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Rob, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 409
Experience:  14 years Mac experience, 10 years Mac Consulting, ran a printshop for 23 years.
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Hello. Since Friday I have not been able to retrieve ANY e-mails

Customer Question

Hello. Since Friday I have not been able to retrieve ANY e-mails from my two mac mail accounts. In fact ALL e-mails that have come in since then seem to have "disappeared". What happens is I click "get mail" and e-mails pour into my two inbox's but when I click the inbox to open it all the new e-mails that were just retrieved disappear. No NEW e-mails show up in my inbox. I had our web provider check things out and the problem is not on the server side. My co-worker who gets mail through entourage isn't having problems and when I log in through webmail I am able to retrieve messages So the problem seems to be with my mac mail on my computer. What do I do to fix this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.

It sounds like Mail preferences have gone corrupt. There's an easy fix if you happen to have a back up hard drive that Time Machine is using. Do you have Mac OS 10.5 and using Time Machine? You can tell which version of Mac OSX you have by going to the Apple logo in the upper left corner and clicking About This Mac. Let us know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have a Mac OS X Version 10.3.9
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
Ok, you don't have a backup hard drive using Time Machine because that's only available in Mac OS 10.5 and later so there are a couple of possible fixes.

1) Run repair permissions with Disk Utility which is found in your Applications/Utilities folder then restart and see if you can receive emails.

2) Quit Mail. Open a Finder window by clicking on the smiling face icon in the lower left of the Dock. Then click your home folder, double click Library, double click preferences. There should be a file named Take that file and drag it to the trash. Don't empty the trash yet. Start up mail and see if it receives correctly. You may have to put your settings into the preferences if you do this though. That is the downside to doing this. But it may be your only way out.

3) If you don't want to do #2 just yet you can test to see if the problem is a Mail preference plist file problem. The way to do that is create a new account in System Preferences and clicking accounts. Add a new account, username and password XXXXX login to that account, set up Mail and see if it works correctly. If it does, most likely #2 is your solution.
Rob and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Rob,

Thanks for your help so far with this. I tried numbe 1 and it did NOT work. Then I tried number 3 and was able to set up a new account that is working correctly. So, I went to try number 2 but could not find a file named in the library/preferences folder.
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago. is the name of the file for Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5. I don't have computer running 10.3 so it may be named something else. So, you need to look for a preference file that says mail in it and throw that away.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I don't see one with "mail" in it, but could it be this one:
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
No, it wouldn't be that one. To check for it again go to Home/Library/Preferences and view the window as a list by going up to the menubar, clicking view and select list view. That way you can see everything in a window as a alphabetical list. You can also do a search in a Finder window for I'm pretty sure that's the name of the file you need. See if there is a folder named Mail in the preferences folder. If there is, it may be inside that.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
O.k. - great. thanks! I found it and drug it to the trash. Started up mail and now it's asking me if I want to import mailboxes from another e-mail client. Yes or no?
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
click yes and add mailboxes from your Mail account. If you have to find them they are in Home/Library/Mail/Mailboxes.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I was able to import my mailboxes and have been working with ATT to "re-authenticate" my e-mail addresses and our website server operator to get ingoing and outgoing mail working, which they are now. However, I have now run into an additional problem that brings me back to you. I have 2 accounts and currently have them set up so that the secondary account automatically forwards to my primary account. Unfortunately, since this problem with my mail has occurred ALL of the e-mails addressed to my secondary account are still NOT showing up in my inbox on my computer. They are going through, however, because they show up on my webmail account. Both ATT and my web server operator say this is a problem with the mac mail ON my laptop but I do not know how to fix it.
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
You set that up with Rules in Mail's Preferences. Open Mail, click Mail in the menubar, click preferences, then click the far right button named Rules. Then click the button on the right named Add Rule. In the Description put something like "Forward To Main Account". In the next line down put the name of your secondary account. In the third set where it says "Perform This Action" click the button and select Forward Message. Then in the To box put your Primary email address and click OK. I have uploaded 2 screen shots from my Mail Rules to show you how it should look. graphic
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hello. thanks for your help. I set it up like you said and then sent a test e-mail to my secondary account. Once again it went to my inbox on webmail (primary account) but did NOT go into my inbox (primary) on my laptop.
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
Is your secondary account actually a different account or are you trying to get emails from the same address on 2 different computers? If this is the case, you need to click the mail menubar heading, click preferences, click the accounts button, click Accounts Behavior and there you tell Mail whether you want certain emails you receive to stay on the server and how long. By keeping them on the server they will be available for your other computers.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It is actually secondary account that is the e-mail address people send their questions to from our website.
Expert:  Rob replied 8 years ago.
It could be that your webmail account is pulling it off of the server and your Mac doesn't get a chance to retrieve it. In other words get the mail with the Mail app in Mac OSX before you get it on webmail and see if your Mac Mail can get it. If this doesn't work, you may have to ask this question as another questions on this site because that is all I know to try. Maybe some other expert here can figure it out.

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