My Mac Mail messages have disappeared!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Jodeo, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Jodeo macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    I have a mystery (and, fwiw, files backed-up to Crash Plan).

    I'm running Mac OS 10.6.8 and Mail 4.6.

    I recently moved my web hosting account and all has seemed OK. I did have a problem initially where my computer's DNS had the IP of the former mail server cached. I've been able to address that, and it's no longer an issue.

    When I look at my Inboxes (two accounts using my own personal domain), there is no email in either box (as of the other day, before the move, there was about 100 in one and 400 in another). Today, all I had was email from Feb. 1 (since the switch).

    My email accounts are both IMAP accounts.

    1. Assuming the email was deleted from Mail, how could I retrieve it from the back-up files I have (on Crash Plan)? My thought is that I could download the back-up files and import the mailboxes into Mail, hopefully retrieving the mail. Crash Plan does progressive back-ups, so I can go back to Jan 30 or thereabouts.

    2. Assuming the email is still on my Mac, where would I look? (It doesn't appear to be in the trash of Mail or the Mac OS.)

  2. Jodeo thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Mail Problem Resolved (with a little work)

    I have no idea WHY my mail disappeared, but thanks to Crash Plan, I was able to download back-ups and restore it. It was a semi-manual process:

    1. Download back-up mail files to my hard drive.
    * In this case, one folder per account, "IMAP-{email address and mail server}
    * Within this folder was (a) an INBOX folder and (b) a file named INBOX.IMAPMBOX

    2. Renamed "INBOX.IMAPMBOX" TO "INBOX.MBOX" (that is, dropped "IMAP" from the name).

    3. Mail > File > Import Mailboxes
    * Followed the prompts and navigated to the folder in Step #1 above.

    4. Selected Import, OK.

    5. Mail imported the back-up mail to the "ON MY MAC" section in the left pane of Mail (I'm in 10.6.8 using Mail 4.6).

    6. All my "inbox" mail was there. So I copied it to my actual Inbox under the MAILBOXES section above (that is, higher up in the left pane of Mail).

    7. Deleted the temporary "INBOX" under ON MY MAC.

    From there I looked at drafts, sent, etc. to see what I wanted to keep. The key is if you're using IMAP (instead of POP mail protocol), rename any .IMAPMBOX file to .MBOX in order to import it into Mail.

    I still want to know why this all vanished. The good news is that all pre-existing mail under ON MY MAC never left - it's still there, and I'm pretty good about filing away Inbox mail at least every three months.

    Posting this in case it helps someone restore missing email messages in Mac Mail.

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