How can I fix my Mac Mail software after deleting some folders?

Kate McDermott March 13, 2012
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I’ve deleted the files Envelope Index and OpenedAttachments in the Library/Mail folder, and also deleted the folder Mail downloads. After importing all the messages again, mail won’t open and spinning wheel spins until I force quit and try again. I’m stuck. What should I do?

  1. Mike
    March 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    As Mulder said it would be interesting to know why you forced Apple Mail into re-indexing the messages in the first place. Did you experience any issues before and if yes, what exactly?

    Apple Mail being "stuck" with the spinning wheel can have several reasons for example a damaged com.apple.mail.plist, a corrupt message within one of the folders etc...

    general troubleshooting for spinning wheel:
    1. force quit the hanging Application and quit all others
    2. open up Disk Utility and run a "Repair Disk Permissions"
    3. go into "~/Library/Caches/" and delete it's contents
    4. restart your Mac

    last resort troubleshooting for Apple Mail:
    1. backup/move the Mail folder from "~/Library"
    2. backup/move the com.apple.mail.plist from "~/Library/Preferences"
    3. delete the original folder and plist
    * If you moved the originals DON'T delete them, obviously 
    4. open Apple Mail 
    .
    Apple Mail should now be in it's default state - no emails, no accounts and showing a welcome message. Now, it's up to you whether you setup the accounts first or select to import (File > Import Mailboxes...) the backed up emails and folders.

    You may want to import them in batches, not all at the same time. I also suggest after opening Apple Mail to open the Activity window ("Window > Activity", alt+cmd+0) to monitor what is going on in the background.

    If you are using IMAP or Exchange you only have to setup the email accounts and only import the emails/folders which were saved locally.

  2. Anonymous
    March 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

    choose Mailbox > Rebuild Mailbox
    The rebuilding process may take from several minutes to several hours, depending on the size of your mailboxes

    Quit Mail, then I'd backup these two Mail folders, by right clicking on them in the Finder, then choose Archive/Compress.
    Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail
    Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail Downloads
    then move it to a safe place

    selectively reinstall Mail
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1442?viewlocale=en_US
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1710?viewlocale=en_US

  3. Mulder
    March 13, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Why did you delete any of those things to begin with, especially when you don't know what will happen when you do that? Why did you think you needed to import your mail again?

    Deleting the Envelope Index file has nothing to do with importing email, nor does deleting the OpenedAttachments file.

    How many email accounts do you have and what kind are they, POP or IMAP?