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Summary:

This past Friday, after my little FedEx experience, I promptly backed up my hard drive and then did an Erase & Install of Leopard. Once Leopard was installed I began moving over necessary files, including my Mail files. To get your new version of Mail to […]

This past Friday, after my little FedEx experience, I promptly backed up my hard drive and then did an Erase & Install of Leopard.

Once Leopard was installed I began moving over necessary files, including my Mail files.

To get your new version of Mail to recognize your old mail (so you don’t have to recreate all of your accounts), you need to move over the following files and directories:

  • ~/Library/Mail/
  • ~/Library/Mail Downloads/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist

I did this and about an hour later realized that when I searched for previous emails I was only getting results from the past 10 days or so and emails that were still sitting in my Inbox before the install were now missing.

So…how did I fix this? It’s actually really simple.

Mail.app Rebuild

After moving your Mail files over, you basically need to force Mail to re-index your mail files. To do this, simply select each mailbox and folder, one at a time, and go to Mailbox > Rebuild in the menu. Depending on the number of emails in those accounts/folders, it could take up to a minute or two to rebuild it. After that all of your previous emails should be accounted for!

  1. A co-worker of mine just discovered this issue…pretty weird.

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  2. Thanks for the tip. I am getting ready to install Leopard this week (full backup, then clean install) and I have been looking for this kind of information.
    It would be really nice if there was a spot with all these tips together. For example, here are the files you need for iTunes data and preferences, Mail data, iPhoto data, etc. I want to migrate my current data to Leopard after the install, but I am still searching for good how-to’s for various apps.
    At least I know Mail will work afterwards.

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  3. [...] First off, here’s how to get your Mail accounts back, and fix the indexes: Missing emails after installing Leopard [...]

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  4. Well, I decided to just make my own central location. If anybody is interested, I’ll be collecting links to data migration/Leopard upgrade tips here: http://www.whirljack.net/jeremybrooks/2007/10/30/the-leopard-is-coming/

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  5. I did an erase and install also. Got back about 20 gigs just clearing out junk and decided to not reinstall some stuff I didn’t need. But my saved emails weren’t there. I figured someone would have a fix. Thanks for the tip. It worked easily.

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  6. I tried this and it didn’t work. There are a lot of emails missing. Any other ideas?

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  7. What do you mean move them over, from where to where? How do you move them over and how do I know if it is the old mail and not the new mail files? I have already installed leopard and tried importing my old mail box but there is still mail missing from a year ago.

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  8. I tried the rebuild and now only got 2 emails. All my emails are wiped out. Tried also the import, but it would just create the import files into a separate box instead of integrating into my main email box, any suggestions?

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  9. Z – exactly the same situation on my computer. This sucks – never had any problems with mail doing this before, this has effected my inbox, drafts and sent items. Mail that has been dragged into a folder is not effected. Some of my “work in progress” or reminder emails were ones I really wanted. I could just see the titles, rebuild made the titles disappear too. Glum :(

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  10. where do they get moved to? Do you drag and drop the,m on your desk top and then move them back?

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