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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts Apps
If you decide to stop checking a particular email account with Mail.app, be sure to move all messages out of that account's main folder on Mail.

When you delete the account from the Preferences pane, the folder will be deleted and all of your messages will be lost. You'll get no warning that this is about to happen

I found this out when I migrated to a new ISP for email and deleted my old account. Nine months' worth of mail (1200 messages) gone without any warning!

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one, and don't intend to do so! Although the logic makes some sense (delete an account, delete that account's inbox), there really should be a warning: "This account has messages in its inbox; would you like to move them elsewhere prior to deleting?" or somesuch. So be warned -- move any email you'd like to keep into another Mail folder before you delete the account. And ... back up the Mail folder on your hard drive regularly (it's in your user's Library folder).]
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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: galaher on Oct 07, '04 11:58:14AM

This happened to me as well just last week. As a long time Mac user, I guess I expect things to be a little friendlier when I'm using the GUI. I would have expected a warning such as Rob mentions.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: BMarsh on Oct 07, '04 11:59:36AM

when I just deleted an account recently (I backed up first) but in the latest mail it seems to move any sent mail, junk mail and inbox to my folders in Mail (on my mac section)

so in my case, it moved the messages. I have not tested to see if there are exceptions to this.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: BMarsh on Oct 07, '04 04:43:06PM

"germ" posted why my case was different... I disabled the account, I didn't delete it, since I will be using the provider again in a few months.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: lebowski on Oct 07, '04 12:03:20PM

I wish i read this last week! This happened to me when i wanted to change the mail setting's for my spymac account from POP to IMAP. Once you've made a choice, it seems mail.app won't let you change it, so i was forced to delete the POP account and then set up the same account as IMAP.
Of course, when i deleted the POP aco*censored*, i deleted all the messages on the spymac server as well, so my new IMAP account was empty!

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You can\'t fight in here, this is a War Room!!



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: bhippel on Oct 07, '04 12:46:16PM

I had this problem too, with an old POP account, when I started using my IMAP .Mac account as my primary. With POP accounts, if you delete the account, the messages disappear...but if you re-enable the account, or re-create the account, and point it to the same mailbox under ~/Library/Mail, the messages will RE-appear. I was able to recover my messages, and left the account active (but turned off automatic checking), and never thought of just moving them to my new account. I just did that and was able to safely delete my account.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: daria on Jan 15, '05 12:36:29PM

How did you get your mail back?
I switched the settings on my mail account from POP to IMAP by creating a new mailbox and deleting the old one. All my old mail did get deleted and the message box did say that all data stored would not be affected before I clicked OK. To the person that got their mail back by re-creating the account, was the email still on your mail server? Because I tried re-creating my mailbox and all I got was double copies of the mail that was left online. (This could be because I didn't get rid of an old account, but just changed the settings on the one I was using.) If you did manage to get mail back that was only on your computer and nowhere online, I am curious as to how you did it.

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I'm blue.



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Don't delete the account: Just disable it!
Authored by: germ on Oct 07, '04 03:42:10PM

It in the Accounts>Advanced preferences.



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No warning?
Authored by: metafeather on Oct 07, '04 03:57:52PM

When clicking the '-' button (is there another way?) in the bottom of the Mail.app > Preferences > Accounts list a dialog clearly states:

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Remove Account

Are you sure you want to remove the account "Your Name"?

This will erase all mailboxes for this account, but will not affect any messages stored on your mail server.
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However I agree that this is poor behaviour, the account folders should be moved to the Trash (like iTunes music files) or renamed as inactive in the Finder rather than just deleting (as when deleting a User account).

Please take note Apple for the next version.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: ozzyrules on Oct 08, '04 09:40:16AM

Am I missing something here? Isn't this common sense? If am deleting a POP account, shouldn't I expect that any mail left in it would be deleted?



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: mithridain on Oct 09, '04 12:07:01PM

I used to use Netscape and Mozilla for mail on my Windows system. When I changed my ISP while using that, my old mail remained. I lost all my old e-mails when I changed ISPs and deleted the old one from accounts.

Since there is a potential for a great deal of data loss, the mail.app should inform the user that all e-mails associated with that account will be lost. If they haven't already, Apple needs to change this. It isn't that difficult to add a prompt to confirm or cancel.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: veen on Oct 11, '04 09:29:33AM

Am I missing something here? Isn't this common sense? If am deleting a POP account, shouldn't I expect that any mail left in it would be deleted?

From the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines:

The key is to create a balance between providing users with the capabilities they need to get their work done and preventing them from destroying data. For situations in which a user may destroy data accidentally, you can help the user by providing warnings, usually in the form of an alert box, to notify users of a potentially undesirable situation and still allow them to proceed, if they confirm that this is what they want. This approach "protects" users but allows them to remain in control.

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/mac/HIGuidelines/HIGuidelines-22.html



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: ozzyrules on Oct 08, '04 09:48:18AM

I just re-read the original post and it says "...to stop checking a particular email account...". This implies something different than deleting the account. If you simply want to stop checking the mail, you can make the account inactive by un-checking the "Enable this account" in the Advanced tab of the account. That way the account appears to be gone yet it still is there and retains all of the email until that time you want to re-enable it.



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Prevent data loss when deleting unused Mail accounts
Authored by: macgruder on Oct 11, '04 01:34:49AM

Is the behaviour different between Panther and Jaguar here?

3 or 4 people have talked about 'No warning', but

"This will erase all mailboxes for this account"

seems like a warning to me.



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