mail.app, gmail, and a reformat and reinstall of snow leopard

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Joshua Whalen, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. I've had a mbp for a few years now. My old build of 10.4 was getting
    mighty creaky around the edges, including as it did elements from a
    build that went all the way back to 10.3 on a 17" PBG4. I decided to
    back everything up with retrospect, wipe the drive, reformat, and
    install a virgin build of snow leopard, and start the new decade fresh.

    All went well, excluding the to be expected snow leopard headaches,
    until I tried to restore my mail set up.

    I have several email accounts. Two Gmail pop accounts, and my panix.com
    pop account. I leave all messages on the server forever. This is my
    backup, absolutely essential since I use all the accounts
    professionally, and the inboxes on my ISP amount to my company's paper
    trail. I also never delete anything but spam from my desktop inboxes;
    that's the second set of copies. It's also my data base: type in a
    contact's address into search, and there's my history of correspondence,
    type in their phone number, there's all the voice mails.

    Well, I dragged my old Mail and Mail downloads folders off the backup
    drive, and into my library folder in my new setup. Then I launched mail.

    First, it wanted to bring my index up to date, and I let it do so. Then,
    prompted me to create and account. There is no way to bypass that step,
    annoyingly, so I re-created one of my gmail accounts. So far so good. I
    looked at the inbox window, and all my numerous filter folders were
    there. All seemed to be filled with emails. My main inbox appeared to
    have the old mails, and I clicked on one only to find there was no
    content. So I went up on my gmail account ad re-enabled pop for all
    emails, ever, assuming this would fill in the blanks. It didn't.
    Instead, it began downloading all the emails again, stopping about 2
    years into the account history and refusing to download any additional
    emails, including emails that had arrived since the backup was made.

    SO, I went on gmail's site, and re-enabled pop download for all emails,
    since it seemed to have un-checked itself. And mail started downloading
    the whole inbox again, starting january 2006 when I started the account,
    in spite of already having those emails in the inbox.

    To make a long story short, I now have 3 copies of every mail I received
    from january 2006 to october of 2008, but it will go no further and
    stalls there every time.

    My question now to all of you, my dear fellow mac users is simple:

    How do I re-virginize mail in such a way that my vast set of filters and
    their attendant mailboxes remain unchanged, none of the mail I've
    received is lost, and my email is current in all accounts? Everything, I
    should mention, worked just fine with the panix account, but panix is a
    meticulously old-school pure unix standard as they come smtp & pop
    system, and of course there's NEVER a problem with that. I pay for that
    one, too, of course.

    I'm guessing that somewhere is a hidden document whose name does not
    contain "mail" that tells mail how to treat all the various files in the
    folders "mail" and "Mail downloads" in ~/Library. I"d like to to just
    load my old folders and files just like it was on the old setup, so It
    can just download the mail that's arrived since january 3rd this year,
    with their full contents.

    Anybody got a clue how to do this?

    TIA!


    Joshua
     
    Joshua Whalen, Jan 18, 2010
    #1
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  2. Joshua Whalen

    J.J. O'Shea Guest

    BAD idea. Why, why, WHY do people do this? In a large subset (at least 25%,
    in my experience) it leads to tears which could have been avoided by just
    doing a standard upgrade...
    Which ones would those be, please? I've seen some people have problems, but
    no two of them have had the same problems.
    I have 2 Gmail accounts, a .Mac account, and three POP accounts. All are set
    up in Mail.
    Pretty close to how I do things.
    That should have worked.
    It should _NOT_ have done that.
    Frankly the error appears to be in the step where it demands to set up a new
    account. I've not seen that particular error as part of an upgrade problem.
    Where I've seen it elsewhere the cure was to delete the Mail folder and
    replace it with the Mail folder from backup... but that's where you're having
    the trouble.

    Is your backup a clone, a Time Machine backup, or something else? Because,
    frankly, what _I_ would do first is to try and see what happens if I were to
    apply the standard upgrade to a clone backup. If all goes well, then clone
    the updated backup to your main drive. Of course it would be best if you
    backed up the backup before trying anything with it...
    I'd look in ~/Library/Preferences. com.apple.mail.plist is the obvious first
    step.
     
    J.J. O'Shea, Jan 18, 2010
    #2
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  3. Joshua Whalen

    Tom Stiller Guest

    Why drag stuff over instead of using the Migration Assistant?

    [snipped tail of woe]
     
    Tom Stiller, Jan 18, 2010
    #3
  4. Joshua Whalen

    Nick Naym Guest

    ....
    ....
    Did that poor little woe scream when you snipped off his tail? ;P
     
    Nick Naym, Jan 18, 2010
    #4
  5. Joshua Whalen

    Tom Stiller Guest

    Yes, it was a sad tale.
     
    Tom Stiller, Jan 18, 2010
    #5
  6. Joshua Whalen

    John Varela Guest

    Exactly. I was going to suggest that he go back, wipe his disk,
    reinstall SL, then migrate from the backup. That's the way I did it:
    first I made two SuperDuper! clones on separate external drives plus
    I already had a Time Machine backup on a third drive, never more
    than one of those drives attached to the computer at a time. He
    might want to clone his clone before he touches it. Just to be safe.
     
    John Varela, Jan 19, 2010
    #6
  7. Joshua Whalen

    Paul Sture Guest

    Is the format of the Mail files the same in between 10.4 and 10.6?

    I did a similar exercise moving from Tiger to Leopard on a new machine,
    except that before I did the migration I had moved everything in my POP
    account to local folders, and the other accounts were IMAP.

    I think I used Finder's Archive to create a zip file, transferred that
    across and unpacked it, since the target username on the new machine has
    a different UID/GID and I wanted to avoid ownership problems.

    (I am now cursing that I didn't keep a log of what I did.)
     
    Paul Sture, Jan 20, 2010
    #7
  8. Joshua Whalen

    J.J. O'Shea Guest

    Nope. The first thing Mail will do on being launched in 10.6 after being
    upgraded is to 'update the database'. Once this is done you can no longer use
    that particular Mail database with earlier versions. However, it should _not_
    ask if it can create a new account.
    Basically every time Apple does a major OS upgrade Mail gets refurbished and
    enough changes that once you open things up with the new version you can't go
    back. It's the same with other major apps, such as iTunes and Pages.
     
    J.J. O'Shea, Jan 20, 2010
    #8
  9. Had you restored _BOTH_ Mail's Preference file
    ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist _and_ Mail folder
    ~/Library/Mail you would not have been prompted to create an account and
    all would have been well. But don't worry, just do this overwriting any
    new files and launch Mail once again. All will then be as it was :)
     
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Jan 21, 2010
    #9
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