Inbox gone after rebuild. Please Help!

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by jabbo5150, May 15, 2019.

  1. jabbo5150 macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012
    So I am running El Capitan on my Mac Pro 1,1 without issue.

    Recently, I had a mail problem where it had trouble connecting to my comcast server. I managed to fix that, but then when I went to open my messages, I could see the headers but the messages themselves were blank.

    I tried to rebuild and that did not work.

    I tried to remove the envelope index file to reimport, and it did, but not the inbox. However, the new mail I received I was able to read just fine.

    I put the old files back in and my mail reappeared but so did the old problem of having blank messages.

    I did a rebuild again and got the beach ball. When I relaunched mail, my inbox was gone. Completely empty. As if the system had deleted everything.


    Did it delete everything? Am I screwed? I had thousands of messages in there...

    I do have a backup from 2017 that could restore a lot of them on an external drive. I am not sure how to reimport those files into my mail if I need to. I'd rather get ALL my messages and not just the ones from 2017, but I don't know how to do either.

    Any suggestions?
  2. niji Contributor


    Feb 9, 2003

    sorry to hear about your mail problems.

    its likely that when you were only able to see the individual mail headers in Mail that in fact the entire mail was still in tact, although you could not see them. you could have been able to confirm this by taking a look at the size of the mail folders and if they were GB size or so then in fact the mail bodies were there also.

    did you by any chance duplicate the Envelope indexes before you deleted them from the Mail folder?

    i have had the (painful) experience of importing a lot of GB of past email.
    i also had the situation where entire folders of mail had only headers.
    i have found that if i deleted the already once imported mail and then re-imported them little by little instead of clicking scores of folders to be imported all at once, then this allowed me to reimport alot of them (but not all).
    the macOS Mail Import routine seems to just give up when it hits a mail that it cant read and this seems to effect the balance of the mail in that folder.

    whatever you do don't forget to backup yr recently freshly downloaded mail before you try to import afresh your old mail.

    it wasn't clear in yr post if you are leaving mail on the server by using IMAP or are downloading mail to your local machine and thereby removing it from the server as you go along.
    in my case i dont leave anything on the server and always download it to my macOS machine thereby always removing it from the server. so my observations above reflect that.
  3. jabbo5150 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012
    I did switch it to Imap thinking I needed to do that to be able to read my mail because it wasn't working previously. I do have a copy of those files on my desktop still. I didn't realize Imap left it on the server. Maybe there is hope yet? Should I change it back to pop? I don't want to leave them the server. I like having the messages for the long haul.
  4. jabbo5150, May 16, 2019
    Last edited: May 16, 2019

    jabbo5150 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012
    If I switch back to pop and move those original files back in place will it find my mail?

    How do I import my backed up mail folder from 2017 if not?

    Incidentally, when I launch mail now, it is giving me that same comcast connection error that started this whole mess to begin with. It says can't connect to the account
  5. jabbo5150 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012

Share This Page

4 May 15, 2019