Entourage has lost its memory!
February 16, 2007 3:45 PM   Subscribe

EntourageFilter: I've been using Entourage for years. All of a sudden every time I download messages from my email account on my ISP's server it downloads the same messages I downloaded before.

It used to just download new messages. Now it downloads new and previously downloaded messages. What's happening?
posted by Taken Outtacontext to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
This could be a change at your providers end.
A friend of mine uses the same provider as I used to - 1&1 (One and One). All of a sudden, Thunderbird kept kicking into some sort of loop and re-downloaded the same messages over and over.

The only way he could fix it was to log in via webmail and delete the messages. It turns out there was some change in the providers mail server and it caused messages to be flagged as new (unread, undownloaded). For some reason, deleting them using the webmail client solved it and all subsequent messages behaved fine in any mail client.

posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 4:16 PM on February 16, 2007

i would also guess that something's changed at your provider. Check with support.
posted by dobbs at 5:16 PM on February 16, 2007

I have frequently seen this kind of behaviour when the mail quota on the server has been reached. The solution is simply to a) increase the mail quota or b) to go into the webmail client and delete messages. B) can be tough because webmail clients are still interacting with the POP server, they aren't the POP server itself, so even trashing something maintains the over-quota state and often won't be allowed. Make sure to check in the webmail client for a way to delete the messages immediately rather than using its Trash.

Your hosting provider most likely can, if you ask, reach directly into the POP server itself and delete messages at the source, though if you can just adjust the quota temporarily yourself you will be able to fix the problem by simply using Entourage to remove the messages from the server.
posted by mikel at 7:58 PM on February 16, 2007

This happens to me with Yahoo/Entourage about once a month -- all of a sudden, massive repeat email download ("you have 938 new messages"). My guess is something on Yahoo's end -- like they changed the date on their servers to June 1, 1066 just to mess with me. (And I'm nowhere near the mail quota on the server, btw.)
posted by turducken at 11:24 PM on February 16, 2007

It's a database glitch in Entourage. Entourage is forgetting what messages it has downloaded. Rebuild your 'rage database by holding down Option as you launch the application.
posted by kindall at 11:41 PM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

POP3 is a pretty simple protocol. The simplest way for a POP3 client to operate is to ask what messages exist on the server, then download them, then delete the messages it's just downloaded from the server so they don't get downloaded again next time.

However, many people prefer to leave their mails on the server as well as downloading copies to their own local mailboxes. POP3 doesn't have any mechanism, other than actually deleting messages, for a server to mark them "already downloaded"; so it's up to the client to keep track of which messages it already has, so it doesn't download them again next time.

The server supports this by providing, for each message it holds, a Unique ID (which is often just a string of gibberish). The client can request a Unique ID List (UIDL) from the server, then check that against the UIDL it saved from last time to see if there are any new Unique ID's in the server's list. If there are, the client will issue download requests for those messages only.

This works pretty well, until the server decides to change the scheme by which it generates Unique ID's for messages. When that happens, none of the entries in the UIDL the server provides match anything in the client's saved UIDL, so the client sees all messages as new, and downloads the lot. Generally this will happen just once for each UID generation scheme change, and generally mail providers are responsible enough not to do this terribly often.

Given that you're seeing a full re-download of everything every time, it's likely that your client (Entourage) has become unable to remember the current UIDL. This might well get fixed by the Option key method that kindall recommends.
posted by flabdablet at 2:35 AM on February 17, 2007

Thanks for the recommendation on rebuilding my Entourage db. I did that but, alas, it didn't change anything. When I started to download my mail it started to download ALL my mail again.

BTW, just to be clear, I'm not using a Web-based email system to access my account online. I'm ssh'ing into my account and using Pine.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 7:23 AM on February 17, 2007

Update: I just talked to my ISP and it seems I have two mail quotas set on my email account (of course, it should only have quota limit). He doesn't know why. So the techie has bumped this up to a supervisor.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 8:00 AM on February 17, 2007

I suspect that rebuilding your DB would cause Entourage to scrap any existing UIDL and start again. So if you rebuild your DB, and let it download all your mails again one more time, it should then have an up-to-date UIDL and not feel the need to download them all again next time.
posted by flabdablet at 12:22 AM on February 18, 2007

Wow, flabdablet, I think that did the job! Thanks!!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:25 AM on February 18, 2007

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