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Old 11-02-2014, 04:14 PM   #1
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Extra INBOX in mail folder list

This problem has been recurring for a month or so (and it's driving me nuts). I have mail accounts on an IMAP server (Courier) and user mail sits out on the server under ${HOME}/Maildir.

For a time now, I've noticed that when I restart my mail client I'll have a secondary "INBOX" folder under my "Inbox". There's a "Trash" folder underneath this extra INBOX. If these were real directories it'd look like
and in the mail clients it appears something like
On the IMAP server, I will, occasionally, see a subdirectory under Maildir like
but not always. For example, I do not see such a subdirectory today but all of the mail clients are showing the extra INBOX and Trash folders.

I'm often able to unsubscribe the additional Trash folder and delete it and the parent INBOX. They then show up in the normal Trash folder. I am sometimes able to empty the Trash folder and they'll disappear but not always. But... it and the extra INBOX folders reappear after restarting the mail client.

I should note that this has been happening with other mail subfolders that I've created in the past but were deleted after no longer being needed reappear after a mail client restart. I can delete them again, empty the Trash, and they appear to be cleaned up, no subdirectories appear in the Maildir directory on the IMAP server, but when I restart the mail client, they're ba-a-a-ck.

I ran across a fix in the Thunderbird user forums from 2007 that had you go into the configuration editor and change a setting for the Trash folder. However, that didn't help. And doesn't address the other zombie mail folders at all. And I'm seeing these phantom subfolders regardless of the mail client I use: Thunderbird, Seamonkey, Evolution, Kmail. (Server problem, perhaps?)


Has anyone else heard of this happening?

I suspect that there's something out of sync in the Maildir structure files. But what?

Does anyone know of a way to do a consistency check on Maildir structures? (And, hopefully, correct any problems found.)


Old 11-03-2014, 01:11 AM   #2
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Problem solved... Well, perhaps "solved" is too optimistic. Some repairs were done to the Maildir tree (actually, the structure was razed and rebuilt from scratch) and it seems to be working OK for now. I created a new user on the mail server and moved the Maildir that's been having the problems over to that user's home directory. Then I created an entirely new Maildir ("maildirmake ${HOME}/Maildir") in my normal email user home directory along with all of the other "top-level" folders like Trash, Sent, etc.. I renamed the ".thunderbird" subdirectory, fired up Thunderbird, and created brand new connections to the two mail accounts. After the initial configuration, I noticed that the phantom INBOX/Trash folder tree showed up again (sigh). It was deletable and I found that the configuration setting "mail.server.server1.trash_folder_name" was set to "INBOX" and changed it to "Trash". (The old fix that I had previously located on the web mentioned that it had been getting set to "INBOX/Trash"; I seem to recall seeing that at one time, too, so I'm not certain why this time it was simply "INBOX".)

After ridding the folder tree of the extra INBOX/Trash folders, emails in the old, questionable Maildir tree were selected and dragged into the new Maildir folder tree. The subfolder tree of the old Maildir was created manually in new Maildir and only emails were moved. (As a precaution against something corrupted in a subfolder from the old Maildir tree getting copied into the new tree to cause problems later.)

So far so good but the real test will be when emails begin arriving in the morning. Lately, it's been a fairly regular stream of emails though not terribly heavy -- it gets bursty", though, and a handfuls of emails may arrive every few minutes [1]. Most emails are coming in from 7:00 until about 18:00.

Thunderbird has been bounced a couple of times this evening and, so far, no recurrence of the phantom INBOX/Trash folder tree has been seen.

[1] - I expect the volume to decrease a fair amount Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning once all the election spam winds down.

Last edited by rnturn; 11-03-2014 at 01:20 AM. Reason: Added comment about not copying subfolders and fixed punctuation snafu.


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