The hard disk on my iMac (Mac OS X 10.5.8) died, and after getting it replaced I have been trying to restore my files from backup. The backup I have is just a copy of my user directory. I copied the following files from backup to their corresponding location in my user directory before starting up Mail:

  • Library/Mail
  • Library/Mail Downloads
  • Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist
  • Library/Preferences/comp.apple.mail.searchhistory.plist

Going into Mail, I see my email accounts, and I can look at the lists of email messages... but when I click on the message to see it, there's no message content.

The strange thing is that when I look in INBOX.mbox/Messages for the mail account, I can see the email message files (.emlx files), and opening any of these files I can verify that the message contents are there. But Mail won't show the message contents.

Any ideas on how I can fix this?

UPDATE: Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. It appears that just before my hard drive died I got some files corrupted, and that was the source of the problem. I tried restoring from a backup taken one day earlier, and that worked perfectly.

  • Are you sure you copied these into your User account's folders (/Users/yourusername/Library), rather than the system? (/System/Library or /Library,) also, it might be a permissions problem, though that's less likely if you did in fact copy these folders.
    – Harv
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 2:16
  • Yes, I copied them into my User account's folders. And yes, it was copy and paste using Finder.
    – user3392
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


The email index probably needs to be rebuilt. Last option on the Mailbox Menu.

(And just in case, you do still have your backup, right?) :)

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