Recover Deleted Mailbox in

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by micvog, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. micvog macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    I did something really stupid... I have been accessing my GMail account using POP access and Apple I switched over to IMAP online, went into Preferences, deleted my POP account and was about to re-add it as an IMAP account when I noticed that the e-mails in my inbox were deleted when I deleted my POP account. I checked ~/Library/Mail and the folder was in fact deleted. Is there anyway to recover that folder? Not all of the e-mails are still on GMail's web interface.

  2. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    The directory data has been deleted but everything else should still be sitting on your disk somewhere until they get overwritten, so all is not lost. You just can't find them without data retrieval software. So if your emails are vitally important, stop using your Mac right now so as to avoid overwriting them and buy a data rescue software to retrieve them.

    Prosoft's Data Rescue costs $99, but there may be cheaper or even shareware rescue software available. Actually all you need is the quick scan/retrieve option to find the main folder. A full detailed scan that takes many hours finding each individual file is uneccessary.

    Good luck.
  3. micvog thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    Thanks awmazz.

    Does anyone know of a freeware/shareware app that could work? $100 is a bit much to recover a dozen or so e-mails.
  4. John Blue macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    How do I recover my accidently deleted emails in Mailbox

    Hi micvog (?) --

    The same thing happened to me as happened to you when I deleted my POP Account in Preference. 3,000 emails I needed disappeared on me! I only deleted my cancelled Earthlink POP Account to delete it from the drop-down menu in New Mail. I never dreamed would lose all my emails!

    Several Apple Stores/Genius Bars didn't know what to do so they sent me to the Mac Forum where everyone was rude, and where I promptly got lost for the last week. The Northridge Apple Store is now helping me in their Store.

    I just want to retrieve my lost emails. No one at Apple knows how to do it.

    Did you find an answer? Can you email me directly or tell me of someone who knows how to do it? I do not understand these Mac Forums and their complex rules. Also the people here are incredibly rude and unhelpful.

    (It has taken a week to find you. The Apple Store spotted your question a week ago and sent me home and said "Ask Mac Forums!" I couldn't find you until today when I came back here.)

    I also bought a Data Rescue II but I don't know how to use it and am afraid I may lose the rest of my computer if I try. No one here knows what to do! HELP!

    I have OS 10.4.11 in Mac-mini.

    Thank-you so much!
  5. micvog thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    Hi John Blue.

    I ran DataRescue the same day I lost the e-mails and it was unable to recover any of them, presumably because that portion of the disk had already been overwritten. Have you run a scan of your hard drive using DataRescue? It should list all of the files available for recovery and allow you to recover them. A scan will not do any damage to your computer or other files.

    If you haven't installed it yet, do you own another Mac? You might want to install DataRescue on the other Mac, and attach the Mac Mini in Target Disk mode. The problem is that the portion of your hard disk containing the deleted e-mails is now "empty" according to the OS, and it may over-write those sectors when using the computer, especially when installing a program. Perhaps the Apple Store would help. The Northridge store is good - I bought my iMac rev. A from them.

  6. John Blue macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    Micvog? Is this going to you?


    How do I find you? Where am I? What is a thread?

    Why can't you email me? I don't like this forum stuff. I just want advice. Where can I get advice?

    I have been at this two weeks, and not one bit of advice, only harassment.

    Why can't you email me?

    My backup computer had the same emails and has not been touched. Can I recover the emails from that?

    I can't wait to get out of this place. It is very confusing. Is this going to you, micvog? I have no idea what I am doing....
  7. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    First things first, calm down!

    Secondly, a 'thread' is a page of related messages, just like this page. A forum is a just whole bunch of threads.

    If the laptop with all your emails on it has not been touched since you deleted your POP account then that is good. It means all the emails should still be on your laptop's hard drive and have not been overwritten by other data as you continue using your computer. This 'overwriting ' business is why you can't recover files to the same drive you're trying to recover them from, so you need a separate hard drive. And so..

    If you have Data Rescue, here's what you do:

    1. Use a firewire cable to connect your laptop to your Mac Mini. If you don't have one, buy one.

    2. Start your laptop and don't do anything else except go to System Preferences and select the Startup Disk icon. In the window that appears there is a button at the lower right named 'Target Disk Mode'. Click this - the laptop will now restart (when you click restart) and its hard drive with all the (hidden) emails on it will now act as an external hardrive visible to your Mac Mini.

    3. Make sure your laptop's hard drive now appears on your Mac Mini as an extra drive. If it's there, don't touch it.

    4. Install Data Rescue onto your Mac Mini's hard drive. Enter the serial number etc.

    5. Run Data Rescue and do the 'quick scan and retrieve' on your laptop's hard drive.

    6. If the emails are still there, Data Rescue will reveal the main folder they are all in - and voila, you can now copy them onto your Mac Mini's hard drive from your laptop's hard drive.

    NB. To bring all those emails back into Mail again, you have to open Mail and do the old 'Import Mailboxes' routine from wherever you've told Data Rescue to copy the recovered files to on your Mac Mini (or copy the recovered files back to your laptop and do it there).

    Hope that helps. Good luck.
  8. John Blue macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    Total failure

    Awmazz or whomever reads this --

    Your suggestions as to how to recover my accidentally deleted POP account emails in was a total failure. Nothing remotely went anyway like you suggested and I almost lost all my .MAC EMAILS to boot! A total of 5 people at the Glendale Galleria Apple Store tried to follow your advice which I printed out, but no one could get anywhere. I spent 5 hours there! We eventually threw your paper out, as it bore no relation to reality.

    We struggled through Data Recover II on our own, but it also was too complex and unrelated to the reality before us. It recovered some stuff, but nothng would open or import in MAIL!!! And even some disappeared. Nothing went like is supposed to in either my laptop or mini as you suggested. We tried both. Easy! HUH!

    What a waste of time and money!

    And I still have not recovered my lost 3,000 POP Account emails!

    I have been all over the internet, and no one there can seem to know how do it either.

    A total of 17 different people in 3 APPLE STORE Genius Bars have now been at this for a month and no one can help me. Not remotely!

    I go back to my original request. Can someone put me in touch with A REAL GENUINE MAC/MAIL EXPERT WORKING IN THE REAL WORLD so I can pay him or her A SMALL FORTUNE to recover my lost POP Account emails? Someone who knows what they are talking about. I'LL PAY CASH, DAMN IT!!!!!!!

    Someone in the Los Angeles area? I'd hate to have to fly someone in, but I will if I have to!

    I have now lost a month at this nonsense. NOT ONE PERSON ONLINE OR OFF KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING! It is ridiculous! Some geniuses! And it isn't me! I let them do it and they can't!

    How do I get in touch with this MICVOG guy who lives in LA and he also lost his emails but seems to have recovered some? Why can't people email me directly from here? I have lost a month in this silly board or forum or whatever it is, and I still have the same problem! How do I find anyone here or they me?

    How do I get in touch with MICVOG? He apparently lives in LA.


    I can't wait until this hell is over. Some "Brave New World!" It can't even figure out what is really a simple problem, or how to communicate properly.

    I apparently am the only person in the whole world who has accidently lost their POP Account emails because no one bothered to warn the consumer it might happen if they cleaned up a Preference File in Mail!

    What an honor -- and one I would happily do without!

    I'd rather go back to pen and paper.

    Think I will...
  9. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    This is not directed specifically to anyone in this thread but for anyone who has lost mail for whatever reason and is running Leopard with Time Machine if you start it when is the application in focus it will let you go back in time in your mail for as long as you've been doing backups.

    This is probably common knowledge to many but I actually didn't realize it until I inadvertently started Time Machine while Mail was in focus. Normally Time Machine just opens up with the Finder Window.

    I wish you all the best of luck in recovering your mail.
  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Same thing happened to me. I lost four years of emails, due to an inexperienced AT&T IT person who directed me to open up a new mail account...
    (I'd like to sue them since I was on the phone with them while it happened.)

    It's lost. It is up to us to remember that our downloaded mail is on our hard drive.

    Which reminds me to do the Leopard time machine thing now with our Mail.
  11. micvog thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    John Blue -

    I no longer live in L.A. and in any case I am not an IT professional.

  12. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Has it ever occurred to you that the reason it can not be retrieved is because it might not be there? Keeping that in mind, no matter how much someone knows or how hard they try will bring your data back. It sounds like you have made a valiant effort to retrieve your data will no success. That would most likely mean that it is no longer there. You can't expect people to do something that is imposable and then get upset with them because your ridiculous expectations were not met.
  13. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Did any of the other contributors to this thread get multiple rambling, obnoxious copies of a private message from John Blue? It seems he was trying to post to this thread but couldn't even figure out how to do that right. My god, if that guy is for real he is a customer service rep's singular worst nightmare.

    I'd copy/paste what he wrote here but I think I'll spare you all. I was just wondering if I was the only one lucky enough to get his vitriol.

    I'm not entirely sure the guy is for real personally. His messages read like the elementary guide to flamebaiting.
  14. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I did. Who the heck is this guy? Either he is from another country that does not have the graciousness and understanding of the rules of free speech/internet engagement OR he is an older rich dude who lives oblivious to the rest of the world. In my PMs he states he has retrieved all of his old emails after overwriting them for six weeks. Only a Chinese Pentagon hacker could perform that kind of retrieval, so I remain dubious. And if the emails were retrievable, I am dubious of any low fee for something that Apple fanbois have not already figured out.

    Here is John Blues pm to me:

    Deleted email accounts are now all completely recovered!

    In regards to the insulting message sent to me by MacForums itself, they are wrong again, and once more proved they are undeserving of the name "Forum" much less "Mac."

    The deleted emails, of course, were always in my computer as I have said. I have been using Macs for 20+ years. I knew exactly what I was talking about.

    When the entire internet and all the MacForum "experts" could not figure out the solution, I can't be faulted for not knowing what to do or getting frustrated.

    And "DataRescue II" as recommended by someone in Australia was worthless. A wasted $100! It couldn't do it, much less open the emails that it did manage to drag up. He was also all wrong.

    But I finally found a computer literate person who did know what he was doing, and recovered my accidentally deleted POP Account emails!

    Even after one month of overwriting my lost email as I scoured the internet for unavailable help, or tried to figure out this ridiculously complex forum site -- a young man of 28 came over to my office and for an extremely modest sum, retrieved 7,000 Inbox emails and 3,000 Sent emails, all perfectly restored and done in only one day!


    I am now happy and content. I rest assured there is someone in the world who knows what they are doing in computers and in assisting people.

    I leave his business address below. For I am discovering there is a world of people out there that this has happened to and they could use him.

    It is an issue MacForums ought to be addressing in a major way, if they are indeed a forum for assistance and advice, and not a safe harbor for arrogant techie managers with the dispositions of constipated warthogs.



    Please pass him on! And he is a nice guy!

    What a wasted six weeks.

    Now how do I get out of here?

    Is this going to the thread of postings about lost email? That is where I want to be, but I cannot comprehend this god-forsaken complex website.

    I would like it to get out so people can retrieve their lost emails. How do I get there?

    They need to know there is hope for lost email recovery.

    How do I get there?

    Here is my PM to JOHN BLUE NEWBIE:

    Hey J Blue. I'm a girl who is in SoCal and I've been on the forums for a few years.

    I don't know if you are a rich older dude or what, but you seem to be "projecting" an erroneous attitude about the nature of Mac Rumors, and the internet at large. First of all Mac Rumors is a ridiculously EASY site to navigate. Second, no one on the internet OWES you anything in terms of advice, even if you are willing to pay.

    Your missives have violated the basic good will and good faith feeling/agreement that holds the discussion and help forums here and elsewhere together.

    My suggestion? Treat others as you yourself would be treated. This is the second commandment and, truly, it's how the internet goes round.
  15. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    Same here.

    Considering he has no idea how to navigate a simple web forum at even the most basic level, there was no way he was going to succeed himself anyway.

    Which is what I should have written instead - go pay someone to fix it for him instead and stop wasting everyone's time and whinging that they're wasting his.
  16. modeca macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008
    Jeez, I can't believe this guy!!!

    I got to this forum trying to solve a problem for a friend with exactly the same issue. I felt compelled to post just because of this guy's arrogant attitude.

    For someone who has been using Macs for 20 years he sure has a poor attitude to the idea of the internet community and the altruistic nature of support forums.

    Anyway, I think I got my answer from this VERY HELPFUL forum .I'm gonna try the data recovery route and cross my fingers.

    I'm very tempted to send Mr Jones a PM with some helpful instructions on how to use ( these really difficult things (sarcasm)) called forums. And also maybe warn him not to p**s people off on internet communities because they might end up posting his email address on a public site.

    We wouldn't want his email ending up on a spam list would we.........;)
  17. John Blue macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2008
    I did retrieve all accidentally deleted Mailbox emails! 10,000!

    Yes, inded I did retrieve all 10,000 accidentally deleted Mailbox emails, but from no one here.

    And if I "rambled" in my postings, it was in frustration in trying to be clear about what had happened, as no one here was getting it straight.

    If I "raged," it was because all their solutions were wrong and costing me time and money. (I guess no one here works for a living...)

    I finally found a private party who did it right.

    However, I find it instructive that "Modeca's" methodology in helping someone struggling with a computer problem for two months is to threaten to make their name public to spammers in contravention of your own vaunted and stated rules as a helpful public forum that will "do no evil."

    I will forward the threat to the appropriate authorities, and if I find myself inundated with junk, they will know exactly where to look.

    I have had numerous responding emails from others that also could not retrieve their accidentally deleted Mailbox emails and could not find solutions is this "help" forum or others run by techies and not real people from the real world.

    I simply and honestly forwarded these requests for help to the address of a true and helpful computer genius who indeed retrieved all 10,000 of my emails, even after 2 months of overwriting while I searched for help. I GOT THEM ALL BACK!!!!! It was fun to help them, and what this place should have been.

    I certainly did not find an answer here! I was "arrogant" in thinking I'd find help here. Every single solution offered was dead wrong. That's fine, and a hazard of life getting info from amateur volunteers. But don't expect me to be happy about it. I am not an expert. I though you all were. I apologize for thinking you all knew more than I. And I admit -- I am a dummy, especially for coming here.

    What I did find here was a slagging. Fine. I await the day you have a pressing problem, and seek an answer here. I visited looking for help, and I leave as fast as I can fearing for my life. Sorry to have bothered anyone. I must have misread the title "help" forum, when it was "hell" forum. My mistake.

    I would like to withdraw from this forum. Is that clear and short enough?

    I repeat, out of mortal fear for my life and from vicious postings from P****d pre-pubescent boys, I flee for my life! I ask all to forget I was ever here. Is that humble enough? Moreover, if I could, I'd erase every posting here of mine, except for those that came to me for help with the same problem. I was glad I could assist them.

    They also didn't find help here.

    "Modeca" only confirms that this is neither the place for help, nor the center of mature postings, nor a forum for discussion. Others who tell me they lost their emails, have also gone elsewhere. I gave them the name of the very nice fellow who saved 10,000 of my emails, but I will not divulge his name here.

    He also might get threatened. For he is a true helper and sharer of wisdom. He obviously will not find a welcome home here.

    My new friends in other forums are forwarding his name so others can retrieve their lost email. They are sharing him even now. I've actually made new friends who help! And don't have a confusing website...

    It seems it is a HUGE problem, and I was not alone. And now LEOPARD has the same problem but worse??

    Can someone in MAC FORUMS tell me how to unsubscribe from this place? I want nothing more to do with it.

    I leave it to the "Modecas" of the world.

    Let them devour each other...
  18. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    This guy is clearly not for real so I suggest everyone just ruin his day and not give him the flames he so clearly desires.

    Noone is that ungrateful, ill-mannered, totally devoid of gratitude and decorum. He's a troll folks and ignore him and he'll go away.

    I suspect he would already have been out of our lives forever had not someone rattled his cage. :p
  19. samgribbles macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2008
    Johnny Blue you are a star.

    This has to be one of the funniest threads I've ever been to. Actually it is the funniest.

    It compelled me to go through the registration process just to post this reply.

    I was Googling for a Mac related mail issue when I found this gem.

    This John Blue guy is hilarious. He reminds me of Grandpa Simpson.
    A confused, rambling old crank.

    I'm trying to be nice because I haven't laughed this much for a while.
    So thanks John you have made my day. I'm still laughing.

    I've sent this thread to a lot of people.

    Now how do I get out of here? This is so confusing. (hilarious!!)
  20. nswearin macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2008
    Yay for John Blue

    I would have to agree. This was funny. However, I also find it sad. John was projecting his frustration onto this site, but after he did that instead of being kind to him most people started ragging on him.

    As for the possiblity to recover data that's been over written, well it is possible. I use to have an app that would examine the drive and indicate if it was recoverable or not and indicate how many times it's been written over. Basically what the software will do is tell the Hard Drive to offset the reading head of the HDD ever so slightly to see the data bits that were previously entered onto that same bits position. (keep in mind every time data is written over something else the original leaves trace magnetic markers indicating what it was before)

    As for the Chinese Pentagon Hacker comment ... well it does not take that but the software I had was reportedly to be utilized by Forensic specialists and was able to detect over written data, I believe, upto 4 times. This is why, if I had anything to hid, I would low level format my drive about 7 times. But I digress.

    Please remember when you're talking about the 2nd commandment to remember it for yourself *not ment to direct that at the one that said it specificaly but to all*

    Oh and pardon my spelling (hukt awn fawnix werkt phor mee)
  21. Hogshead macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2008
    I fully agree with California and Immanuel Kant!

    Looking for a way to retrieve a accidentally deleted e-mail account I felt encouraged by the solution from awmazz. Because of the mental discussion I could not find a confirmation of his solution. So I tried a similar solution with FileSalvage, what I bought a year ago. I worked wonderfull!

    1. Connect a FireWire drive to the eMac (Mac OS X 10.4.11)
    2. Open System Preferences 'Energy' and avoid that the could fall asleep
    3. Download a copy of FileSalvage (you can buy the license after you approved the application)
    4. install and open FileSalvage
    5. Choose the first option: Recover Deleted Files
    6. Choose the right drive to recover
    7. Click the button 'Undelete'
    8. Specify a directory on the connected FireWire drive
    9. Start the process and be patient, it could take hours
    10. A time bar shows the process
    11. When finished start the File Name Rebuilder (it took less than an hour for 21,000 recovered files)
    12. You will find a new directory 'Undeleted (date today)' with al the recovered files
    13. For now I'm only interested in the lost e-mails, the are in the directories Mail ( received email) and Mail ( sent email) in the format number.emix
    14. Just drag and drop them on the icon of Mail to open them
    15. Select a message and choose 'Message' > 'Move to' and then a postbox and continue until you recovered them all.
  22. Ntombi macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2008
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
  23. Pixelgun macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2008
    I did the same stupid thing as Micvog. Then I found this thread and sifted through the drama to see if I could find a solution to my problem. And behold I got all my e-mail back! So the advice to use Data Rescue (Data Rescue II in my case) was good advice. Maybe the part that confounded John Blue was that he just didn't know what to do with it. Here's what I did.

    I used the Expert mode and clicked on the Deleted Files icon to scan my disk for deleted files since I knew that had essentially deleted the mailbox and all the messages there in. After waiting 40 mins or so I was able to find and recover three folders titles Apple Mail, Apple Mail1, and Apple Mail2. Inside those folders were email message files (.emlx I think).

    Now I had folders of messages but no way to get them back into However I found an old mailbox file in a backup so I decided to make a copy of the INBOX mailbox (option dragged it to my desktop) and try dumping all the messages I recovered into that. Then I just used to import that mailbox (File>Import Mailboxes...) which resulted in a new folder icon under the On My Mac section in the left hand margin of the the mail window. Finally to get all my messages back into the right place (I had recreated the lost account with the same name) I just opened the imported inbox selected all the messages and dragged and dropped them into the inbox for the account where they needed to be. Voila!

    So, thanks for the suggestion of Data Rescue. I'm sorry John Blue didn't have the patience, fortitude, or someone to hold his hand and walk him through a data recovery that for me was mostly painless.
  24. Brian K Chicago macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    Data Rescue Worked for me too!!!

    Just wanted to post that I was able to successfully use Data Rescue II as well!

    I booted my computer from a USB hard drive that had a copy of my system installed on it. I downloaded and installed the Data Rescue II software on the USB hard drive. The quick scan did not find anything, but I ran the Deleted File tool and after about an hour found all of my deleted e-mail. It was exactly where pixelgun said it would be. I saved it and rebooted on my internal hard drive and found my INBOX.mbox file in the mail folder in the Library section and option dragged it to my desktop. I copied the messages into the message folder in the copied inbox and imported it into the mail program. Worked like a charm! Got everything back! I feel sorry for the guy that spent months trying to recover his messages, but I really don't know why he had problems. I'm new to Mac and have only been using one for a couple of weeks. Maybe my understanding of file structures from years of cumbersome PC use paid off in being able to locate the messages.

    Thanks to all of you who posted solutions! Other than having to spend the $100 on Data Rescue this was pretty painless and the software may come in handy later.:D
  25. xtclive macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2009
    Thanks to Brian K and Pixelgun! Your solution and feedback worked for me. I wanted to post my comments here to help others in the same situation as well.

    I managed to recover parts of my email but I suppose it's better than nothing at all.

    One tool that will help was the emlx to mbox converter which allowed me to import the emlx files into Apple Mail. Download the free tool here:

    Other than spending $99 for Data Rescue which worked like a charm, the entire process was not painful at all.

    Great work guys!

Share This Page