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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Mavericks Mail restoring lost mail messages - help!

Mavericks Mail restoring lost mail messages - help!
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Forum Regular
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Dec 9, 2013, 05:00 AM
I use icloud and Apple Mail. I went to a specific mailbox folder in Apple Mail today (this mailbox folder is stored in iCloud) and there were no messages in a folder which would normally have thousands. I checked iCloud and they were also gone from there. I found the mailbox in ~/library/mail/V2/AsosIMAP-icloudusername and checked the mbox folder in it and it is only at 15Mb. I then used time machine to go back a few days and found that same mailbox had over 500Gb - all my lost messages. So I restored this mailbox using time machine. I then deleted the Envelope Index files to force Mail to reindex. The messages are still not coming up so I presume there is something else I need to restore to make this work. Anyone know what I need to do?

(I guess another less preferred option would be to restore the entire Mail folder but not sure what will then happen to mail arrived in the past few days and since filed. Would all that get lost?)

Any help would be much appreciated.
Senior User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Austria
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Dec 10, 2013, 05:52 PM
I'm still on 10.8, but I would hope that this solution works for Mavericks, too:

1.) Download the "emlx to mbox Converter" from http://www.cosmicsoft.net/emlxconvert.html.
2.) Open the converter (Ctrl-Click -> Open to bypass Gatekeeper).
3.) Restore the mbox from Time Machine and save it somewhere outside of the Library folder - e.g. on the desktop.
4.) Open the mbox in the Finder.
5.) Press Command-F to open the Find dialog.
6.) "Search: This Mac" will probably be selected. Change it to "Search: abc.mbox" where abc.mbox is your restored mbox.
7.) Set the search criteria to "Filename ends with .emlx". To choose "Filename", you have to choose "Other" first and then select "Filename". Do *not* use "Name" instead.
8.) The Finder will find all your e-mails.
9.) When the search has finished, select all the e-mails and drag them to the converter. For so many e-mails, this will probably already take some time. Do *not* click "Save mbox..." yet.
10.) Change the search criteria from "Filename ends with .emlx" to "Filename ends with .emlxpart".
11.) The Finder will now find the attachments.
12.) Select them all and drag them to the converter so that they're added to the list of all the mails. The converter is smart enough to figure out which attachments belong to which e-mails.
13.) Now click "Save mbox..." and save the mbox with all your e-mails somewhere, e.g. on the desktop.
14.) Finally, open Mail, choose File->Import Mailboxes, select "Files in mbox format" and import the saved file from step 13 with all your e-mails back into Mail.
15.) Move them back to the iCloud folder they should be in.
16.) Write an angry mail to Apple.
17.) Donate to the author of the converter.

(And if the e-mails are important, keep the time machine backup until you're absolutely sure all e-mails have been imported properly.)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Dec 10, 2013, 07:27 PM
Mail.app integrates with Time Machine. You do not need to go rooting around figuring out where messages are stored, and in fact, as you already found out, it's hard to get that to work.

All you do is select "Enter Time Machine" while Mail.app is the frontmost application, not Finder. Then you can "time travel" through your mailboxes, and select what you want to restore. Note that it will not exactly restore the mailbox in place, instead it will create a folder named "Time Machine", then within that the folders you're restoring. Once that's done, you can move them where you want.
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Dec 10, 2013, 08:21 PM
@sribe - that's what I did but the messages don't show up in mail.

@tsilou - tried your solution and it worked! Thanks.
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
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Dec 11, 2013, 10:52 AM
It sounds like Time Machine goofed and didn't properly link everything it should have when dgold105 (and all of the rest of us, I guess) expected it to. Tsilou, that's a rather detailed set of steps. Have you had to recover a bunch of mailboxes in the past?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
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