Please find my email! It's hiding.
February 6, 2009 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Where did my email go? has lost an important email message that is stuck somewhere in between sending on my end and receiving on the receiver's end. How can I get it back?

In the past couple of days, my on my Macbook has been acting up -- it's not frozen, but it refuses to send and receive messages. I have to force quit (it won't quit on its own) and when that happens, it warns me that any unsaved changes (i.e. the email message I just sent which is now floating out in the interwebs) will be lost. When this happened yesterday, I lost a short email that I had to rewrite and send out again. It had been working fine for most of the day today until I sent out an important email to my thesis supervisor -- I hit send and the message disappeared, but didn't send. It's not in my sent folder (because it clearly wasn't sent) and it's not in my drafts folder (because it's not a draft). is hooked up to my university SunJava IMAP email account, which I can get to, and I can send and receive mail in it; it's clearly a issue.

When I log in to the web interface for the e-mail account, there is an 8K message in the "Drafts" folder with the correct subject line and recipient, but when I open it there is no text in the message.

Somebody, please, please, please tell me where my email message to my supervisor is hiding and how I can get it back.
posted by pised to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the email actually didn't finish sending, it's nowhere. Gone forever. The receiving server didn't get the end of it, so it didn't store it. It didn't get copied to your Sent folder by because you had to force quit it.
posted by zsazsa at 3:33 PM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: I haven't quit yet. It's still waiting for me to do something with it and I'm too afraid to close it and potentially lose the email (if it's not already lost).
posted by pised at 3:37 PM on February 6, 2009

Here's the thing - once your computer sends it, it's gone into the wilds of the intertubes and out of your control (though your computer may store a copy). If your computer starts sending it and doesn't finish, it's never left (your computer may still have a copy somewhere). Transmission of an email is very "atomic" in that way. It's either been sent or it hasn't. Whether your computer still has a copy of it is another problem entirely.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 3:58 PM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: Ok, I found the email (most of it anyway) by searching for some of the text in Spotlight. One crisis averted -- now how do I stop Mail from messing up again?
posted by pised at 4:16 PM on February 6, 2009

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