Mac Mail hangs after accidentally attached huge file
August 11, 2010 7:18 AM   Subscribe

After accidentally attaching a huge file to an e-mail, Mac Mail hangs. How can we fix this?

Yesterday, a co-worker hit the wrong button, and accidentally tried to attach a large folder to an e-mail using her Mac mail program. Ever since then, her mail program has slowed to a crawl. When she tries to open a message, the gray circle of death rotates and rotates, without opening the mail. How do we fix this?

Things we've tried:

1. Force quitting
2. Restarting/shutting down the computer.
3. Unplugging the computer over night.
4. Deleting the e-mail from her drafts that initially caused the problem.
5. Emptying her mail trash.
6. Online forums suggested deleting the mail preference file in the users/Library/Preferences. This didn't help.

The internets suggest rebuilding the mailbox, but that runs the risk of deleting her mail which isn't backed up. Is there something else we can try? Is she doomed to lose all of her downloaded mail?

Thanks for your guidance.
posted by Laura Macbeth to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Response by poster: I should specify that for #6, it might've helped, but it deleted all of her mail, so we plugged the file back in.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 7:21 AM on August 11, 2010

You can try vacuuming the mail database, although it should be automatic now.
posted by wongcorgi at 7:29 AM on August 11, 2010

Instead of deleting ~/Library/Preferences, go to ~/Library/Mail/
Within ~/Library/Mail/, there should be a Drafts.mbox/Messages folder.
For instance, I have a ~/Library/Mail/POP-myPop3Mailbox/Drafts.mbox/Messages folder. Find it, expand it, and there'll be a *.emlx file- that's the message in your outbox. Delete that one, and it should delete your Mail outbox message.
posted by jmd82 at 7:34 AM on August 11, 2010

If you have a webmail version just go there and delete the message.
posted by Mertonian at 8:28 AM on August 11, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far! We did delete the message through webmail, too, but each time the Mail program restarts, the message re-appears. It's persistent.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 8:53 AM on August 11, 2010

Here's what I'd try: temporarily disconnect the machine from the internet. If Mail gives up trying to send the huge mail and un-hangs, delete it from the drafts folder in Mail. Check your webmail to see if it's still in the drafts folder there, and if so, delete it there, too.
posted by magicbus at 9:40 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is there a new mailbox folder in your sidebar that you don't recognize? I had this problem once with an over-sized attachment; the offending message would duplicate itself every few seconds in a folder that Mail created. Eventually Mail crashed. I had to delete the corresponding .mbox folder in ~Library/Mail.
posted by reeddavid at 1:21 AM on August 12, 2010

Response by poster: Unfortunately, none of this worked. Rats. Thanks, anyway!
posted by Laura Macbeth at 10:41 PM on August 13, 2010

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