Ask OnSoftware: Problems with Mail in Snow Leopard

Apple Mail logoMonths after the release of Snow Leopard, it still seems that many Mac users are having problems with Mail in Snow Leopard. An earlier post we wrote on Solving Problems with Mail in Snow Leopard attracted many users who discussed some of problems they were having and possible solutions. One user however, Francis in Australia, wrote directly to OnSoftware in quite a pickle:

I have a new MBP which came with Snow Leopard, and then I did a migration assistant from my previous MBP from Leopard. After that was done I loaded Mail to get on with things and Snow Leopard performed some first time upgrade to my mail files – to make them play with Snow Leopard. Is this upgrade to my mail irreversible?

Unfortunately for Francis, the update is irreversible. The obvious solution would be to use Time Machine to roll-back to her Leopard installation for now but Francis adds:

However I only have backups now from my Snow Leopard as after I was up and running with Snow Leopard all looked OK on day one so I backed up with Time Machine with a fresh Snow Leopard backup.

This is one of the obvious dangers of backing-up to Time Machine too quickly after a new OS install. Users should wait at least a week or so before backing-up to Time Machine after they’ve installed a new OS. Otherwise, the advantages of using it to rescue situations like this are zero. Finally Francis adds:

I need to get back to Leopard so I’m thinking of doing a clean Leopard install and then bringing across only my home folder and all contents from a clone backup I’ve made of Snow Leopard. Will my mail files – which have been upgraded inside Snow Leopard – work on Leopard’s version of Mail. Or am I screwed?

The chances are, that mail files modified in Snow Leopard’s version of Mail won’t work with Mail on Leopard. It’s already been established that, due to the way Mail handles plugins for Mail, many Mail plugins have been broken by Snow Leopard and it’s updates.

The obvious question to Shirley here is whether the mail is backed-up to a server. If so, it should be possible to delete the “~/Library/Mail” folder and then when Mail is reopened, it will rebuild all of the mail from the server. However, the best solution all-round would be to specify exactly what are the precise problems Shirley is suffering in Snow Leopard. There’s a good chance that whatever it is, can be solved by reading the post and discussion in our first post on this issue.

The overall moral of this story though – don’t rush into making Time Machine backups after installing a new OS!

[Alternatively, stop using mail clients altogether. Ed. ]

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