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Mail Rebuild Mailbox problem

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I did try searching the forum for this, but couldn't find an apt. answer, so please excuse me if this is something that has been covered before.

My boss had a problem with mail displaying the following message in one of his mailboxes:

"Message has not been downloaded from the server, take this account online to view."

So he did a rebuild and it appears to have deleted all the mail!

Now as far as I am aware, a mailbox rebuild just rebuilds the database files. So any ideas what has happened to his mail or how this can be resolved?
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
Anyone?
post #3 of 16
Now that's interesting, because the same thing happened to me, although I had guessed -- wrongly, I'm thinking now -- that i lost the messages BEFORE I did the rebuild:

I was doing year-end housekeeping and moved a few thousand messages from my Inbox to another mailbox that I created for archiving. They seemed to move over okay, but then I couldn't find one I was looking for, when I did a search. So I did a re-build, and subsequently found that all 3000+ messages that I had moved, were gone. Poof!

Now that sounds like a major bug.

The good news is that I was backed up. The bad news is that I am having trouble importing the messages out of the backed up INBOX.mbox file -- see my separate msg, title, "Importing mailboxes on Mail: how get Mail to "see" messages".

Good luck,
Angus
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Angus
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post #4 of 16
[QUOTE=Angus McCallum;1050118]
I was doing year-end housekeeping and moved a few thousand messages from my Inbox to another mailbox that I created for archiving. They seemed to move over okay, but then I couldn't find one I was looking for, when I did a search. So I did a re-build, and subsequently found that all 3000+ messages that I had moved, were gone. Poof!

Now that sounds like a major bug.
/QUOTE]

Same thing just happened to me on 10.3.9. Did you solved the problem?
post #5 of 16
No, I never solved the problem.

I have the backup file of an appropriate size (gigs), but when i restore, all I get in the mailbox database is the message headers. The bodies of the messages are not retrieved. All that is displayed is the message:

"Message has not been downloaded from the server, take this account online to view."

which is unhelpful.

It looks like something for which there should be an easy fix. The data is there, but Mail is not accessing it.

It would be great to have a solution to this problem.
Angus
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Angus
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post #6 of 16
Same problem in OS X 10.3.9.. Same message. I lost all messages in several mailboxes. A few months later, same thing in several mailboxes. I force quit Mail and when I rebooted Mail, the messages ("Message has not been downloaded from the server, take this account online to view.") were gone and the e-mails reappeared. I have no idea if the force quit and reboot was the answer or not because some time elapsed between the two.
During that time, I was doing other things on the computer.
Any other experiences???
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post #7 of 16
When Mail sometimes inappropriately displays the message:

"Message has not been downloaded from the server, take this account online to view."

it seems to mean that the database indexing has become corrupted. Mail fails to display the contents of some or all of the messages in the affected mailbox. The 'rebuild' command seems unlikely to help and may make things worse.

ONLY In the case where there is a backup, one solution is to (re-)import the affected mailbox from the backup file. In Mail, File/Import Mailboxes starts a wizard that walks you through the steps. A new, gray, mailbox labelled Import (/Import1 / Import 2 etc.) will appear in the mail sidebar.

IMPORTANT: Once you open any imported mailbox, mail will start indexing its contents, displaying a message in the status bar, first that it is 'updating colors' (sounds suspicious), then that it is indexing. You would think that this is a robust process, but it ain't so, Joe. It seems to me that interruption of this process is what leads to corruption of mailbox databases and the inappropriate error message above. YOU HAVE TO LEAVE IT ALONE TO FINISH THIS INDEXING PROCESS. That means, DO NOT QUIT MAIL UNTIL IT'S FINISHED. And to be on the safe side, don't do anything that might tax it's little brain too much, like starting another import or switching a lot around between mailboxes to see how things are going there.

This falls short of a solution, in that it only tells us how to prevent an error that should not occur anyway, and how to fix if you're backed up. Clearly, there is a weakness in the software her. Subsequent "security updates" may have rectified this bug, or they may not. Don't hold your breath waiting for Apple to 'fess up.
Angus
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Angus
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post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus McCallum View Post

When Mail sometimes inappropriately displays the message:

"Message has not been downloaded from the server, take this account online to view."

it seems to mean that the database indexing has become corrupted. Mail fails to display the contents of some or all of the messages in the affected mailbox. The 'rebuild' command seems unlikely to help and may make things worse.

ONLY In the case where there is a backup, one solution is to (re-)import the affected mailbox from the backup file. In Mail, File/Import Mailboxes starts a wizard that walks you through the steps. A new, gray, mailbox labelled Import (/Import1 / Import 2 etc.) will appear in the mail sidebar.

IMPORTANT: Once you open any imported mailbox, mail will start indexing its contents, displaying a message in the status bar, first that it is 'updating colors' (sounds suspicious), then that it is indexing. You would think that this is a robust process, but it ain't so, Joe. It seems to me that interruption of this process is what leads to corruption of mailbox databases and the inappropriate error message above. YOU HAVE TO LEAVE IT ALONE TO FINISH THIS INDEXING PROCESS. That means, DO NOT QUIT MAIL UNTIL IT'S FINISHED. And to be on the safe side, don't do anything that might tax it's little brain too much, like starting another import or switching a lot around between mailboxes to see how things are going there.

This falls short of a solution, in that it only tells us how to prevent an error that should not occur anyway, and how to fix if you're backed up. Clearly, there is a weakness in the software her. Subsequent "security updates" may have rectified this bug, or they may not. Don't hold your breath waiting for Apple to 'fess up.

Thanks for the update. The problem has popped up several times since my last post, but I was able to bring back the messages by doing a Force Quit on Mail and then reopening Mail. By sheer ignorance, I did this a month ago and it worked, but I didn't know if it were just a fluke or if that worked all the time. Once I tried a rebuild and lost everything in the mail box. Fortunately, it was the trash box.
So far, about 4 times, the Force Quit HAS worked. Again, I don't know if this is really a cure or if I just lucked out.
I copied your post and will keep it on my desktop to remind me - in case my old cure stops working. Also this is a wake up call to back up more often.
Again, thanks for going to the trouble of digging into the problem.
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post #9 of 16
" ------------has not been downloaded from the server. You need to take this account online in order to download it."

I believe I may have found the root of the above problem. It appears in my "Sent" mailbox and past attempts to remedy it do not work any more.

When I click on "Sent" arrow, two boxes appear: "On My Mac" and "Comcast". My sent messages appear ONLY in the "Comcast" (my ISP) and trying to open them results in the above error message.

I tried drag and drop from 'Comcast' to 'On My Mac'. No luck - error message "The message could not be moved to the mailbox "Sent Messages - On My Mac.

In the top area of AppleMail mailboxes, 'In', "Out", "Drafts", etc., there may be an 'open' triangle. Click on it and see if the ISP box is there. If there are messages in the ISP box, the above error message may apply. Except for the 'sent' messages', I went through them and deleted the ISP boxes. I don't know if that will help or cause additional problems, but at least I won't get the error messages.

For whatever reason, my outgoing messages do not get saved in "On My Mac". NOW, that may be the problem, but I can't find the solution. HELP!!!! Suggestions PLEASE. How can I get outgoing messages saved in "On My Mac"?

To date, I have not saved outgoing messages from my ISP, but I am going to do that from now on. At least I'll still have those sent messages even if they aren't in AppleMail.

UPDATE: Apparently, Comcast does NOT save messages sent from AppleMail. Back to square one. Suggestions anyone.
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post #10 of 16
By ""Sent" arrow", do you mean the 'flippy triangle' to the left of 'Sent' in the mailboxes listing to the left (or sometimes right) of the viewer window? You click on the flippy triangle once and "On My Mac" and "Comcast" sub-folder names appear below?

When you set up email accounts, Mail creates these sub-folders automatically - in your Sent folder and your In and Drafts folders, too. "On my Mac" is a kind of catch-all subfolder that is created when you drag messages into In or Sent, say, withoug putting thm into a specific sub-folder corresponding to a particular email account.

It sounds to me as though some or all messages in your 'Comcast' subfolder(s) are not being stored on your computer, but only on the server of Comcast, your ISP. This would result from the preferences set in Mail [Mail/Preferences/Accounts]. In this case, moving the 'title' of any given message from a 'Comcast' subfolder to any other folder only moves the record of that message, not the message itself (which is still sitting miles away somewhere on Comcast's server).

If you want to keep/archive all your email on your computer, you need to make your settings accordingly. The only thing i find puzzling about your story is that I would have expected all your space at the Comcast server to have been filled up by now, since this has been going on for a long time, unless you have a very low volume of messages, or an enormous space allocation at Comcast, or both. OR, unfortunately, unless your Mail settings are such as to delete mail from the ISP server after a certain period of time; I can't remember, but this may be the default setting when Mail ships. If that is the case, then, unfortunately, the bodies of most of the messages in your archive (everything but the most recent) are gone. Only the names / titles remain.

I hope that's not the case.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

" ------------has not been downloaded from the server. You need to take this account online in order to download it."

I believe I may have found the root of the above problem. It appears in my "Sent" mailbox and past attempts to remedy it do not work any more.

When I click on "Sent" arrow, two boxes appear: "On My Mac" and "Comcast". My sent messages appear ONLY in the "Comcast" (my ISP) and trying to open them results in the above error message.

I tried drag and drop from 'Comcast' to 'On My Mac'. No luck - error message "The message could not be moved to the mailbox "Sent Messages - On My Mac.

In the top area of AppleMail mailboxes, 'In', "Out", "Drafts", etc., there may be an 'open' triangle. Click on it and see if the ISP box is there. If there are messages in the ISP box, the above error message may apply. Except for the 'sent' messages', I went through them and deleted the ISP boxes. I don't know if that will help or cause additional problems, but at least I won't get the error messages.

For whatever reason, my outgoing messages do not get saved in "On My Mac". NOW, that may be the problem, but I can't find the solution. HELP!!!! Suggestions PLEASE. How can I get outgoing messages saved in "On My Mac"?

To date, I have not saved outgoing messages from my ISP, but I am going to do that from now on. At least I'll still have those sent messages even if they aren't in AppleMail.

UPDATE: Apparently, Comcast does NOT save messages sent from AppleMail. Back to square one. Suggestions anyone.
Angus
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Angus
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post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus McCallum View Post

By ""Sent" arrow", do you mean the 'flippy triangle' to the left of 'Sent' in the mailboxes listing to the left (or sometimes right) of the viewer window? You click on the flippy triangle once and "On My Mac" and "Comcast" sub-folder names appear below?

Yes. I mean the 'flippy triangle'.

Quote:
When you set up email accounts, Mail creates these sub-folders automatically - in your Sent folder and your In and Drafts folders, too. "On my Mac" is a kind of catch-all subfolder that is created when you drag messages into In or Sent, say, withoug putting thm into a specific sub-folder corresponding to a particular email account.

How do you set up where ALL sent messages are saved in "On My Mac"?

Quote:
It sounds to me as though some or all messages in your 'Comcast' subfolder(s) are not being stored on your computer, but only on the server of Comcast, your ISP. This would result from the preferences set in Mail [Mail/Preferences/Accounts]. In this case, moving the 'title' of any given message from a 'Comcast' subfolder to any other folder only moves the record of that message, not the message itself (which is still sitting miles away somewhere on Comcast's server).

No. They're Not being saved in "Sent" in Comcast. Only the messages I send from Comcast itself are saved in Comcast 'Sent'.

Quote:
If you want to keep/archive all your email on your computer, you need to make your settings accordingly.

How do I set that? I've tried, but apparently, I've not pushed the right buttons.

Quote:
The only thing i find puzzling about your story is that I would have expected all your space at the Comcast server to have been filled up by now, since this has been going on for a long time, unless you have a very low volume of messages, or an enormous space allocation at Comcast, or both. OR, unfortunately, unless your Mail settings are such as to delete mail from the ISP server after a certain period of time; I can't remember, but this may be the default setting when Mail ships. If that is the case, then, unfortunately, the bodies of most of the messages in your archive (everything but the most recent) are gone. Only the names / titles remain. I hope that's not the case.

I have a rather large amount of email traffic. It just isn't being saved in "Sent" in Comcast. Mail settings are set up to delete sent messages after One Month, but they're saved in 'Comcast' on my computer and not in Comcast itself. However, when I try to open them in "Comcast" on my computer, all I get is the error message: "has not been downloaded from the server. You need to take this account online in order to download it."

As you can see from previous posts to this thread, other AI members have had the same problem.

BEWARE - rebuilding deletes messages.
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post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

How do you set up where ALL sent messages are saved in "On My Mac"?

I doubt that's possible, since Mail will always file messages in the subfolder corresponding to the appropriate email account. You could move them manually.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

No. They're Not being saved in "Sent" in Comcast. Only the messages I send from Comcast itself are saved in Comcast 'Sent'.

Sorry, don't understand "the messages I send from Comcast itself". How many email accounts do you have set up in Mail?



Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

How do I set that? I've tried, but apparently, I've not pushed the right buttons.

Go to Mail/Preferences/Accounts and click the Advanced tab. Make sure a valid folder path is entered in Account Directory. Make sure the 'prompt me to skip mesages' box is empty. Enable This Account and Include When Automatically Checking for New Mail should be checked.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

I have a rather large amount of email traffic. It just isn't being saved in "Sent" in Comcast.

You are using Mail to send email messages from your Comcast acct?
Angus
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Angus
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post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus McCallum View Post

I doubt that's possible, since Mail will always file messages in the subfolder corresponding to the appropriate email account. You could move them manually.

Sometimes, when I try to move messages from Comcast 'Sent" (in Mail) to On My Mac "Sent", I get an error message and they don't move.

Quote:
Sorry, don't understand "the messages I send from Comcast itself". How many email accounts do you have set up in Mail?

When I am in Comcast and send a message from my account there, the message is saved in Comcast 'Sent'. The messages sent from AppleMail go out through Comcast but do not get saved in Comcast 'Sent'.


Quote:
Go to Mail/Preferences/Accounts and click the Advanced tab. Make sure a valid folder path is entered in Account Directory. Make sure the 'prompt me to skip mesages' box is empty. Enable This Account and Include When Automatically Checking for New Mail should be checked.

That's the way Mail/Preferences/Accounts/Advanced has been set up already.

From when Mail was set up around five years ago until about January, 2007, everything worked as it should. In January, the problem started.
For the intervening months, I was able to work around it by Force Quitting mail and rebooting it. I also used your solution in #7 of this tread.
About a month ago, NOTHING would correct it.

Quote:
You are using Mail to send email messages from your Comcast acct?

I'm assuming when I send messages from AppleMail, it goes out through Comcast, not from my Comcast email account. How else would it go if not through my ISP? I'm assuming this because replies are sent to comcast; ergo, my correspondence are seeing the Comcast heading and replying to it. If there is another way, please explain how.
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post #14 of 16
If your emails aren't opening or..
.... if you can read the subject on the emails BUT the contents of the emails are blank....
.... or if you get a message when you click on your emails that says "cannot download from the server"

Then you may have a corrupt mail preference file.
This can result from interruptions in indexing and other erroneous computer errors.

I recommend the following solution:

1) back up your entire mail folder.

Method a)
To do this *using Mac OS X 10.5.4" you can select all your mailboxes (one my one - or by multiple selecting all of them) and click on "archive mailbox" located in the "mailbox" menu on the top.

It will ask you where you want to save your mbox files. You are welcome to choose whatever location you like. Although at this point it would be wise to create a new folder that is labeled "My Old Mailboxes".

Method b)
An easier way to backup your entire mail folder is to:
QUIT MAIL
Then simply go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Library/Mail ....

Grab the entire "Mail" folder in your Library and move it to your desktop.
Also go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Preferences/ and locate the file com.apple.mail.plist and also drag it to your desktop.

Both this folder "mail" and the "com.apple.mail.plist" are now your backups. Keep them safe as they are your originals.

(At this point it's important to point out that the com.apple.mail.plist is probably the corrupt culprit but if you want to retain all your information you MUST keep this file intact along with the "mail" folder as is.)


2) once you have backed up your entire mail through the above methods go ahead and launch your mail (that you had quit).

It will ask you to reset up your account.
It will then proceeed to download everything off from the server and you should be able to see all your mail.

If you want to bring back your mailboxes and other email you had all you have to do is go to "import" in the file menu and select Mac OS X Mail, and choose and locate the "mail" folder you had already saved.

It will import everything into a folder call import and you can view all the contents in it.

WARNING: IF your com.apple.mail.plist was corrupted then chances are some of the files that were saved in the inbox may also have been corrupted and are unretrievable.

But if you can see the files and read everything in them you are in luck.


BAsically what we have done is 1) saved your files and then 2) reset your mail.

The culprit was the dirty /corrupt com.apple.mail.plist which was removed.
By default Mac OS X creates a new (working ) com.apple.mail.plist when it sees that the file is not where it would be.


Hope this helps.
post #15 of 16
Thank you very much indeed for this clear and comprehensive reply. I appreciated the summary at the end. I am sure that this will work perfectly. I'm going to restore the lost mails from the Retrospect archive, re-import them, then follow your instrux.

Regards,

Quote:
Originally Posted by baberpervez View Post

If your emails aren't opening or..
.... if you can read the subject on the emails BUT the contents of the emails are blank....
.... or if you get a message when you click on your emails that says "cannot download from the server"

Then you may have a corrupt mail preference file.
This can result from interruptions in indexing and other erroneous computer errors.

I recommend the following solution:

1) back up your entire mail folder.

Method a)
To do this *using Mac OS X 10.5.4" you can select all your mailboxes (one my one - or by multiple selecting all of them) and click on "archive mailbox" located in the "mailbox" menu on the top.

It will ask you where you want to save your mbox files. You are welcome to choose whatever location you like. Although at this point it would be wise to create a new folder that is labeled "My Old Mailboxes".

Method b)
An easier way to backup your entire mail folder is to:
QUIT MAIL
Then simply go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Library/Mail ....

Grab the entire "Mail" folder in your Library and move it to your desktop.
Also go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Preferences/ and locate the file com.apple.mail.plist and also drag it to your desktop.

Both this folder "mail" and the "com.apple.mail.plist" are now your backups. Keep them safe as they are your originals.

(At this point it's important to point out that the com.apple.mail.plist is probably the corrupt culprit but if you want to retain all your information you MUST keep this file intact along with the "mail" folder as is.)


2) once you have backed up your entire mail through the above methods go ahead and launch your mail (that you had quit).

It will ask you to reset up your account.
It will then proceeed to download everything off from the server and you should be able to see all your mail.

If you want to bring back your mailboxes and other email you had all you have to do is go to "import" in the file menu and select Mac OS X Mail, and choose and locate the "mail" folder you had already saved.

It will import everything into a folder call import and you can view all the contents in it.

WARNING: IF your com.apple.mail.plist was corrupted then chances are some of the files that were saved in the inbox may also have been corrupted and are unretrievable.

But if you can see the files and read everything in them you are in luck.


BAsically what we have done is 1) saved your files and then 2) reset your mail.

The culprit was the dirty /corrupt com.apple.mail.plist which was removed.
By default Mac OS X creates a new (working ) com.apple.mail.plist when it sees that the file is not where it would be.


Hope this helps.
Angus
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Angus
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post #16 of 16
I just had the same experience and was despairing of having lost everything. I followed your instrux and great result - entire contents of my inbox is restored. Thank you so much. Only one thing - don't suppose there is any way of retrieving emails that were in the 'Sent' or 'Drafts' mailboxes? They are not to be found anywhere in the library/mail folder, seem to have disappeared.




Quote:
Originally Posted by baberpervez View Post

If your emails aren't opening or..
.... if you can read the subject on the emails BUT the contents of the emails are blank....
.... or if you get a message when you click on your emails that says "cannot download from the server"

Then you may have a corrupt mail preference file.
This can result from interruptions in indexing and other erroneous computer errors.

I recommend the following solution:

1) back up your entire mail folder.

Method a)
To do this *using Mac OS X 10.5.4" you can select all your mailboxes (one my one - or by multiple selecting all of them) and click on "archive mailbox" located in the "mailbox" menu on the top.

It will ask you where you want to save your mbox files. You are welcome to choose whatever location you like. Although at this point it would be wise to create a new folder that is labeled "My Old Mailboxes".

Method b)
An easier way to backup your entire mail folder is to:
QUIT MAIL
Then simply go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Library/Mail ....

Grab the entire "Mail" folder in your Library and move it to your desktop.
Also go into Macintosh HD/Users/YourUser/Preferences/ and locate the file com.apple.mail.plist and also drag it to your desktop.

Both this folder "mail" and the "com.apple.mail.plist" are now your backups. Keep them safe as they are your originals.

(At this point it's important to point out that the com.apple.mail.plist is probably the corrupt culprit but if you want to retain all your information you MUST keep this file intact along with the "mail" folder as is.)


2) once you have backed up your entire mail through the above methods go ahead and launch your mail (that you had quit).

It will ask you to reset up your account.
It will then proceeed to download everything off from the server and you should be able to see all your mail.

If you want to bring back your mailboxes and other email you had all you have to do is go to "import" in the file menu and select Mac OS X Mail, and choose and locate the "mail" folder you had already saved.

It will import everything into a folder call import and you can view all the contents in it.

WARNING: IF your com.apple.mail.plist was corrupted then chances are some of the files that were saved in the inbox may also have been corrupted and are unretrievable.

But if you can see the files and read everything in them you are in luck.


BAsically what we have done is 1) saved your files and then 2) reset your mail.

The culprit was the dirty /corrupt com.apple.mail.plist which was removed.
By default Mac OS X creates a new (working ) com.apple.mail.plist when it sees that the file is not where it would be.


Hope this helps.
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