Archive for October 17th, 2005

How to recover from Mac OS 10.4 E-Mail problems.

Monday, October 17th, 2005

In Mac OS 10.3 all the messages for each inbox was stored in one file with a .MBOX ending. These files could be backed up and swapped when Mail.app (The geeky name for Apple’s Mail program) wasn’t running. This made creating backups and restoring them very easy.

The most compelling reason to use Mail.app is it’s search features, and in OS 10.4 these features have been expanded, however, to allow for the individual indexing and searching of E-Mails via Spotlight Apple spilt those big .MBOX files into individual .emlx files. So far Apple has not provided any means to import or recover these files, only to import the .MBOX standard that many other mail clients use, including the old version of Mail.app from OS 10.3 and before.

These are the steps I went through to recover my mail after I accidentally allowed a filter to delete all my mail. This might also help for people who use POP E-Mail accounts and had their computer stolen or lost a hard-drive. For most accounts I use IMAP mail boxes, but if you delete the E-Mails on the server IMAP’s ability to keep all your mail clients in sync is lost (and you look like an idiot).

emlx files

Step 1: Have a backup.

I know that cuts a lot of you out right now, but I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve been told to backup your files. (Future entries will cover how to backup your files.) If you don’t have a backup of your Mail files you might be able to make a copy of ~/Library/Mail and work from there (~ stands for your home folder).

Step 2: Ways to recover the .emlx files
Try each until it proves fruitless and move to the next strategy: