to if there's a good chance it'll just revert back to some corrupted state.
     

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