Time Machine Mail recovery failure

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jayess, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. jayess macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
    I have tried to recover my Archive >On My Mac folder in Mail. I opened Time Machine, found the deleted folder and clicked Restore. The screen returned to Mail and a dialogue box opened stating that the folder was being restored, but it wasn't. Time Machine is supposed to create a folder in the side bar of Mail which contains the restored e-mails, that didn't happen either. I'd be grateful if anyone can suggest a fix to recover these e-mails. My operating system is Sierra 10.12.3
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Something you could try (no promises):

    Open TM and again locate the folder you wish to restore.

    Manually "drag and drop" it onto your desktop.

    Now, quit TM and open Mail.

    In Mail's "file" menu, choose "import mailboxes".

    Navigate to the folder on the desktop. Is Mail able to import the stuff in the folder?
    NOTE: you may have to do some "rearranging" inside Mail once it's done.

    Does this work?
    Let us know.
  3. jayess thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
    If I open T.M. and go to the folder I want to restore the only thing the application allows is to select the date and time of the back up file or folder and click on "restore" which, as I have said, does not work. You cannot open or manipulate any file or folder in T.M. hence it cannot be dragged to the desktop.
    Neither can the folder be located in the external drive containing the backups. The mail is contained, I am told, in ~/Library/Mail/V2. Following this path only leads to a file "accounts.plist". Again a dead end.
    Either Mail or T.M. are malfunctioning so is the solution a reinstallation of one or both? The inability to restore this particular folder is a minor annoyance but what is concerning me is that if T.M. is not working then that means I have no backup at all, which is a serious matter.
  4. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Mail is one of the most difficult things to recover using Time Machine. Having said that... what works for me is to first open the Mail app and keep it open. Then enter Time Machine and choose a date to recover from. Time Machine should then go to mail on the date you chose. From there you'll need to find the folder you wish to recover and select it. Time Machine will ask where you wish to recover it to.

    As an aside... I do not depend on Time Machine alone for backups. In addition to Time Machine I use Carbon Copy Cloner. Some folks also use an off site backup plan plus Time Machine and CCC.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I agree with chscag above.
    If you want backups you can rely upon, use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper...
  6. jayess thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
    Thank you for your inputs. I have downloaded CCC and I think that is the way I'll go. This sort of thing can't be doing Apple's reputation any good. I sometimes wonder if Apple's commitment to good reliable engineering, which I was always happy to pay for, died with Steve Jobs.
  7. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    When was the archive deleted?

    In Sierra, emails are not principally located in V2 anymore, but in V4. Check there as well. This is a bug in Mail, not Time Machine. Apple has changed the format twice now within two years (V2 → V3 → V4) and it would not surprise me if this has broken the ability to restore via Time Machine.

    CCC or SuperDuper cannot help you with restoring particular Mail folders in Mail either.

    Mail has always been... challenged. It was bad even when Jobs was around.
  8. jayess thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
  9. jayess thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
    The story of the archive deletion is this. When I decided, quite some time ago, to archive e-mails of possible future interest, Mail created not one but two folders "on My Mac" each containing the same messages. I simply ignored this particular quirk, however three days ago I decided to archive another e-mail and, on a whim, thought I might get rid of one of the duplicated folders. When i deleted one folder the other disappeared also and I thought all I had to do was recover the folder by Time Machine. That is how I wound up in the situation as outlined in my original posting.
    You are quite right, I have found that the e-mails are now in V4 not V2.
    As I said in my posting #3, the problem could be in Time Machine or Mail, your advice leads me to continue using Time Machine and perhaps run CCC as well.

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8 February 3, 2017