Upgrade to OS X Lion - A roaring hassle

Posted Jul 22, 2011 | ~3 minute read

So, being an Apple junkie i got wind that they had finally shipped OS X Lion to the masses. Great, as it's a quick update, right? Well, that's what i thought!

I've had lots of issues with my upgrade process, which eventually resulted in me wiping my mac completely and starting afresh. Thankfully i backup regularly using Time Machine, but otherwise i would have been up the creek, as the expression goes!

When I eventually installed OS X Lion, and restored my files from Time Machine my initial reaction was to open Mail (the email app) and catch up on my work. My second mistake...

Mail would appear to open, but wouldn't display the usual window to view all my messages. In Apple's world, this is aptly called the "Message Viewer Window". I could compose a new message with the cmd+n shortcut, but couldn't view any emails at all. Bummer!

I did a little research and some poking about a Google search and soon found many other users reporting the same issues with their recent upgrade. Massive fail on Apple's part.

I know my way round a Mac, and know where Apple stores the files for the mailboxes within the operating system. These are stored under your users folder in a sub-folder called "library" but hang on a moment...

They've hidden it! It's definitely there, as it's a fundamental folder used by Mac OS for years. I know Lion is "revolutionary" and all that, but not *that* new. (spot the sarcasm)

Thankfully i use a piece of software to build the sites i build that allows me to see every folder on my mac, regardless of whether Apple want me to or not. This app is called Coda, and is so handy, not just for web development.

I quickly opened Coda, viewed the files locally (rather than on the web server) and navigated to my user folder. Bazinga! The folder was there...

Once in that folder, you need to navigate to the folder called "Mail" and then the sub-folder called "V2".

Now comes the fun part... If you don't have a backup of these files (shame on you!), make one. Once you've made a backup, highlight all the files, and delete them. Then empty your trash, and re-start Mail.app.

For me, this was all i needed to do to get it working. And bizarrely, even though i had deleted my email data (or so i thought i had) all my emails and accounts came right back into action again.


Sometimes it's really good to be a nerd. Just sometimes...